Thursday, August 2, 2012

So many restaurants, so little time

Wild King Salmon in a Coco-Bean Puree at Dovetail in Manhattan.
Cucumber Vichyssoise with Smoked Trout.

The plates are beautifully composed and the food tastes as good as it looks at Dovetail, one of the many Manhattan restaurants offering three-course lunches for $24.07 through Aug. 10.

I've already had two of these bargain lunches --  which cost less than the price of an entree at other times of the year -- and plan to have two more before the promotion ends.

Some restaurants offer the $24.07 lunches until Labor Day.

A miniature rice ball and small cheesy cornbread were complimentary.

At Dovetail, I loved my appetizer of tender Squid a la Plancha in a strawberry-rhubarb jam and entree of Wild-Caught King Salmon, though the crisped fish was cooked a little more than the medium rare I requested.

I passed up the Devil's Food Cake, Bourbon Bread Pudding and another high-calorie dessert, and asked for a trio of sorbets.

Dovetail's Bourbon Bread Pudding with honey-ginger ice cream.

Summer Restaurant Week menus usually offer a choice of three appetizers, three entrees and three desserts, and salmon is so common, you might think you're swimming upstream against the current.

At Dovetail on Tuesday, I told the waitress I didn't want to have any butter or cream.

She returned from the kitchen to inform me the bean puree with the wild salmon had a little creme fraiche in it, and asked if that would be OK.

With a 20% tip and tax, the $24.07 lunch costs about $31 per person. 

I drink tap water, and if I want coffee or tea, I go looking for a Starbucks.

Tea at Dovetail ranges from $5 to $15.

Dovetail received 3 stars from The New York Times in 2011, as well as a Michelin star.

Dovetail New York, 103 W. 77th St., Manhattan; 212-362-3800.

Insalata Caprese at Abboccato Ristorante uses buffalo-milk mozzarella.

Crispy Polenta-Coated Calamari with a spicy tomato sauce.

For my second $24.07 lunch, I chose a place in Midtown that had skate wing on the menu.

Abboccato Ristorante is from the owners of Molyvos, a Greek restaurant. 

Abboccato means "pleasing to the mouth," and the "home-style" Italian food lived up to that phrase.

Spiedini di Gamberi.

Razza alla Livornese -- roasted skate wing.

At lunch today, my appetizer was Fried Calamari with a spicy tomato sauce and fried parsley, and my entree was Razza alla Livornese -- roasted skate with tomato, capers, white wine, Gaeta olives and Sardinian couscous.

The mild-tasting, tender skate was wonderful, flaking easily, and I loved the capers-and-tomato sauce. 

My teenage son started with Insalata Caprese and had an entree of Spiedini di Gamberi -- eight large wild-caught shrimp in a creamy sherry vinaigrette served over micro-greens.

I tried the buffalo mozzarella in his salad, and it  melted in my mouth.

Strudel di Mele.

He had an apple strudel with vanilla gelato for dessert, and I had sorbet. 

Abboccato, which opened in 2004, is small and dark, and the place mats on our table had seen better days.

Abboccato is across the street from the City Center.

Abboccato Ristorante, 136 W. 55th St., Manhattan; 212-265-4000. 

Web site: About Abboccato

Click on the link below to find out about $24.07 lunches at other restaurants:

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