PRIX FIXE DINING
at exactly the expected price.
We salute those generous kitchens
that extend their $20.01 Restaurant Week lunches throughout the
year, but they're not the only prix fixe game in town. Starting
from the bottom (in price, not quality), you can get your fill for
as little as $3.75 at Warteg Fortuna, an Indonesian hole-in-the-wall
below the elevated subway in Woodside, Queens. That buys you a Styrofoam
plate that is, alas, mostly rice but also includes smaller portions
of tasty curried chicken on the bone (or beef, lamb, or fish) and
stewed cabbageand carrots in a spicy coconut curry. There are five
other dinner plates to choose from, and we recommend splurging on
the $5 chicken satay -- four skewers of luscious coal-blackened
meat marinated with sweet, thick soy sauce, served with rice and
a petite portion of green beans, bean sprouts, and kale with peanut
dressing. Es teler is a multicolored tropical drink that turns bright
pink when you stir it up, a shade that complements the slivers of
avocado and jackfruit floating on top ($1.50).
your service: A thali at Thali.
A thali is a full Indian meal served on a metal tray, which
is how lunch ($6) and dinner ($10) arrive at Thali, a sliver
of a Southern Indian vegetarian restaurant in Greenwich Village.
The menu changes daily, but you can safely expect tandoori roti,
rice, a couple of delectably spiced vegetable stews or curries,
dal, and, for dessert, something like a delicate ras malai, or sweet
cheese dumpling. For $10.95, Ayurveda Cafe provides a similarly
scrumptious package deal for that rare Upper West Sider who doesn't
mind letting someone else dictate what he's eating for dinner.
For a quarter of a century, La Petite Auberge has quietly
endured the ascendance of nouvelle cuisine, celebrity chefs, and
health-consciousness, remaining remarkably immune to every hostile
threat to its classic style of French cooking. For the price of
an entrée almost everywhere else, the $23.95 four-course
prix fixe features such high-fat, old-school fare as steak au poivre
with buttery potatoes and spinach, filet of sole meunière,
and an enormous, wonderfully crispy duck a l'orange (for a $2 supplement).
The vinaigrette on the leeks is more cream than vinegar, the pâté
is robust, and the service is that practiced blend of proper and
friendly that makes this wood-beamed chalet in the heart of Curry
Hill such a sentimental fave. If our arteries could take it, we'd