Area residents are invited to sample an assortment of fare from a variety of countries during The Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce's second Westport Restaurant Week.
From Sunday, Aug. 29, through Saturday, Sept. 4, special prix fixe menus will be offered at nearly a dozen restaurants in town. During the week, restaurateurs will feature a range of lunch and dinner specials aimed at pleasing a variety of palates.
Businesses participating in Westport Restaurant Week will offer lunch for one priced at $10.10 or $15.10, lunch for two at a fee of $20.10 and dinner for one at a cost of $20.10 or $30.10 per meal.
"We will offer the benefit of a good price and a great value," promises Prasad Chirnomula, the owner of the recently opened Thali Restaurant. Thali opened its doors in Westport in April. During the upcoming week, Chirmoula, who owns six restaurants in Connecticut, hopes to attract new patrons to the Westport location.
"I want to impress people so that they know what we have to offer," he says. During the promotion, Thali will showcase its traditional Indian cuisine as well as offer Chirnomula's favorite specialty dishes.
Three-course dinners, priced at $30.10, will be among Thali's offerings during Restaurant Week. Starters will include banana-leaf sole, vegetable samosas, jaipore chicken, and an arugula salad with roasted pistachio nuts and sweet red beets topped with a raspberry modena balsamic dressing.
The main course selectionss will include lamb kababs with cilantro-lemon sauce, chicken tikka masala, a pan-seared fish of the day, tandoori shrimp malai, black pepper-crusted duck, as well as roasted, fresh-cut vegetables. Dessert offerings will include a daily chocolate special and mango cheese cake.
"Our goal is to introduce the restaurant to people in this area and, of course, to bring them back," Chirnomula says. "Restaurant Week is not about today. It's about tomorrow."
Thali's lunchtime fare, at $20.10, will include lamb kababs, pan-cooked potato patties, crisp shrimp in a hot cilantro-garlic sauce, salad, chicken tikka masala, sag paneer and dessert.
The introduction of a second Restaurant Week in Westport is meant to draw customers during a seasonal lull in business, explains Restaurant Week spokesperson Linda Kavanagh, who runs the public relations firm Maximum Exposure . "This is a slow time of year for restaurants," she says, pragmatically. "We use the week to get people in the door."
She adds, "Offering special price points is an incentive for people to visit their favorite restaurant, try a new one, or return to one they haven't been to in a while."
Paul Teoh, owner of Matsu Sushi, points out that Restaurant Week offers customers a great bargain. During the weeklong promotion, he will offer three-course lunches and dinners.
Dinner offerings will include, as appetizers, miso soup, veggie salad, rock shrimp, green salad, kimchi oshinko (pickles) or chicken popcorn. Main course selections will be a sushi and sashimi combo, hibachi steak and shrimp, New Zealand grilled lamb chops or any two special rolls. Desserts will include fried cheesecake, mochi (a rice cake confection) and pudding.
The rolls traditionally sell at prices ranging from $7 to $14 each, Teoh says. "For a customer to get two rolls, an appetizer, a drink and a dessert for $30 is a good opportunity," he said.
At lunchtime, Matsu Sushi's offerings will include miso soup, green salad, chicken satay and veggie salad for starters. Sashimi (nine pieces), mango chicken, shrimp and vegetable tempura, sushi (five pieces) or hibachi steak as entrees. Dessert will include mochi or pudding.
Teoh was pleased to share that Matsu Sushi will debut its newest roll this weekend during a stint on a local cable program. "What's Cooking" on News 12 Connecticut will feature Mastu Sushi's latest creation, The News 12 Roll. "We call it the News 12 roll because we created it on the spot," says Teoh, smiling. The roll is comprised of imitation crab, avacado, scallops and a honey yuzu sauce.
In addition to offering a service to customers, Restaurant Week also supports the local chamber of commerce, which is important to Teoh. "We have been in business for eight years and we support all the efforts to bring more people downtown," he said. "Restaurant Week is an opportunity for us to support the chamber, have some publicity and welcome new and returning customers."
Participants in the week-long event also include Rizzuto's Wood-Fired Kitchen, Tarantino's, The River House, Cafe Manalo, Tavern on Main, Da Pietro's, Mansion Clam House, Blue Lemon and The Boat House.
Da Pietro's Restaurant enjoyed great success with its participation in Westport's first Restaurant Week, which was held in February. ""We had a great time with Restaurant Week over the winter," reports co-owner Janine Scotti, in a prepared statement. "So much so, we continued to offer our prix fixe menu for another week … and beyond."
Kavanagh anticipates that additional restaurants will join in to participate in Restaurant Week in the future.
The number of courses and inclusion of beverages will vary at each location. The price points during Restaurant Week do not include tax and gratuities. For information on Westport Restaurant Week and participating businesses, visit www.westportwestonchamber.com