David Waltuck, the chef and an owner of Chanterelle, said he uses ingredients that are "maybe a little less expensive" like chicken or salmon during the Restaurant Week lunch rush. "I wouldn't do calves' liver or tripe or a strong fish," he said.
But Akhtar Nawab, the chef at CraftBar, might. "We kind of try to show off that week," he said, offering dishes plucked from the regular menu, like orzo in rendered bone marrow and sea urchin tagliatelle. Portions, he said, are slightly smaller.
Other chefs do not change the portion size but may skimp on costly ingredients. "It may be the amount of fresh morels," said Kerry Heffernan, chef at Eleven Madison Park, referring to his signature English pea flan, one of five appetizer options.
Devi, the new Indian restaurant in Chelsea, may be too young to know any better, but dinner customers can pick any three dishes from its lengthy menu, including Jamison Farms' tandoor lamb chops, which usually cost $29.
Some chefs say it is worth the financial blow if participating customers return, and research compiled by NYC & Company says two-thirds of them do.
Two-thirds! Wow. I wonder if the return rate is different at places that offer cheaper, off-menu items as compared to those that treat Restaurant Week as a loss leader (like I talked about in my Taste of Chinatown review), not to mention the satisfaction rate for the second visit.
(I've reservations with friends at Blue Smoke and Artisanal for Restaurant Week, but now I'm thinking I should be checking Devi out for those tandoor lamb chops and Butter just because I like the chef's attitude about making a good first impression.)