Delicious Midday Meal Deals
Set menus offer lots of (great) choices at lunchtime.
Everybody loves a deal. Which is why prix fixe lunch menus are a wonderful indulgence. There are a lot of wins here; you get to experience a restaurant you might not otherwise go to at a great value. And you get choices—often an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Plus, chefs get to showcase their finest (or most interesting) cuisine—all in the hopes of luring you back. Here, some highlights of what’s available when that midday craving means more than just a tuna on rye to go. Most lunch deals are available Monday through Friday only.
At Aurora Ristorante (60 Purchase St, Rye 914-921-2333), the focus is on Tuscan-style preparations, complete with pizza straight from a wood-burning oven. For $14, you have a choice of appetizer and entrée, with selections such as handmade ricotta gnocchi, Gorgonzola burger over salad, linguine Bolognese, and an egg-white frittata with spinach, mushrooms, and goat cheese. Lunch is offered from noon to 4 pm, so you could conceivably come at 3-ish and call it an early dinner. Just add a glass of Merlot ($5) and you’re officially a cheap date.
Caption: Aurora’s pan- seared scallops with grilled asparagus, arugula, and figs
The staff is attentive at Caffé Azzurri (20 N Central Ave, Hartsdale 914-358-5248) where, upon being seated, you’re offered a basket of warm bread, along with saucers of roasted-pepper spread and hummus. The three-course Espresso Lunch ($20.95) is well paced and includes a choice of appetizer, entrée, and coffee.
Standouts include the Milanese-style chicken-breast panini “BLT” with light mayo, and the panko-crusted jumbo lump crabcake burger with chipolte rémoulade, all bookended by a soul-warming espresso and brittle biscotti.
It can be hard getting a reservation for dinner at The Cookery (39 Chestnut St, Dobbs Ferry 914-305-2336), so why not lunch it? You get the same enchanting cuisine but without having to wait weeks for a table. The $21-per-person deal includes appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Whet your taste buds with a crostino of fresh ricotta, truffle honey, and thyme before moving on to the cauliflower and ravioli with lemon, brown butter, and garlic. The sticky pumpkin tortina with warm pumpkin cake, cinnamon gelato, and figs ends your meal the way you started it—sweet!
Parmesan-encrusted cod and chipotle salmon are specialties at Goldfish Oyster Bar & Restaurant (6 Rockledge Ave, Ossining 914-762-0051), where the prix-fixe lunch gets you a three-course meal: appetizer, main course, and dessert. No worries if you’re not a fish lover; the stuffed pork chop and chicken Milanese are also excellent, as are the choice of desserts. Should it be the chocolate pyramid, the biscotti di prato, or the butterscotch pot de crème? For $16 for the whole shebang, you can’t go wrong by asking your companion to share.
The menu changes with the seasons at Harvest on Hudson (1 River St, Hastings-on-Hudson 914-478-2800), where an inspiring meal awaits amidst the earthy tones of a Tuscan farmhouse setting. The $17.95 prix-fixe lunch offers you such choices as the 8-ounce burger, rustic pizza, or house-made pasta like tagliatelle primavera.
At Ichi Riki (1 E Main St, Elmsford 914-592-2220), the parade of choices—in particular, healthy selections—is staggering. In the mood for vegetable udon or beef teriyaki? No problem. Or how about sushi or sashimi? Every day features a different special, be it a chicken, beef, fish, or noodle dish, with everything prepared fresh daily. Bento boxes are the most popular lunch mainstays, with prices ranging from $10.25 to $13.95. Meals include salad, soup (miso or clear), and rice, along with a main course. We love that the healthy choice bento offers mesclun on a bed of Japanese noodles. It’s the perfect blend of East and West.
The traditional French county ambience at La Panetière (530 Milton Rd, Rye 914-967-8140), with its ubiquitous roosters, contemporary flair, and Provençal setting, portends the lavish meal to come. Everything is done with gourmet mastery and style and features dishes like beef bordelaise, skatefish grenobloise, and cannelloni of duck confit. Yes, it’s a bit lavish, but one that’s ideal for special occasions. Come hungry: the $25 prix-fixe option includes appetizer, entrée, and dessert, and includes such mouthwatering endings as a warm chocolate fondant with raspberry ice cream or the chilled lemon parfait with fresh pineapple.
Sonora (179 Rectory St, Port Chester 914-933-0200) hums with a Latin vibe and the spicy sensation of South American cuisine from distinguished chef Rafael Palomino. The prix-fixe lunch menu isn’t easily found on the restaurant’s website, but don’t worry—it’s there. For $16, you have an option of ensalada (golden and red beet salad tossed with arugula, watermelon, and goat cheese in a beet vinaigrette), Argentinean seafood chowder, or platos principales—a choice of paella, grilled salmon, or grilled skirt steak served with Chino-Latino stir-fried rice with sweet plantain and lobster. If you’ve got time on your hands, pay a little bit more for one of the restaurant’s killer mojitos. Our fave: the pineapple.
Normally, the char-grilled salmon is $19.95 and a vegetable casserole is $15.95 at Turkish Meze (409 Mount Pleasant Ave, Mamaroneck 914-777-3042), which is why you can’t beat the weekday deal of $9.95 for a two-course meal. Appetizers, like lentil soup and babaganush, are filling in their own right, meaning you just might have leftovers to take home. We like that the ambience is relaxed, the food authentic, and the owner dedicated to teaching you about Turkish food and culture. Just be forewarned—it’s cash only.
It’s a wrap at The Heights (334 Underhill Ave, Yorktown Heights 914-962-3777) where, for $8.95, you get an appetizer (salad or soup) and a choice of inventive wraps, including a crispy fried shrimp BLT, Cobb salad wrap, smoked mozzarella and portobello mushroom, or curried chicken salad.
Balance out the filling (and handmade) ricotta gnocchi or the perfectly seasoned chicken scarpariello (hot cherry peppers, sausage, and rosemary) with an organic mixed field salad at Trevi (11 Taylor Sq, West Harrison 914-949-5810) where the $21 prix-fixe menu includes starters, composed entrées, and desserts.
Larchmont resident Jeanne Muchnick wishes she had more time for lunch. The busy author of the recently released Dinner for Busy Moms (thedinnermom.com) is also the managing editor of a new e-zine for moms called ProjectYou (projectyoumagazine.com).