Brace Yourselves; Spring Long Island Restaurant Week is Coming

Will Long Island Restaurant Week take you to Sandbar in Cold Spring Harbor? • Photo by Doug Young

One of our favorite spring things—right up there with North Fork asparagus and sugar snap peas—is Long Island Restaurant Week (LIRW). It’s when upwards of 150 restaurants all across the island set up a three-course prix-fixe menu with a minimum choice of three appetizers, three entrees and three desserts for $28.95 (up from $27.95 for the winter promotion).

Some restaurants offer more choices, others offer upgraded selections for a little extra, still others convert their whole menu into prix fixe offerings—but at minimum, you’ll have three choices for each of your three courses. Adventurers might discover a new place they hadn’t heard of among the participating restaurants. Folks on a budget will finally get to try that hot-but-pricey establishment down the road. Planning a big event in future? You can test drive some potential venues. Want to organize a girls’ night out or a book club outing? This is your week.

Long Island Restaurant Week started with the Fall 2006 season to step up restaurant traffic during traditionally slow dining weeks. That time it featured 100 restaurants. Now, joined by LIRWs in winter and spring, more than 150 restaurants and thousands of diners participate on average each time.

And if you are a diner, don’t worry that you’ll get less than the restaurant’s best. “This is an opportunity for the restaurant to get a new customer,” says Nicole Castillo, vice-president of WordHampton Public Relations, which coordinates LIRW. “They may be considering booking a birthday party or an anniversary. So the restaurant has to put its best foot forward and offer a real taste of the restaurant.”

There are a wide variety of eateries to explore, like Stony Brook’s high-end French restaurant Mirabelle, which has participated in LIRW since the beginning, and new-this-season Moonstone Modern Asian Cuisine & Bar in Great Neck. You may also want to explore a different town or village. Huntington and Roslyn are always well-represented; look for Patchogue to continue surging this year. LIRW really makes it worth it to drive out to that place you’ve been dying to try and haven’t got around to yet.

Spring LIRW is scheduled for April 23-30. Since it runs Sunday to Sunday, you actually have eight days a week to hit your chosen establishments. Participating restaurants are required to offer the prix fixe every night they are open that week all night, except on Saturdays, when they can stop at 7 p.m. if they choose. Some restaurants offer it later; you should ask ahead if you want to dine later. And remember, beverages are not included in the deal. For the most up-to-date listings, check the website. “Some places sign up just two weeks before the event,” says Castillo.

LIRW provides provides participating restaurants with extensive advertising in local media and train stations, as well as a website that is constantly updated. Restaurants that use the OpenTable reservations app can be linked to that from the website and in fact, OpenTable usually does a round-up on its site to promote. If you’ve got a restaurant and want to sign up, click here for details.