Note - Below is a story I wrote for a blog that ended up not getting published, so I decided to post it here. I am the first to admit that I do not consider a $20 or $30 dinner (plus booze) a cheap meal. I see this as more of a guide to the nightly specials of popular restaurants that often aren’t heavily publicized.
It is usually around the third week in January when firmly made New Year’s resolutions begin to show their wear - cleanses are cut 5 days short, gym memberships remain unused. It is also around this time when those who vowed to eat out less have become sick of Chinese food and store bought pasta. The good news for the latter is that there’s no need to throw in the towel just yet. Some of Brooklyn’s best restaurants offer weeknight dinner specials as a way to lure in diners on traditionally slower nights (typically towards the beginning of the week). While it’s not as cheap as a packet of ramen, taking advantage of these deals could add a couple of extra dollars to that new savings account.
James, Photo via James
James - Sunday and Monday
605 Carlton Avenue, Prospect Heights
Budget-conscious Brooklynites wanting to try Prospect Heights trailblazer James may want to consider the restaurant’s Sunday suppers. For $30, diners receive a three-course meal with menu items like butternut squash risotto with truffle oil and spinach salad with pine nuts. Looking for something more casual? The restaurant also hosts a burger and slow roasted pork night on Mondays. $9.50 gets you a classic burger with Vermont cheddar and herb fries. A lamb burger with goat cheese and a slow roasted pork sandwich are also available.
The Brooklyn Star - Sunday and Monday
593 Lorimer Street, Williamsburg
Williamsburg Southern joint, The Brooklyn Star, offers family style feasts on Sunday and Monday nights. Unlike the other restaurants mentioned in this article, this deal requires some work on the diner’s end - there is a three person minimum ($20 per person) and reservations must be made ahead a time. Of course, the diner, and his or her guests, will be sweetly rewarded with fried chicken and three side dishes.
Buttermilk Channel - Monday
524 Court Street, Carroll Gardens
Carroll Gardens comfort food haven, Buttermilk Channel, serves a three-course, $25 dinner on Monday nights. Sweet potato soup, buttermilk fried chicken with cheddar waffles, and a mini pecan sundae all make an appearance on the menu. If that’s not enough to lure you down Court Street, the restaurant’s serious street cred (Jay-Z and Beyonce rang in the New Year there and Mayor Bloomberg recently stopped by for some fried chicken) should.
Chicken and Waffles at Buttermilk Channel, Photo via Zagat
The Vanderbilt - Tuesday - Thursday
570 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights
Casual neighborhood spot, The Vanderbilt, offers a featured entree with a complimentary draft brew for $15 on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights. Entree specials tend to be menu items that pair well with beer (think mussels and fries, St. Louis style ribs). The full menu can be found here. Arrive before 7 to take advantage of the bar’s happy hour ($4 drafts, $5 glasses of wine).
The Good Fork - Tuesday - Thursday
391 Van Brunt Street
Quirky, New American-Korean restaurant, The Good Fork, also offers a nightly prix fixe menu Tuesdays through Thursdays, which includes three courses for $25. Menus are updated daily on the restaurant’s Twitter account (@goodforkredhook). Recent specials have featured hearty winter fare like spicy chicken and chorizo stew and cider braised pork belly.