Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Savor the Bronx during Restaurant Week

Here's a story from this week's Bronx Press and Riverdale Review.

By Miawling Lam 

Prepare to loosen your belt buckles and prime your palates: It’s time to eat.

The inaugural Bronx restaurant week, which kicked off on Tuesday and runs through November 13, will showcase the borough’s rich cultural diversity and dining scene.

Under the initiative, more than 30 restaurants will offer patrons a range of special discounts and promotions including prix-fixe three-course meals, complimentary coffee and dessert or 20 percent off the entire tab.

Among the participants include old-school Italian joint Mike’s Deli on Arthur Avenue, classical French restaurant Bistro SK on City Island and Riverdale Steak House. Three local Applebee’s branches are even getting involved.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said the event would provide diners a chance to sample some of the borough’s finest food.

“I invite everyone to visit and savor the Bronx,” he said. “Our inaugural Savor the Bronx! Restaurant Week is the ideal time to try a new restaurant or return to a favorite. The Bronx is your oyster.”

Jump below for the full story.
Organizers hope the landmark event will draw large crowds and finally put the Bronx on the map. Although traditionally overlooked by foodies, the Bronx is finally starting to gain traction.

Hip downtown Manhattan eatery Torrisi unveiled their Parm sandwich stand to Bronx residents in July – a full four months before their bricks-and-mortar shop at Mulberry Street opened – when they opened their stand at Yankee Stadium.

Thirty Bronx restaurants were also included in the current edition of Zagat’s dining guide, up from 24 in the previous year.

Furthermore, Michelin Guide inspectors even acknowledged the Bronx for the first time on this year’s Bib Gourmand list, awarding two restaurants in the borough with the highly coveted status.

Popular Italian restaurants Zero Otto Nove and Tra Di Noi, both located in the Arthur Avenue section in Belmont, were among the 114 eateries in the city to be bestowed the title this year.

The designation, otherwise known as the inspectors’ favorites for good value, is awarded to restaurants that serve two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less.

Management at Zero Otto Nove seized on the opportunity to participate in restaurant week and will offer a three-course lunch for $24 during the promotional period.

Assistant Manager Nicole Mancini said it was time to shine the spotlight on the borough.

“The Bronx is a best-kept secret. Not everybody knows about it. I feel like it’s the borough that gets the least amount of press so I think it’s time to promote it,” she said.

“I’m sure that within maybe 10 years, we’ll be the next Brooklyn but I don’t think we’re there yet.”

Before the Bronx could succeed however, Mancini said it was vital to tackle people’s perceptions.
Contrary to what many believe, she said the Bronx was not only safe but also centrally located – on the Metro-North train, Belmont was just 15 minutes from midtown Manhattan.

Bronx Brewery will also host a special event at the Bronx Ale House on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Head brewer Damian Brown will lead diners through a beer tasting before the brand’s signature Pale Ale will be paired with a charcuterie platter, cheese and a range of unique dishes.

Bronx Brewery General Manager Chris Gallant said he was thrilled to participate in the event.

“The Bronx has more great restaurants coming to the fore so it’s nice to be part of that up-and-coming crop,” he said.

“I think there is a lot of opportunity here. It’s a massive borough and there are tons of people here. One of the greatest things that exists here is the diversity and that I think is what’s partially driving the resurgence of food.”

The Bronx Tourism Council, the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, the Bronx Chamber of Commerce and the New York State Restaurant Association have also thrown their weight behind the event.

New York State Restaurant Association Executive Vice-President Andrew Rigie said the event was a win-win for the community and local restaurant owners.

“This is an amazing opportunity for local Bronx restaurants to showcase their cuisine and hospitality,” he said.

“This is sure to offer a boost in business while affording locals and out-of-towners the perfect opportunity to taste all the flavors that Bronx restaurants have to offer.”

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