Best Restaurant Trend - 2006
The prix is fixe
When Niche opened its doors late last year in Benton Park, it carved out an instant niche thanks to its prix-fixe dinner option. While the menu was arranged a la carte, diners were welcome to curate their own three-course mealappetizer, entr?e, dessertand pay only $30 for the privilege. Larry Forgione's virtuous, wondrous An American Place has begun offering a six- or nine-course chef's tasting menu (with or without wine pairings) to entice diners who might be wary of the establishment's elite reputation and/or steep prices. Six courses and six glasses of wine for $99 per person isn't cheapeven when you get delicacies like an heirloom tomato tartlet, cured lamb shoulder, roasted sweet corn with Jonah crab meat and Hawaiian chocolate lava cakebut damned if it ain't a value. Then there's Downtown Restaurant Week, a national trend that arrived here last summer, offering three-course, $25 dinners at more than twenty downtown restaurants, no coupons required. Yep, value does make the vittles taste better; no shame in that.