The madness that is Center City District Restaurant Week
pops off again this Sunday. Nothing's changed â $35 gets you three dinner courses at more than 100 Center City joints for dinner ($20 for lunch). Despite the guaranteed business boom in this snowy winter lull, certain chefs and restaurant owners still choose to (or are forced to, due to location) fly off the RW radar, and we want you to know what they're doing in lieu of it.
Many feel that diners are not getting the genuine intended dining experience during RW. Chef Marc Vetri
, for example, feels that RW is a "lose-lose for customers and restaurants alike." Restaurants, he says, "lose because they are not showing you their best" (they often pare menus down to easily cranked-out items to meet massive demand); diners lose due to unmet expectations. "There will be no choices," says Vetri. "They can't order what they want." So, will the chef's Amis
do anything special to counter RW programming? "Yes," Vetri tells us. "We are serving the same food and ambiance that we worked so hard to create every day." Bravo.
Even though Vegan restaurant Horizons
(611 S. Seventh St.) is a leap away from South Street, they are not included in the RW lineup. Because three courses for $35 is a nightly occurrence here, they are offering up Restaurant Tweak,
which includes four
courses for $30, while still offering the daily a la carte menu. Burn!
Beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 18, Cochon BYOB
(801 E. Passyunk Ave.) will showcase five courses for $30. This will run until Jan. 21, so make reservations quick â the decadent menu includes cured foie with sour cherries and Strasbourg sausage with pickled turnip spaetzle.
Bistrot La Minette
(623 S. Sixth St.) is sticking to business as usual. Every Sunday, Peter Woolsey
and crew offer four
courses for $29 â $6 less than the RW price for an extra course. La Minette is also featuring a four-course "regional" menu, keeping things localized to the Alsace-Lorraine
portions of France, for $35 (Jan. 26-27).
Thursday, Bar Ferdinand
(Liberties Walk, 1030 N. Second St.) chef Dave Kane
presents a weekly $35 chef's tasting menu, which, intended for two, presents 13 plates featuring seasonal ingredients. In the tapas realm of RW, you're still only seeing about six plates, so this is a deal. Spanish wine pairings are available for an additional $25.
Khyber Pass Pub
(56 S. Second St.) will be hosting a Southern family-style meal on the same night RW kicks off (Sun., Jan. 16). Low and Slow
features special guest Gary Wiviott
(BBQ expert, "life coach" and author) conducting a tutorial on good at-home BBQ, while the Khyber serves classic soul food, beer and Rye cocktails. Cost: $35 per person, including tax and gratuity (!).
Finally, Pub & Kitchen
(1946 Lombard St.) â also non-participants â have decided to nurse those who tirelessly work through these weeks of service. They've teamed up with Sly Fox Brewery
for their "Industry Relief Event." Beer specials will be available from Jan. 16-21 and 23-28; $5 before 10 p.m. and $2.50 after. Sly Fox brews will include Pikeland Pils and Dunkel Lager cans; firkins of Chester County Bitter, O'Reilly's Stout on nitro and Saison Casuelijick. Even if you're not a fatigued restaurant worker and just want to avoid the RW crowds, don't fret â P&K extends goodwill to all.