A friend mentioned to me that our vacation to Boston happened to coincide with Restaurant Week. For those who aren't familiar with Restaurant Week (I'm not sure it's nation-wide), Boston restaurants get together to offer several Prix Fixe menus at an attractive price (if someone can comment with the phonetic of how to pronounce Prix Fixe, I would appreciate it. "pre-fix" doesn't seem right). These meals are generally three courses: soup or salad, entree, and dessert. With this kind of bargain, my wife and I couldn't resist the opportunity to try to get more value from our vacation. Did we succeed? Let's find out.
Last Thursday night, we went to Locke-Ober, a high-end restaurant that has been in Boston for over 125 years that neither my wife and I had heard of in 60 combined years of living there. I don't know how we logged approximately 18 months of straight time watching the Phantom Gourmet (a local restaurant review show) and missed it. It was listed as a pricey place on Restaurant Week and when my wife saw the menu, we agreed that we had to go. We ordered from the Prix Fixe. While I loved my short ribs, my wife found her lemon-soul to be merely average. The wine menu was pricey and while good, I can't really say that I find full value it. My taste buds aren't that refined. By the end of the dinner, we had spent over $150 with taxes and tip. We had fun at a place that we ordinary would have avoided (and would have ordinarily been around $250), and the restaurant definitely saw profit during these economic times.
On Friday night, we went to The Capital Grille with the friend and his wife who told us about Restaurant Week. The Capital Grille is a well known steak house in the Boston area. You'll get arguments, as everyone has their favorite steaks, but it's on pair with national chains of Morton's or Ruth's Chris. The menu was a little more limited than Locke Ober. Of the three entrees, all four of us went for the Kona-crusted aged steak (it escapes me which kind it was at this time). At $33 a piece, it was a great price for the typical three courses. We all came away quite satisfied. However, again, my wife and I added some wine, plus tax and tip and found that the price crept up there just like Locke-Ober.
My take with Restaurant Week is that if there's a place you've been saving your pennies to visit anyway, it can save you a little more money. However, watch your budget and be careful for the psychological trick of Restaurant Week. The little things add up quickly. If you are happy at Applebee's, Friday's, Outback's or any of those kind of restaurants, they offer great deals every night where you can several meals for the price of one that we got. It's simply a matter of taste. Also, don't forget these tips to save money at restaurants.
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