It’s that time of the year again when we can slightly loosen the tight grip we have on our wallets and jump off the fiscal cliff to enjoy some of the many restaurant gems of New York City. From Jan. 14 through Feb. 8, restaurants are offering three-course prix fixe $25 lunches and/or $38 dinners. The list seems endless, but you are bound to find a new restaurant that you’ve always wanted to try but was perhaps financially out of reach or revisit an old haunt to see what they are cooking up.

If you want to stay in Harlem, there is only one restaurant participating in Restaurant Week. That, of course, is Red Rooster, which is only offering lunch. On the menu, you can start with either market salad with goat cheese or smoked butternut squash soup with garam masala. Choice of three for the main dish: Helga’s meatballs, smoked salmon with winter vegetables or mac and greens. Dessert is coconut cupcake or apple cranberry tart, both served with ice cream.

Should you want to venture to the rest of the city, there are options aplenty! From my first visit to Telepan (see this week’s “Talking SCHOP”), there should be no doubt that whatever Bill Telepan has up his chef jacket for lunch and dinner has got to be seasonal, fresh and elegantly presented, no matter the reduced price.

If history is correct, I have a standing Restaurant Week date to visit a chef Tom Colicchio restaurant. Perhaps it will be at Craftbar to start with pecorino fonduta with acacia honey. The main course is a little harder to decide. Will it be duck hearts and dumplings with black garlic vinaigrette or Portuguese blood sausage or the Craftbar burger with bacon jam? Dessert must be buttermilk panna cotta! And all for $25 (plus, drinks, tax and tip)?! I am there!

For more adventurous and more traditional participating restaurants, please visit for details. And let me know what you find.