Go ahead and rag on Restaurant Week all you like. The slams only add to the chorus of critics and outright haters who condemn the discount dining promotion each time it comes around. And to be honest, those put-downs have some validity. However, as we reported some time ago, within the biannual, two-week tourney of turning-and-burning lies opportunity for chefs and restaurants to impress, ensnare and possibly even create repeat customers with well-played plates. Case in point: Inky critic Craig LaBan this morning tweeted that he’s been “too hard” on restaurant week, and his “fantastic” dinner at Meritage last night serves as proof that it’s not all bad.
You’ll recall that back in 2011, Meritage’s chef Anne Coll told us that uninspired prix fixe menus centered around tried and true Restaurant Week staples like chicken, salmon and token vegetarian specials no longer cut it with the majority of restaurant-goers who turn out for the twice-yearly dining deals. Rather than water down her regular a la carte offerings, Coll said she springs for upgrades, like foie gras, heritage pork, day boat scallops and escargot. And with that, she maintains, the restaurant always sees return customers. We’re wondering now if LaBan will soon begin turning up there regularly for a Korean fried chicken fix?