The Pekoe Group’s Guide to What’s Happening This Week in NYC
New York City is home to many a fabulous thing: Central Park on the first hint of a summer day, droves of yellow taxi cabs ready to whisk you away at the mere lift of an arm, people of virtually every race and nationality riding the same subway cars and rushing to work on the same streets every day, food trucks serving up street meat to famished revelers unable to avoid the oddly tempting and virtually inescapable stench as they make their way home at 4am… the list is endless and, depending on your own proclivities, very likely to be completely different from my own or even your best friend’s. Two things that seem to hands-down make everyone’s “Things I Love About New York” list, though? The great food and the stellar theatre. Now, if you’re part of the young, beautiful and strapped-for-cash set, you probably don’t get to indulge in a three course meal at a Michelin star-awarded restaurant followed by much coveted tickets to a star-studded Broadway musical as often as you’d like. Sigh. Lucky for you, I’ve got some good news: for the first time ever, the city’s tourism bureau has launched Broadway Week, a two-for-one deal on tickets to 18 of the hottest shows currently gracing the Great White Way, which began on January 24 and runs in conjunction with this winter’s Restaurant Week, a 20-year old New York institution and eagerly anticipated godsend for would-be foodies like myself. Not to forget Off-Broadway, the 20at20 program is back as well, offering $20 tickets to participating shows starting 20 minutes before show time for two weeks only through February 6. Whether you’re planning your next girls’ night out, a hot date, the yearly visit from the parents or a “just because I deserve it” kind of an evening, discounted theatre tickets and delicious prix fixe dinner menu make the perfect combo over the course of the next two weeks. Need a little more inspiration? Check out my suggestions below for some irresistible dinner-and-a-show pairings that will satiate both your gastronomical and artistic cravings.
The Atlantic Grill Lincoln Center & Freud’s Last Session— Rarely does a play challenge and engage the mind as thoroughly as Freud’s Last Session, the show that, since it’s opening in July, has taken the city by storm, extending several times thanks to constantly sold-out performances. Indulge in some upscale seafood at Atlantic Grill just down the street. The salmon is highly recommended—after consuming all those brain-boosting omega-3s, your mind will be ready to debate right alongside Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis as they clash about God, love, sex and the meaning of life in Mark St. Germain’s humorous and deeply moving play about their imagined meeting on the day England enters World War II.
Centro Vinoteca & A Perfect Future— Even with the endless options for amazing Italian food paired with delicious wines in downtown Manhattan, Centro Vinoteca remains a haven. Dimly lit in a way that is casual yet elegant, you can hide away in a cozy corner and wash your toasted eggplant crostini down with a glass from their selection of over 200 wines. The theme continues just down the road at A Perfect Future, where wine is considered the fifth character of this new play that deals with what happens when a group of former college radicals reunite and learn to reconcile their idealism with reality.
DBGB Kitchen & Bar & Play Dead— Maybe, despite years of trying to appear cosmopolitan and cool, you’re just a burger and beer kind of guy. DBGB, Dan Boulud’s swanky take on the traditional American tavern, will make you feel right at home with its mouthwatering Yankee burger and 22 craft beers on tap. Keep the unassuming spirit alive by checking out the fun and irresistible Play Dead at The Players Theatre on MacDougal Street. You’ll feel like a spooked kid listening to ghost stories at summer camp as Teller and Todd Robbins invite Death out to play in this new hilarious and spirit-shaking Off-Broadway play.
Blue Smoke & Memphis— Who can say no to the rousing fun of rock ‘n roll music? Memphis, winner of four Tony awards, serves up a healthy dose of rambunctious singing and dancing while telling a compelling story of one couple’s forbidden love and quest for fame. You won’t want the fun to stop once you leave the show so head downtown for some Southern grub at Blue Smoke, which features the barbeque styles of Kansas City, Texas, North Carolina and, of course, Memphis! Whichever style you choose, there’ll be no shortage of hospitality at this standout Southern spot.
Kellari Taverna & Mamma Mia!— So you might not get a chance to escape the snow and slush of New York for the Greek Isles this winter. Live vicariously through the gorgeous characters of crowd-pleasing Mamma Mia and be whisked away to that magical place where the ocean is surreally blue, where the people are perpetually sun-kissed and, most importantly, where life unfolds to an endless soundtrack of ABBA! Keep the fantasy going for a bit longer with a visit to Kellari Taverna where you can feast on feta-infused mashed potatoes and spanokopita galore.
Here’s a quick recap: if you’re constantly moaning and groaning about how you never have the extra cash to do all the cool things you want to do, this is your chance. Restaurant Week, Broadway Week and 20at20 are all under way and offer deeply discounted opportunities for fine dining and the best of theatre. For more info on how to plan during the next two weeks, you can check out the links below: