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Belt-Tightening Hits the Menu

Recession specials return.


New York’s bistros are preparing for leaner times. “This week has been very scary,” says chef Franklin Becker of Sheridan Square, which is offering $50 coupons for checks over $100. Ruby Foo’s recently remade the menu at its Upper West Side branch, offering lower-priced dishes that have reduced the average per-person check from $29 to $20. Strip House, where lobster goes for $29 per pound, stopped selling four-pounders and added two-pounders to the menu. Icon, in the W Hotel on 39th Street, has dropped the price of a tasting menu from $90 to $66 and now offers a BYOB night on Mondays. Le Cirque introduced a $48 three-course prix fixe in its lounge; the regular three-course tasting is $92. And Keith McNally is considering less-expensive concepts for his new space on the Bowery. But not everyone’s cutting back. “I tried to take off the Dover sole, which is $65, and substitute it with gray sole or lemon sole for $24,” says Da Silvano’s Silvano Marchetto. “People started complaining.”

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