What time is the reservation? The twice-annual New York Restaurant Week — which has now evolved into a whole month of dining deals, is on. Adding to the offers, American Express and Resy, the online restaurant reservation service, are teaming up to pick up the check for New York diners through August.
On Sundays to Fridays through Aug. 20, 48 restaurants in Brooklyn are offering special deals including a three-course meal for the price of a single dish, or a whole special menu featuring dishes specially curated by the chef. From Greenpoint to Bay Ridge, many are on board.
“It has become a sort of game we play with our customers,” said Osei Blackett, chef of the Trinidadian restaurant Arapita in Midwood. “They come in being curious and happy with the idea of getting a good deal or being some of the few who will get to try an original creation, so we are faced with the challenge of giving them both.”
This season’s Restaurant Week includes well-known names such as As You Are, the busy American restaurant in Boerum Hill, the Ace Hotel and the Prospect Heights staple Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue. Some hidden gems have also joined the venture, including Rosette at the Brooklyn Winery in Williamsburg. Many think of the winery as an event venue, but its restaurant offers a menu made with seasonal ingredients paired with the a selection of wines.
Many restaurants in New York have not yet recovered since they were forced to close by the circumstances through the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Some of them have shortened or modified their menu, some are short of staff since having to let go of personnel because of budget issues. Many blocks look different now that neighborhood favorites have gone out of business, and other optimistic restauranteurs are trying their luck.
As chefs look for locally sourced high-quality ingredients, the state of New York loses a farm every three days on average. The country’s food supply has gotten even more affected this year by high transportation expenses driven by inflation and bad weather and climate issues.
According to Blackett, the summer edition of Restaurant Week is not as prolific as the one that comes through the winter.
“When the weather is hot, people are out, looking for things to do and in New York, eating at a restaurant is at the top of their list, so we have decent traffic anyway,” he said. “But being part of the summer roll-out keeps us on the public eye.”
A few more restaurants didn’t stop at that. Amex and Resy will start a Pick Up the Check promotion on Wednesday, Aug. 9. Patrons with reservations will get $99 off, per person, at participating restaurants. Reservations for special, selected meals, for Wednesday’s evenings in August, open at 10 a.m. each Monday.
Among the participants is & Sons, a 20-seat neighborhood ham bar in Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
“Families are getting ready for the expenses that come with the kid’s return to school, and then come the holidays,” said Ula Kermine, mother of two, based in Kensington. “Any sale or deal is a blessing right now. Banks should take a really good look at the degree to which people and small businesses are struggling or our economy will drown us.”