‘Specials’ Night Out: A Roundup Of Restaurant Deals
By Lisa Green
Does anyone ever need a reason to dine out? Not really. But there are some very savvy restaurants in the Rural Intelligence region that are reeling us in simply by rustling up something just a little different on one night of the week. Some are meals at prices too good to pass up, while others, if not exactly “value” meals, add spice to the middle-of-the-week blahs or give you an excuse to try a place you’ve never been. And some are seasonal offers, so it’s always best to call ahead to make sure they’re still on the menu.
Mezze’s reuben. Photo by Amy Mendes.
Sure, if you’re in the city on Sunday night, you’re probably walking over to your neighbohood Chinese restaurant (or even more likely, calling it in). But then, you in the city don’t have Mezze Bistro + Bar in Williamstown, Mass., which is currently celebrating its 20th year as one of the Berkshires’ most celebrated restaurants (and one of the first, ever, to present a farm-to-table menu). Mezze offers a Comfort Sunday meal: two courses for $22 and three courses for $29. The menu always changes according to what the farmers bring in and what the chef decides to do with it, but a recent comfort food menu listed celery soup with pickled apple salad, housemade reuben with onion rings, and pineapple upside-down cake.
Community Table in Washington, Conn. wants to warm you up on Sunday night with its tasting menu and wine pairing, $65. Star chef Joel Viehland recently left the restaurant, so this is an opportunity see what new chef (and sous chef under Vieheland) Marcell Davidson brings to the Community Table. And what a nice way to end the weekend.
Somehow, being frugal sounds less, well, cheap, when it’s in another language. And cuisine. Destino, in Chatham, NY, proves this with Frugalista Monday. They call it the best deal in town, and we don’t doubt it. For $15, you get a choice of 6 appetizers, 5 entrees and either a dessert or drink. Reservations are a must (it’s dine-in only) and there’s no sharing. But at this price, why would you?
Swoon’s zucchini carpaccio. Photo courtesy of Swoon.
If one night at Community Table isn’t enough, go back for Comfort Food Monday. Like all seasonally inspired menus, this one changes each week, but in the past Community Table has offered grass-fed burgers, lobster mac and cheese and local pork tacos. This isn’t a prix fixe, and the regular menu is still available, but manager Jeff Phillips says Comfort Food Monday comes in at a little less than the regular a la carte menu.
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to love Meatless Mondays at Swoon Kitchenbar in Hudson, NY. And the regular menu is available, if you’re accompanying a non meat eater. But Meatless Monday features a four-course menu for $29.95 that’s a whole lot more than a pile of lettuce. Recently it was cream of mushroom soup, potato latkes, baked rice and dessert. Other weeks it’s been zucchini carpaccio and veggie latkes, baked rice and dessert.
Thank goodness for alliteration. It’s given us Taco Tuesday at Eat on North, the exceedingly handsome, open-til-late casual restaurant within the classy new Hotel on North in Pittsfield, Mass. The deal is two tacos and a blood orange margarita or a glass of North Street sangria, all for $15, from 5-10 p.m. Olé!
Allium pizza. Photo by Jason Houston.
It’s not as if the wood-fired oven at Allium Restaurant + Bar in Great Barrington doesn’t get fired up the rest of the week, but on this night of the week it gets a workout for Pizza Tuesday. There’s always the cheese pizza, $13, and an inventive special, $16. As an example, one week is was nettles, garlic confit, Berle Farm crowdie, shiitake ‘shrooms, housemade fennel sausage and mozzarella.
You can go from Pizza Tuesday at Alllium to Pasta Wednesday at its sister restaurant, Mezze Bistro + Bar. All the pastas are, of course, made in house, which makes it worth the $18 ($12 for a smaller portion). Past Wednesdays have included kale pasta with chicken sausage, bianco sardo, and poached egg, plus meatballs and pasta for the kids. Full order $18, half order $12. A wine pairing is extra, but only $6 or $7 a glass — a good deal for always great food and wine.
Make plans to meet friends for cocktails at Eat on North on Wednesday nights, because there’s an oyster special at 5 p.m. — 5 oysters for $5. The special lasts for 59 minutes, so don’t be late. (And if you miss it, come back the next night: the oyster special’s good on Thursday nights, as well.)
Make up for Meatless Monday with Burger Tuesday at Swoon. Unchanging is the half pound of all-natural grass-fed beef from Kinderhook Farm on a toasted brioche bun with house-made tater tots and spicy aioli, but there’s a special each week. One week it was a pastrami spiced burger with sauerkraut and swiss cheese mixed with pastrimi spices. The standard burger or special with fixings, $13.95.
Cafe Adam oysters. Photo courtesy of Cafe Adam.
One can’t live on the fried ceci (chickpeas) in tandoori spices alone at Café Adam in Great Barrington (although I’d try if I could), so the Thursday night half-price oysters adds a little variety on a week’s-almost-over after-work gathering. Regularly $3.50, the oysters are $1.75 with your choice of cocktail sauces.
The Cookhouse in New Milford, Conn. was voted “Best in Connecticut” for its barbecue 13 years in a row, and that’s good enough for us. What’s even better: its All You Can Eat BBQ (ribs, chicken, pulled pork, sausage or brisket) for $20.99 on Thursday nights. It comes with a choice of two sides (horseradish mashed potatoes? I’m so there.) and a free pint of draft beer.
John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant in South Egremont, Mass. is known for its farm-focused menus, but chef-owner Dan Smith is inspired by Mediterranean cooking. Thursday nights are now dedicated to Italian cuisine; each week highlights regional specialties with a three-course menu, $30. The “Giovedi” prix fixe runs through May, after which the restaurant will begin offering a featured farm prix fixe menu.
Lantern pizza. Photo courtesy of The Lantern.
Congratulations. You’ve made it to the weekend. Now get yourself to The Lantern in Wassaic, N.Y., which is essentially open only on weekends and where the wood-fired pizza is always special. All of the sauce, cheese and dough are made in house. Some examples: BBQ chicken pizza with red onions, scallions, fresh Romano cheese and jalapeños; white pie with béchamel, butternut squash and kale; pesto pie with roasted red peppers, ham, arugula, lemon oil and Romano, all $14, served Friday and Saturday from 5-9 p.m., and Sunday 3-7 p.m.
We’ve already introduced you to Ramen Night at The Meat Market in Great Barrington. What you get: soup with housemade noodles and sake-marinated pork belly or shabu shabu, a sort of make-your-own broth from the beef and vegetables you dip in the pot of boiling water. Samurai films, beer, wine and sake are available, too. It’s a social evening as well as a gustatory one, and all for $30.