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New York Restaurant Week this winter runs from January 23rd to February 10th, 2017.  Restaurants that participate can offer a lunch prix fixe for $29.00 and a dinner prix fixe for $42.00.  Some restaurants offer only lunch or dinner, some offer both.  Some of the restaurant prix fixe are better deals than others (some are no better than the menu the rest of the year).  Tavern62 by David Burke is offering its whole menu as part of Restaurant Week, not just a limited prix fixe menu.  Tavern62 is located on East 62nd Street in the same townhouse where David Burke previously had restaurants davidburke & donatella and Fishtail

The menu includes some of David Burke’s signature dishes, like Pastrami Salmon, Candied Bacon and his cheesecake lollipop tree.  The menu on the restaurant’s website hasn’t been updated, yet.

Everyone starts with a mini muffin.  Butter is served on a small block of Himalayan salt.

I started with the Tuna Poke–light and fresh.

My companion had the clothesline candied bacon.  It comes with scissors.

candiedbacon

My companion’s main course was the bacon ravioli (yes, a bacon-themed meal). It looks like ravioli in a creamy cheesy sauce, but what you can’t tell from looking at it is how smoky and complex the flavors were.  It was an absolutely unique and delicious dish.

Going with a lighter, fishier theme, I had the roasted branzino.  Again, it looks like a simple dish, but the veracruz sauce had tons of flavor and unexpected heat.  The fish was moist and perfectly cooked.

We shared the pecan tart and the smores cake for dessert.

All in all, it was definitely one of the best restaurant lunches I’ve had in a while.  And Tavern62 by David Burke offers a great selection and value for restaurant week. I’ve already made another reservation–if the menu stays the same, I already know what I will order:  the chowder and the bacon ravioli.

The maitre d’s check-in desk also displays Burke’s fondness for Himalayan salt.  The restaurant also has some walls made of Himalayan salt.

 

 


This week I am hitting all my favorite places. I had lunch at Union Square Cafe the other day (read about it here) and yesterday I had lunch at M. Wells Dinette.  The owner, Hugue Dufour, and the chef de cuisine, Aidan O’Neal, are among my favorite chefs.

They now have a prix fixe lunch:  any starter and any main for $28.00. The main courses alone were between $22 and $26. And you can get a wine pairing of two short pours for $10.  These are both great deals but we would have been there anyways because the food is so rich, unique and flavorful.

Everything we had was terrific.

Here is the menu:

M Wells menu July 17, 2014

M Wells menu July 17, 2014

One of our starters was beef tartare. Fresh and tasty, the mustard seeds have a great pop to them. They’ve added edible flowers since the last time I had this dish. They make the plate pretty, but I am not sure they added anything to the taste profile of the dish.

Another starter was called cauliflower and mussels.  I am not generally a huge fan of mussels, but I love Aidan’s smoked mussels. The dish was a fresh mediterranean salad. Fresh crispy cauliflower, cucumbers, croutons, radishes, some amazing super thin ribbons of pickled red onions and the wonderful smoky mussels. A great way to start.

Our third starter was a creamy summer squash soup with micro greens and some crunchy toast on top.

Summer squash soup

One main course was a beef short rib dish. The dish included fava beans and thin slices of turnips.  The sauce was excellent but I could not figure out what was in it.  It was the consistency of a curry or a peanut sauce but didn’t have the favors of either. Turns out it was a sauce made of almonds and red peppers.

Another main course was a pork chop with a lighter sauce.  It included peaches, parsnips and crunchy parsnip ribbons.

Pork chop

The third main course was roasted poussin.  It was stuffed and served over lentils and tomatoes.

Poussin

Both our desserts included blueberries.  One was a blueberry crumb creme brûlée and other was a cheesecake.

Blueberry crème brûlée

Blueberry cheesecake

 


Lunch buffets are a staple of Indian restaurants in the New York.  A number of the Indian restaurants in Jackson Heights were known for their buffets–but in recent years the quality has tapered off.  Some time ago, I tried to find the best of the bunch–but I was only disappointed.  The place I used to go in midtown had closed.  And then, a couple of years ago, Moti Mahal Delux opened on the east side at 63rd and 1st Avenue.

Moti Mahal in Delhi

Moti Mahal in Delhi

I had been to Moti Mahal in downtown Delhi, right near the main mosque.  We had gone for lunch to have their famous butter chicken.  It wasn’t a very popular place at lunch–we were practically the only diners there.

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Moti Mahal Delux in New York

Unlike the one in Delhi, the Moti Mahal Delux in New York is a great place to go for lunch.  They don’t offer an a la carte menu, just an all-you-can-eat lunch. Monday to Friday it costs $11.95.  There is no buffet, they bring bowls of everything to your table.  You can ask for anything to be replenished.

There are two options:  vegetarian or non-vegetarian.  If you go with two people, get one of each, then you can enjoy the full range of dishes.

Yesterday, they started us with a plate of appetizers:  pakora (fritters) and crunchy chaat (below).  The chaat had the three different sauces/chutneys (tamarind, coconut and mint) on it.  The pakora were like oniony spiced potato pancakes.  They started us with two pakora (they call them “pakoda”).  Later in the meal we asked for more pakora and we got a tray of them.

Pakora and chaat

Pakora and chaat

Then, they brought a plate of tandoori chicken (below).

Tandoori chicken

Tandoori chicken

Then they brought out a tableful of food.  In addition to rice, naan and dal, they brought another type of chicken that had been cooked on the skewer, two vegetarian dishes, a fish dish and a chicken curry.  Everything was delicious. Did I say you can ask for anything to be refilled? Because they bring out the dishes as you request them, they are hot and fresh.  The naan is fluffy and things that should be crunchy are.  Nothing was overly spicy.  In fact, a few things could have used more spice.

A table of curries

A table of curries

One of the vegetarian dishes was mixed vegetables (below). The things in the photo that look “meaty” are mushrooms.

Mixed vegetables

Mixed vegetables

The fish curry (below) was tasty.  The fish was lightly breaded, with just the right amount of crunch.

Fish stew

Fish stew

Chicken stew

Chicken stew

Naan

Naan

We got two types of skewered chicken.  Different taste profile from different marinades.  They had started us with a plate of each. This (below) is the refill plate.

Two types of chicken

Two types of chicken

A vegetarian version of butter chicken (below). Instead of chicken, this one has cubes of cheese (paneer).

Butter paneer (vegetarian dish)

Butter paneer (vegetarian dish)

Dessert: a mango pudding with mango and other fruit

Dessert: a mango pudding with mango and other fruit

After we could eat no more, they cleared the table and brought us dessert. It was a delicious mango pudding with pieces of mango and other fruit.

The dishes change from day to day.