Ask the Critic: Where I Go on Off Nights

Ask the Critic

You have restaurant questions? We have answers. Where to take a dinner date? Restaurants good for parents or picky eaters? Food etiquette? Food and restaurant writer Carey Jones answers your questions. Email to submit.


[Illustration: Robyn Lee]

Editor's note: Here to answer your questions is senior managing editor, former SENY editor, and frequent author of our NYC restaurant reviews Carey Jones. We'll take a few of your questions each week and give you the New York restaurant advice you're looking for. Email with the subject line Ask the Critic to submit your question!

Nights Out On 'School Nights'

Dear Critic, My job has a somewhat unusual schedule in which I work Thursday through Sunday, leaving the other days as my "weekend." I actually quite enjoy this, as I like going to restaurants on quieter nights, and Mondays and Tuesdays certainly qualify. I feel as if bars and restaurants must run specials on "off nights"—do you have any recommendations?

While you might have a hard time coordinating weekend trips with friends or meeting up for Sunday brunch, I've got to say—your schedule doesn't sound half-bad. Because New York, as I see it, is better on weeknights. No fighting your way in to cocktail bars, no two-hour lines for dinner, no amateur-hour drinkers. I rarely go out on weekends at all these days.

In truth, I think just about any restaurant experience is more pleasant on a less-crowded night. Sit at the bar and make friends—the bartender's more likely to have time to chat with you. Have a great meal and want to meet the chef? He's more likely to come shake your hand than if he still has 100 covers left before midnight.

But if you want specifics, here's a shortlist. The excellent Bar Corvo offers 50% off all wines by the bottle Monday through Wednesday, and no corkage on Tuesday—both routes cutting down your wine cost substantially. And if you're over in the Prospect Heights–Clinton Hill–Bed-Stuy area, Doris on Fulton Avenue has happy hour prices all night long on Tuesdays. (That'll be even nicer once the weather's nice enough to take advantage of their backyard.)

Ceviche at Coppelia. Photograph: Jessica Leibowitz]

Back in Manhattan, Coppelia is my favorite destination on Sunday and Monday nights; sit at the bar and cocktails are just $6 until 11 p.m., beers cheaper too. (Pair it with a drippingly good pork sandwich and you can get yourself a meal and two drinks for about $25.) And while you're in Chelsea, cocktail bar Bathtub Gin has free burlesque shows on Sundays and Tuesdays—but it's popular, so get there early or book a table. Monday nights? Modern Australian spot Flinders Lane features no corkage; grab a bottle to drink with your fabulous laksa or tandoori rabbit. And afterward, head to Ward III in Tribeca for weekly Whiskey Mondays, in which a different producer presents a tasting each week, complementary if you're there for drinks, with cocktail specials too.

But I'm sure we can compile an even longer list. What are your favorite weekday haunts? Particularly with specials to entice us in?

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Email with the subject line Ask the Critic to submit your question. All questions will be read, though unfortunately not all can be answered.

About the author: Carey Jones is the former managing editor of Serious Eats. Follow her on Twitter (@careyjones).

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