Eleven Madison Park, Per Se, Jean Georges: New York City is home to some of the world's best restaurants—and the most expensive too. A tasting menu at the newly revamped Eleven Madison Park, voted 2017's best restuarnt in the world, will set you back $315 a person—and that's without a drop of alcohol. Even just an hour at the mysterious Threesome Tollbooth, a three-seat speakeasy in Bushwick, will run you $120 per person per hour. Yes, when it comes to footing the bill, New York City is not for the faint of heart.
But fear not, spring chickens, the affordable (and delicious) tasting menus of your wildest Valentine's evening dreams are also attainable in the city that never sleeps. That is, if you know where to look. Ahead, our favorite under-$50 tasting menus in NYC, from East Village to Williamsburg, will leave you satiated and just a little richer. Trust us, these under-the-radar chef tastings are worth the trek.
The Saint Austere
The Deal: $50 Chef's Tasting, four courses
The Setting: Golden-era hip-hop and a four-course chef's tasting await in the dimly lit dining room of Brooklyn's The Saint Austere. This family restaurant is known for its unpretentious Italian fare filled with the freshest ingredients. The European-focused wine list highlights family-owned estates, so you'll want to save a little extra for libations.
The Neighborhood: Williamsburg
The Deal: $39 Trust Me Menu, nine courses
The Setting: Finally, Los Angeles's most coveted sushi made its way eastward to New York City, and the prices are more than reasonable. The one caveat is Sugarfish doesn't take reservations, and the wait can be long, so head over early with a solid plan for pre-dinner cocktails to kill time. A mouthwatering nine-course omakase awaits on the other side for a mere $39 a person. Your patience will pay off.
The Neighborhood: Flatiron
The Deal: $48 Tasting Menu, four courses
The Setting: Go for the wine; stay for the food. Denizen, Williamsburg's friendliest wine bar, focuses on expertly sourced biodynamic and organic wines and an incredible selection of small plates, including a scallop crudo worth writing home about. They also have a four-course $45 tasting menu, which is practically unheard of in New York City, and the staff is as friendly as can be.
The Neighborhood: Williamsburg
The Deal: $42 Dinner Menu, three courses
The Setting: Atoboy, the beloved Korean restaurant in NoMad, charmed the hearts of the most discerning food critics with one simple offering: a selection of Korean-inspired small plates and rice for $42. The famed New York Times critic Pete Wells recommends a selection of lotus root, black sea bass, beef tartare, sunchoke, mackerel, pork jowl, with a panna cotta and sujeonggwa granita for dessert.
The Neighborhood: NoMad
Autre Kyo Ya
The Deal: $50 Chef Course, five courses
The Setting: Curious to know what French-Japanese cuisine tastes like? Head over to East Village's Autre Kyo Ya, the sister restaurant of Michelin-starred Kyo Ya. During the months of January and February only, its Chef Course (normally $80), is down to $50 per person. So brave the cold, and enjoy your selection of onion cream soup, Alaskan king crab, sweet potato tempura, monkfish bouillabaisse, roasted organic chicken, and caramelized clementine.
The Neighborhood: East Village
The Deal: $45 Omakase, nine courses
The Setting: It's an all-too-well-kept secret: Sushi Katsuei serves up some of the best sushi in Brooklyn. The omakase at its Park Slope location starts at only $45 and will leave you satiated, happy, and relieved that your check boasted one less "0" than New York's most expensive omakase at Masa, which clocks in at $450 per person.
The Neighborhood: Park Slope
Pig and Khao
The Deal: $45 Chef's Course Tasting Menu, five courses
The Setting: Available Sunday through Thursday, Pig and Khao delivers on the promise of a South Asian–inspired, five-course tasting menu with Thai and Filipino influences, which you can wash down with its "self-serve" bottomless draft of Narragansett (or a selection of craft cocktails, if that's more your speed).
The Neighborhood: Lower East Side