Damon: Frugal Friday
47 East 19th Street, NYC

There are some definite benefits to this struggling economy and one of favorites is all the cheap eats deals that are popping in the city. When I heard about the Damon: Frugal Friday deal, I was stunned. I definitely thought it was too good to be true. I figured it is most likely tiny portions, a bait-and-switch, or lines around the corner. But it was actually an excellent experience – and fun too. Too many restaurants take themselves too seriously in this city. Tom Colicchio, Craft owner and Top Chef head judge, seems like a serious guy. Maybe that’s why his executive chef, Damon Wise, is cooking Friday nights in the Craft party room with an ultra fun menu? Whoever came up with the idea, I hope it is here to stay.

Everything on the menu is under $10. Let that sink in for a moment… There are food in jars, in bundles, and on sticks. They have $4 bourbon drinks and other tasty beverages. We had some rather unusual food offerings. We had escargot and bacon on skewers, beef carpaccio, and crispy pig ears – which is the only plate I can’t recommend. We had a generous portion of fresh tuna in a jar and an excellent tamale. There is something for everyone on the $5-$8 offerings and it is really exciting to get all of these wonderful small plates. We sat right next to the open kitchen and saw the three cooks preparing plate after plate after plate.

The vibe was fun too. While it is dark and sleek because of Craft, the table are lined with brown paper and the staff wears bright blue “D:FF” t-shirts to add to the recession theme. I highly recommend this Frugal Friday experience. Just go early or late (it serves 5:30-12) because it can get packed. I apologize for the grainy, flashless pics, a “serious” Tom Colicchio was walking around and we were intimidated.
Definite GOLDEN BONZONE. goldenbonzone