My Restaurant Week Lunch at Hatsuhana
You still have five more days to enjoy Summer Restaurant Week 2007. If you have a job like mine (i.e. one where you don’t get to take summer associates out to lunches paid for by your company) then Restaurant Week is a great excuse to see how the other half lives. As far as I’m concerned, $24.07 is not that great a deal for lunch, especially since there are already a lot of fancy places with normal prix fixe lunches that cost somewhere around that amount (like Jean Georges). But, I am a big advocate for using your full one hour lunch break to relax, and there is no better way to do it than treating yourself to a fancy, sit down, expensive lunch. It’s obviously only going to be a once in awhile thing, and Restaurant Week is the perfect excuse.
Restaurant week is not without its flaws (it’s not really that great a deal, and you often get what you pay for), but when your wife offers to pay for it- you’d be crazy to say no. Right? See, my wife is one of those lucky people who gets to eat out on her company’s dime every once in awhile- and her guilt over getting to go to these great lunches and dinners (without me) often results in her treating me to meals that we would probably never go to otherwise. (I’m still waiting for my dinner at Del Frisco’s- a place that I’m pretty sure you can only enjoy if you are not paying.)
She has been to Hatsuhana a few times for work, and really wanted me to get to try it- so when she offered to take me there for a Restaurant Week lunch, I decided to hold back on my “Restaurant Week is not really worth it” speech. I may be a cheap bastard, but I’m not crazy. No arm twisting necessary. I don’t mind cheap spicy tuna rolls from a deli, but if you have the money and don’t mind spending it on food, there are few things better than high quality raw fish.
Hatsuhana already has lunches priced around $25, so it sort of breaks the cardinal Restaurant Week rule (eat at some place that you wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise), but they do give you a much nicer lunch for RW, than you get normally for that price, and I wasn’t even paying- so don’t mistaken this for complaining. For $24.07 you got a miso soup, salad, and this box of goodies:
A breakdown of each section, after the jump…
Tuna w/ Wasabi-Soy infused Mayo sauce
Japanese Amberjack “Kanpachi”
Creamy snowcrab and spicy cucumber salad
(From left to right) Bluefin Toro, Yellowtail, Sea Scallop & Salmon Roe
Spicy Tuna Roll
Looking back at the picture of the box, it doesn’t seem like a lot of food… but it ended up being very filling, helped along by the soup and salad beforehand. It was very high quality fish, and some of the pieces- like the Sea Scallop, were really exceptional. Plus, you will never hear complaints from me when Toro is involved, the most prized, and fattiest part of the tuna (it literally tastes like butter).
Restaurant Week lasts until Friday, and while I broke the biggest rule by eating at a place that normally has $25 lunches, you don’t have to make the same mistake. Make sure to find a place that is usually more expensive, and don’t hesitate to call ahead and ask what the restaurant week menu is. Some places will even post them on their websites. A good piece of advice is to pick a place that is only doing lunch for Restaurant Week. That usually means the place is too popular and expensive for them to afford doing $35 dinners- always a good sign.
So in the end, while I enjoy looking into the glass windows of restaurants that are too expensive, and usually not that good, laughing about how I don’t have to wear a suit to work- secretly I do wish I had a job that paid for fancy over-priced lunches. For one hour last week, I sat in Hatsuhana, and dreamed that I did.
Hatsuhana, 16 E. 48th St. (btw. Mad+5th), 212-355-3345
Feel free to post your restaurant week experiences as comments below…