4 Places to Eat Better for Less in NYC

Restaurants around the country are reacting to the state of the economy by offering special deals and menus. Nowhere is this more relevant than in New York City, where high-end dining defines the city’s culinary scene. Hoping that most people will still eat out if they don’t have to worry about breaking the bank, some of the city’s best upscale restaurants are offering great meals, but now at a discount price.

012009--picholineecon.jpgPicholine: This upscale (and pricey) restaurant, where a three-course, prix-fixe meal normally runs at approximately $92, is now offering an additional “menu d’economie,” which allows guests to sample Chef Brennan’s Mediterranean cuisine for a fraction of the cost. The recession-friendly menu, which is available in the restaurant’s Cheese and Wine Bar or in the main dining room when tables are available, features “tasting plates” or half-portions of entrées for $20, along with “tasting flights,” which consist of three small dishes for $20. Call Picholine for details at 212/724-8585. See our Picholine review »

Craft: If you’ve wanted to eat at Tom Colicchio’s famous flagship restaurant, but didn’t want to have to pay an exorbitant bill, now’s your chance. Executive Chef Damon Wise is hosting “Frugal Friday” in the restaurant’s private dining room, where guests can choose from a special menu of small plates that are all $10 or less. You can expect dishes like pizza with fresh ricotta, black cabbage, and truffle vinaigrette; pork belly with braised peanuts and cranberry mostarda; and salt cod fritters with caper berries and piquillo marmalade. Call Craft for details at 212/780-0880. See our Craft review »

Eighty One: On Sunday evenings, head to Eighty One for their new “Winter Warming” menu, which features an option of either a two or three-course prix-fixe meal for $29 and $35, respectively. For approximately the same price of a single main entrée, you can feast on a meal of pumpkin risotto, duck meatballs served with creamy polenta, and warm chocolate cake. Call Eighty One for details at 212/873-8181. See our Eighty One review »

Matsugen: It’s safe to say that the cost of a meal at any Jean Georges restaurant will easily run up into the triple digits. At this relatively new restaurant, guests can get a taste of some delectable Japanese cuisine without the hefty cost. For $35, diners can get a six-course mini-omakase dinner, which includes grilled edamame, black cod, chicken meatballs and vanilla caramel pudding. This special menu is offered every night of the week. Call Matsugen for details at 212/952-0202. See our Matsugen review »

Photo courtesy of Picholine