Fine dining for less
Le Cirque Cafe and Wine Bar is a more relaxed alternative to the main dining room.
Special to amNewYork
Who says you have to give up haute cuisine in hard times? With upscale eateries offering exclusive recession deals and lower-priced prix-fixes diners can splurge, without spending a ton of dough.
85 10th Ave., at 15th St.,
The front dining room of Tom Colicchios meat-centric eatery has transformed into Halfsteak, boasting a menu with items priced at $15 or less. The namesake dish is a half-portion of high-quality, dry-aged steak served with hand-cut fries for $14.50. Note: They dont take reservations.
36 W. 52nd St.,
In March, chef Michael Psilakis and restaurateur Donatella Arpaia opened the 48-seat Anthos Upstairs on the renovated second floor of their modern, upscale Greek eatery, Anthos. Bargain-hungry diners can choose from a variety of affordable dishes, such as sheeps milk ricotta dumplings with leeks, baby spinach and feta butter fondue ($10). By-the-glass wines are $5-$10.
Le Cirque Café and Wine Lounge
151 E. 58th St., 212-644-0202
This legendary and luxurious restaurant is best known for its power-dining crowd, but the Café and Wine Lounge is reserved for more casual, affordable dining. This area features special prix-fixe menus for both lunch ($28) and dinner ($35) that change monthly. Jackets are not required (a first for the restaurant) and customers have been known to wear (gasp!) blue jeans.
Philippe Chow Express
469 Sixth Ave., btwn 11th and 12th sts., 212-929-8949
Chef Chows scene-y uptown and TriBeCa spots are known for celebutante clientele, but the same high-end Chinese dishes are available for bargain prices at Chows Express location in the West Village. This lesser-known eatery features a similarly dazzling dining room, decked out with sleek red banquettes. The Express menu includes a two-course lunch special for $14.99.
Per Se lounge
10 Columbus Circle,
Considered by many to be Manhattans top restaurant, Thomas Kellers elegant but pricey Per Se (the nine-course tasting menu is $275 per person) now offers an a la carte Salon Menu in its 24-seat lounge area. Changing daily, this reduced-priced menu features seven to 10 dishes priced at less than $46 (that includes service). Reservations arent required, but jackets are.