New York Restaurant Week

New York Restaurant Week has been running since January 22. Our insiders didn’t waste a moment getting in on the action! They’ve been dining at the hottest restaurants New York has to offer. Now, we’ve rounded up our favorites for you. The best part, New York Restaurant Week doesn’t end until February 9, so there is still time to try some of our favorites.

Danielle’s Picks

Price: $$$
Craft Restaurant is the brain child of Chef Tom Colicchio, a producer and judge of Bravo‘s Top Chef. Craft offered a great variety for their Restaurant Week menu. For the first course, the Fluke Crudo offered flavors that were clean with a crisp yet subtle heat from the jalapeños, and the Beef Tartare with homemade potato chips was delicious! The Gemelli Pasta with short rib ragu was tasty, and the chicken sausage was so succulent. The Apple Tarte Tatin and taste of ginger sorbet were the perfect touch to top the meal off. The food was delicious, and the service was amazing. The waitress Charlene felt like a long lost friend.
I started off with a glass of Gruner Ventliner, which went nicely with my first course – the Fluke Crudo. Photo by Danielle Fontus.
The Cecil Steakhouse, 210 W 118th St., New York, 10026
Price: $$
This Harlem favorite has recently reopened as a steakhouse and has continued to offer an elegant experience. From the Restaurant Week menu, the Ella & Louie Chicken with white wine caper sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and well seasoned french beans, was a winner. It exceeded the expectations from the menu description. The flavors were bold and memorable. The brownie a la mode and tres leches cake were both so good that it would be hard to choose one.

Brianna’s Pick

Legasea — Tao Group’s new seafood brasserie in the Moxy Hotel — has been making waves since opening last October. Their delicious Restaurant Week menu is available for lunch daily and dinner on Sunday, and I declare their Spicy Crab Beignet as the MVP of the entire meal. This savory appetizer is made with fresh crab and chipotle crème fraich tucked between a pillow-soft beignet and topped with butter powder (YES—butter powder). To complete your meal, I suggest the server-recommended Flounder “Francaise” for your main and the Baked Alaska for dessert!
Legasea Spicy Crab Beignet
Photo by Legasea.

Arielle’s Pick

Jue Lan Club, 49 W 20th Street, New York, NY 10011
Price: $$
Jue Lan Club is and will always be a New York City favorite! Coupled with its gourmet Chinese cuisine is an equally tasteful ambiance at its iconic location next to the former hotspot, The Limelight. For New York Restaurant Week, Jue Lan Club offered a fixed menu which offered three courses of their most popular dishes and a dessert. After trying three items for each course, I have to say my favorites were the edamame dumplings, the wok charred beef, and the chicken fried rice. Not to mention, every dessert was amazing! I will absolutely be dining at Jue Lan Club again. Their outdoor space will be perfect for a summer evening!

Jue Lan Club
Photo courtesy of Jue Lan Club.

Robin’s Pick

Empire Steakhouse, 237 W. 54th Street, New York, NY 10019
Price: $$$$
Empire Steakhouse was the very first place I ever visited during NYRW, and I have been going faithfully every year since. This steakhouse has some of the best cut steak in Manhattan; Sirloin, rib-eye, filet mignon, you name it! If you aren’t big on steak, no worries because the chicken parmesan or poached salmon are both mouth-watering. But don’t fill up too fast on the entrees, because the star of this place is their chocolate mousse cake, which will absolutely blow your mind!

Empire Steakhouse
Photo courtesy of Empire Steakhouse.

Now that you’ve got our picks, where will you be dining before the week is over? Let us know which restaurants you’ve enjoyed most in the comments below! Don’t forget to tag #YumCam and #FoodBeforeLove on Instagram so we can share your awesome pictures.

NYC Restaurant Week

Photo by Michael Browning on Unsplash

It’s that time of year again. It’s NYC Restaurant Week!

Twice a year, some of NYC’s most popular restaurants offer a specially priced menu: a 3-course meal for just $29 for lunch or $42 for dinner per person, plus beverages, tax and tip. It all started as a true week in 1992. NYC Restaurant Week has since expanded into a three-week opportunity to indulge in the finer things. This year’s dates are January 22 to February 9. With almost 400 restaurants participating, the options can be overwhelming. We’re always here to give you the rundown of our favorite spots. So, here are mine.


Photo by G. Crescoli on Unsplash

A few quick tips:

  • The great thing about the NYC Restaurant Week site is that you can search by type of cuisine and neighborhood to customize your search to your cravings.
  • If you’re like me, you might have a list of restaurants you’ve always wanted to try. See if any of those places are offering a Restaurant Week menu. Or ask your friends what places they have tried or have wanted to try.
  • If a place has multiple locations, confirm that the one you’re going to is offering the Restaurant Week menu; and when it is offered – some locations offer dinner only, while some offer on Sundays as well.
  • You can view the menu on the site to help with your decisions.
  • Make a reservation! I’d also recommend going earlier in the week to beat the crowd.
  • Try something new for at least one of the courses. This is the perfect opportunity for a culinary adventure.

Now that you’re equipped with the basics, here are my recommendations NYC’s 2018 Restaurant Week:

The Cecil (Dinner Only)
210 W 118th St., New York, NY 10026

Steakhouse, Harlem

Why I’m Recommending It: Because it’s in Harlem, duh! The Cecil recently reopened with a new swag. I’m curious about what they’re serving up these days.

What’s Calling My Name on the Menu: Ella & Louie Chicken. I can almost taste that white wine caper sauce and I want to know what it tastes like in real life.

Bonus: Other Uptown options include the ever popular Red Rooster or check out Sofrito on the Hudson.

Calle Ocho (Dinner Only)
45 W 8st St., New York, NY 10024

Cuban, Upper West Side

Why I’m Recommending It: Cuba has been such a popular destination. This is a great one for those who want a reminder of the food, the culture and the memories and also for those who haven’t gone and want to take their taste buds on a trip.

What’s Calling My Name on the Menu: Crema de Langosta (Lobster Biqsue)

Bonus: You may also want to indulge in Brazil’s Carnival season at Fogo de Chao Churrscaria Brazilian Steakhouse or experience Indian food and culture at Junoon or Tamarind.

The View
1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

American, Times Square

Why I’m Recommending It: Because it is one of those cool NYC experiences – a rotating restaurant on the 48th Floor of the Marriott Marquis right in the heart of Times Square. Whether you are new to the city or have lived here for years, it’s a way to view of the city from a different perspective. This experience will add two points to your NYC swag.

What’s Calling My Name on the Menu: Citrus Horseradish Cod with Creamy Parsley Risotto – which sounds like so many strong flavors that I can’t even imagine how they all come together. I feel like I have to try it to truly understand and appreciate it.

Bonus: You can have dinner where many of the Real Housewives reunions are filmed at the NYC classic Russian Tea Room.

La Loteria (brunch, lunch and dinner)
29 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014

Latin American, West Village

Why I’m Recommending It: Because brunch is life!

What’s Calling My Name on the Menu: Tacos de Fideo (spaghetti tacos) with tomato jalapeno cumin paste, avocado, cotija cheese AND the Churros for dessert.

Bonus: Other brunch options include Vinateria and David Burke Kitchen.

Legasea (Lunch, Sunday dinner)
485 7th Ave, New York, NY 10018

Seafood, Midtown

Why I’m Recommending It: Because it’s new.

What’s Calling My Name on the Menu: Even though they don’t have their Restaurant Week menu online, their regular menu made my mouth water. I’d be willing to go sight unseen and call it a wildcard adventure.

Bonus: Other (relatively) new kids on the block: Megu and Vandal  

Honorable Mentions:

Some of the popular favorites: Dos Caminos, Rosa Mexicano

NYC trendy hotspots: ABC Cocina, Catch, TAO, Zengo, Nobu, Zuma

Steakhouses: Morton’s, Smith & Wollensky, Michael Jordan The Steakhouse, STK Downtown, Capital Grille

Share your pics! Tag us @foodbeforelove and use the hashtag #yumcam so we can repost them. Our #yumcam can also help you decide where to go!

Do you have a place you’ve tried and would recommend? What restaurants are on your list? Let us know in the comments below! 

Cherry Izakaya

I challenge you to dine solo during NYC Restaurant Week because waiting on your friends to join you is not the key to success. Sometimes you have to do it on your own. 

Here are a few places you can try:

Photo Courtesy of

1. Zuma 

Honestly the price point here is really $$$$ so why wouldn’t you catch this deal? Besides, I’m standing by the food here, it’s a tastebuds party. 

Type of restaurant: Japanese

Perfect for: Your Sex and the City lunch date or even a double date. 

What you need to know: They do shared plates here so just know you’re ordering for the table.

2. Baan 

Who knew there was even another restaurant near mother burger and blockheads? When you’re too thirsty for margaritas, you may not even peep. 

Type of restaurant: Korean

Perfect for: This is first date or second date material 

What you need to know: The Bulgogi is a must. You get to cook it yourself, eat good and get this experience at the same d*mn time. 

Tuna Sashimi Baan

3. Miss Lily’s 

Who Jah bless, no man can curse. Need I say more? 

Type of restaurant: Caribbean 

Perfect for: Good vibes

What you need to know: There are two locations, but the Soho location is my favorite!

4. Raymi

Type of restaurant: Peruvian

Perfect for: Any occasion 

What you need to know: The sangria is normally delicious and you can get a free Pisco early in the week when you check in on yelp.

5. Bodega Negra

Type of restaurant: 

Perfect for: Intimate date night

What you need to know: It’s “hidden” at the Dream Hotel, don’t mistake the outside cafe for the real location.

Bodega Negra Maduros

6. Cherry Izakaya

Type of restaurant: Japanese

Perfect for: Any occasion

What you need to know: The spicy tuna crispy rice is a must!

Cherry Izakaya

7. Fonda

Type of restaurant: Mexican

Perfect for: Catching up with friends

What you need to know: The place is really laid back. So don’t try for anything serious.

I also plan to visit The View, Hakassan NY, and Cafe D’Alsace for the first time. Maybe, just maybe, they will make the list next year of must visits. 

Download our FREE NYC Pocket Guide

Do you often find yourself questioning where you should dine this weekend? Or maybe you’re tired of the same NYC restaurants. This NYC pocket guide takes you to 10 Food Before Love Favorites that will change how you eat. It’s perfect if you’re visiting NYC and are tired of relying on yelp. Let your tastebuds have a party. .

Lure Fish Bar shrimp

Lure Fish Bar was on the NYC Restaurant Week list and it’s so much of a Gem, it’s almost too good to be on that list.

The menu they offered for the week was appealing and I was so excited to be meeting my sweetheart there for dinner on a Friday Night, not to mention, restaurant week was coming to an end so we had to do this right. Imagine the awe I was in because the place looks like the inside of a boat. You have to walk down steps to get inside and the windows are above you. The key to this though, is that the windows are in circular shapes, as a boat would be, and the entire set up looks as such. You know I love me a cute spot to eat. What I may love more than that is a great drink, and the strawberry mojito I had was just that.

Lure Fish Bar Mojito

We started the night with the shrimp tempura that had a spicy mayo on it. The batter, if it even was a batter, was very light and really allowed me to taste the shrimp despite the condiments. We also got to try the salmon tartar which was delicate yet delightful, once you get past the somewhat mushy texture.

Lure Fish Bar shrimp

Lure Fish Bar Salmon Tarte

I am much more of a Salmon girl myself, however, I decided to do the Cod that evening. The cod came with a honey glaze. It was very soft, made fresh and had a good chew to it. The lentils complimented the dish even though I was skeptical about them at first. There still happened to be salmon at my table which was just as delicate at the tartar and had a great pop of flavors.

Lure Fish Bar Cod fish

Lure Fish Bar Salmon

The chocolate molten cake had some salted caramel ice cream to accompany it, along with caramelized popcorn and chocolate pudding to fill it. I went for the raspberry and chocolate pot, my favorite mix of all things sweet. It was like having a mousse in a bowl but a more liquid texture and hints of tart all around.

Lure Fish Bar Molten Cake

Lure Fish Bar Dessert

texas de brazil.chocolate mousse

But it’s still Chicago week here at Food Before love and if you haven’t booked a flight to go there yet due to my recap, you must be a fool. I am getting super nostalgic about this place, like you would think this is home for me so I KNOW I’m selling some of you on it.

When we were in Chicago it was restaurant week ofcourse and we decided to dine at Texas De Brazil.

texas de brazil 

Marcy and I had already made plans to go to the New York location, so the fact that it was about 10 steps away from our hotel, really sold us on making a reservation immediately. Little did we know that after Kumas Corner , we’d be walking into a buffet. You couldn’t tell me that Marcy?

The best part about this place is that they walk around with all different types of meats on a stick for consumption at your convenience. Filet Mignon wrapped in bacon, brazilian sausage, lamb chops and then some , are passed, served fresh and ready to eat during your entire dinner.Literally, during the ENTIRE dinner, we almost didn’t want anymore but they do say Brazilian meat is the best ……It wasn’t super loud in here either so I really got to enjoy the company of my date #heyboo . I also ordered something like a pina colada which was delicious while Marcy had a classic mojito.

texas de brazil.cocktail

For Dessert, which was the real winner of the evening, we thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate mousse cake and the cheesecake.

texas de brazil. cheesecake

texas de brazil.chocolate mousse

The chocolate cake is for true chocolate lovers only because it truly was a triple dose of chocolate yum. It was rich, moist and seemed to be never-ending but I wasn’t complaining! The cheesecake according to Marcy was nothing short of “AMAZING” . The package for the dessert to take home was the cutest thing too! Maybe it’s not just the meat they’re good for…..The service here was truly delightful. Our server, Andres was attentive, kind and funny so we really appreciated that aspect of the experience.

All of the sides served in the buffet were good and because of the variety of items it wasn’t boring either. We had absolutely no complaints about anything. Talking about this makes me want to go there this weekend but definitely , if you can’t make it to Chicago for this, try New York.

Zoes fried poached egg

Who needs a break from restaurant week? Not I !

But I took one anyways. Weren’t expecting that were you? Well, I  Chose to dine at Zoe’s in the Lower East Side with a deal from Gilt. The deal required that the chef choose the menu and a tasting party it was.  I started off with the sake and wished I ordered wine, it was going to be a long night.

The chef started with the kale and radicchio salad, with anchovies and a poached egg to start. I normally don’t indulge in poached eggs but I refused to pass up on a fried one and I’m glad I didn’t. This had to have been one of the best  salads I’ve had from the fried egg alone.

Zoes fried poached egg

In the next two minutes, we had lamb. This was served two ways: braised on the bone and fried served over onion soup.

Zoes Lamb

I was hoping this wasn’t the whole meal when they brought out this Mediterranean Dorad fish. Aside from the bones in this baby, it was great. Evenly fried, crisp in all the right place and the raisins on the top provided a good sweet contrast to the succulent fish I was having.

Zoes fried fish

Lemon posset for dessert which was extremely tart; I honestly wasn’t expecting the strong tart flavors at all.

Zoes' Lemon Posset

Towards the end, the chef, Zoe, came out to introduce herself and see how everything was. She’s super cute and pleasant. Not to mention she was on Bravo’s Chef Academy so it was really cool meeting her.

Update: This location is now closed.