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In a time when we’re all at our wit’s end with this cold, snowy, rainy mess, we feel okay splurging on a few good meals—especially since we spent most of the past few months hibernating. We heard NYC Restaurant Week say, “Come on out hungry bears. We’re here to fill you up and get you ready for spring.” Naturally, we listened. Here were some of our favorite dishes to try during NYC Restaurant Week.

Dinner at Bar Primi, East Village

The restaurant that glorifies the most important dish of all— the pasta!  Taking what Italians call the first dish “primi piati” and making it the center of their menu, the folks at Bar Primi know how to create the perfect ambiance for carb-loading. Not only is the inside of the restaurant cozy and warm, but so is the food. The pasta got us in the door for for NYC Restaurant Week, but it was the homemade ricotta crostini appetizer, $10, that really impressed. And for a place known for its truly glorious pasta, this was a bittersweet realization.

Topped with ricotta, hazelnut, truffled honey, and rosemary (UH, YUM) the crostini summons three simple words: Flavorful, creamy, and refreshing. Combined with the freshness of the ricotta, it’s an imaginative and truly surprising flavor profile that you may not see coming. For so many distinguished flavors, this appetizer defines the meaning of harmony.

Although Bar Primi’s strozzapreti (a similar shape to cavatelli) pasta dish, $18, was fresh and quite delicious, it sadly fell short of that “OMG” factor. Maybe simple was what they were going for, but the dish was lacking in flavor and had us reminiscing about the first course. The mushroom and marsala ragu definitely added that earthy flavor, which is used a lot during winter, but it was too subtle and underwhelming. Even the octopus with fingerling potatoes and red hot peppers was more impressive and creative than the pasta, which is to be appreciated — but makes for another disappointment.

Lunch at Boulud Sud, Upper West Side

We found more pasta at Chef Baniel Boulud’s Mediterranean-inspired Boulud Sud. Executive Chef Travis Swikard did not disappoint. With similar flavors as Bar Primi’s strozzapreti, it was the pesto at the base of the dish that tied in what was missing from the former. Not to be overshadowed by the main, there was plenty of  “ooh’s and ahh’s” with Boulud Sud’s modern dessert of rose panna cotta with pistachio gelato and sponge cake–the perfect cleanse of the palate to end a large lunch.

Dinner at Lido, Harlem

Dinner at Lido is a must when you’re craving something cozy— which was exactly the case in our stopover during Restaurant Week. Lido has happy hour at the bar every day from [5:30]-[7:30]— red wine please! Wondering what our favorite entrée was? Why yes, the spinach tortellini with sage pesto, roasted butternut squash and walnuts, $18, confirmed yet again that simplicity wins the race…and our slow and steady eating made it even better. These flavors were the perfect wintry mix, and the tortellini had the perfect pasta-to-filling ratio.

Appetizers are a nice start to the meal, but none were extraordinary. Lido’s pasta was the true star of this meal. Shown here is the butternut apple soup, arugula salad with roasted pear, parmesan shavings, and walnuts, $12, and a homemade organic ricotta crostino with sautéed crimini, deep fried sage and truffle oil, $9. It’s worth mentioning that the salad stood out among its fellow apps, contributing something unique with flavors lacking on other Restaurant Week menus. The pears were caramelized just enough to bring out the sweetness against the peppery arugula.

So that’s a wrap for NYC Restaurant Week Winter. Check out more pics on  our Instagram. What were your faves? Share with us below in the comments, so we know where to start prepping for NYC Restaurant Week Summer.

Bar Primi
325 Bowery
New York, NY 10003
212-220-9100

Boulud Sud
One Lincoln Plaza
20 West 64 Street
212-595-1313

Lido
2168 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
New York, NY 10026
646-490-8575

by Alison Magistrali