By: Casey Arden

This week officially marked the beginning of my favorite part of summer in NYC; maybe my favorite part of the entire year. 
 It's filled with great foods from expensive expensive restaurants, at a reasonable price - that time of year is restaurant week. For just $25 any foodie, or regular joe that just wants a delicious meal, can indulge in a 3 course meal at a myriad of locations. Dinner is an equally good deal, three courses for $38.

I personally like to use this (almost) month as a period of competition - both spoken and unspoken - amongst my family, friends, and I. The competition: who can taste the most succulent, mouth-watering dishes, at affordable prices from these normally off-limits establishments.

I've put myself at a distinct disadvantage to start off these 25 days of excitement; I left today on a trip for Aspen. The food in Aspen certainly won't pail in comparison to NY, but the prices will certainly be quite different. So while I'm looking forward to a week of hiking, biking, swimming, going out with much-missed friends, and always eating... I do feel as if I'm missing out on the best part of living in NY.

So my resolution: just eat more when I get back! My personal goal is to try only places that I've never been to before (either during prior restaurant weeks or during any part of the year), restaurant week is a time to try something new! So if you are anywhere near New York, it's worth the $25 or $38. I've never been let down by the food! 

Although, as an experienced restaurant week-goer, be sure to ask if you have any questions about the overly-sophisticated menus. While you can end up having the best meal of your life, I've also ended up with some quite interesting foods, that maybe some would call delicacies - but that I would call in-edible. 

Just last year I ordered a calimari as my appetizer, little did I know, it wasn't the fried and breaded deliciousness that I was used to, it was just plain grilled calimari... And all because I thought I'd look silly asking questions.

So go to, check out the venues and scour their special menus. And be sure to let me know how it goes so I can add it to my list of must tries! 

Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant of your choice, or by using OpenTable: NYC Restaurants.