These Michelin-starred restaurants have more affordable menus

At these Michelin-starred restaurants, you don’t have to do the full tasting menu. If you’re on a budget, consider dining at the bar or lounge, or maybe coming in for a lunch prix fixe.

Acadia | Chicago

Acadia $35 bar snacksAcadia $35 bar snacks — Photo courtesy of Neil Burger

In Chicago, Acadia is the most underrated fine dining gem in the city, and their killer deals at the bar are beloved by locals and industry friends. No reservations are needed, and you can get a bar snacks menu of nine small bites, like kung pao cauliflower and whipped foie gras with cheddar breadsticks for just $35.

There are also several hearty a la carte items like chef Ryan McCaskey’s signature lobster roll ($18) in honor of his Maine roots, the Acadia burger ($15) topped with bacon onion jam, truffle-mornay and gooey Gruyère, and Hokkaido-style ramen ($15) on Sundays in the winter, with duck, miso and wood ear mushroom.

Blackbird | Chicago

Blackbird barbecue stuffed quailBlackbird barbecue stuffed quail — Photo courtesy of Alexa Bendek

Blackbird doesn’t have a lounge, but the best deal here is the $25 three-course lunch menu offered every weekday. There’s no better power lunch in town. The lunch menu dishes are distinct from the 10-course tasting menu offered at dinner, but no less delicious. Even though it’s a prix fixe, you have a wide selection with three options for each course.

Dishes at Blackbird change regularly but might include skate wing tempura with kimchi and mustard greens followed by a pumpkin pie bar with cacao nib and coconut latte ice cream. Both chef de cuisine Ryan Pfeiffer and pastry chef Nicole Guini won 2019 Jean Banchet Awards for their work.

Gabriel Kreuther | New York

Gabriel Kreuther LoungeGabriel Kreuther Lounge — Photo courtesy of Gabriel Kreuther

At Gabriel Kreuther in New York, the extensive bar menu is prepared with the same care as the dinner tasting, including quite a few Alsatian items that pay homage to chef Gabriel Kreuther’s classic French training and Alsatian heritage. There’s tarte flambée ($18), boudin noir ($27), kougelhopf ($8) and red wine braised tripe gratiné ($23) for the adventurous foodie.

Don’t skip dessert – chocolate bonbons and petit fours ($12) come from Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate next door.

Lazy Bear | San Francisco

San Francisco‘s Lazy Bear launched a new late-night a la carte menu in December 2018. Beginning at 9:30 pm, Tuesday through Saturday, food and the full wine list are available at Lazy Bear Den on the mezzanine level. There’s bison jerky ($9), fancy trail mix ($9) and ham and biscuits ($15) baked to order.

Interactive tableside campfires allow you to cook your own skewers of king salmon ($19), wagyu ribeye burnt ends ($23), cured barbecue carrots and maitake mushrooms ($15) and, of course, s’mores ($16).

Le Bernardin | New York

Le Bernardin‘s lounge serves a three-course lunch prix fixe for $57. The menu changes weekly and you can choose between two options for each course. Plus, $5 from each meal is donated to City Harvest to help feed New Yorkers facing hunger.

The a la carte lounge menu reflects chef Eric Ripert’s seafood prowess, featuring signature dishes like Peruvian-style fluke ceviche ($24), lobster cappuccino ($17) and Le Bernardin‘s famous salmon rillette with toast ($24), normally served as a dressed up alternative to bread and butter to begin a meal in the dining room.

The Restaurant at Meadowood | Napa Valley

The Restaurant at Meadowood RotundaThe Restaurant at Meadowood Rotunda — Photo courtesy of Kelly Puleio

In Napa ValleyThe Restaurant at Meadowood offers two abbreviated options to the full three-star tasting menu. Offered exclusively at the restaurant bar, the three-course menu is $150 per person and might include dishes like local trout with buckwheat and turnip and “prime rib” of aged rib eye with koi and nasturtium.

Fireside snacks are also available for $110 in the restaurant bar or the rotunda. It’s a series of small bites to be enjoyed while relaxing beside the fire with a cocktail or glass of wine.

Smyth | Chicago

Smyth lounge snacksSmyth lounge snacks — Photo courtesy of Galdones Photography

Tasting menu options at Smyth range from the very reasonable entry-level 7-course menu for $95, to the 18-course extravaganza dubbed “Omaha” for $225. You can also opt for an abbreviated Smyth lounge tasting menu ($70) that includes both sweet and savory bites like oysters on the half shell, seaweed caramel tarts, sea lettuce cookies and black carrot licorice.

It may not be enough for a full dinner, but if you’re still hungry, go downstairs to sister restaurant The Loyalist for foie gras èclairs and a cheeseburger that locals deem the best in the city.

Sushi Taro | Washington

Sushi Taro in D.C.‘s Dupont Circle is both formal and authentic, frequented by the Embassy of Japan. Dinner at the omakase counter averages around $180 per person, but there are a couple of more affordable ways to try kaiseki and sushi specialties by chefs Nobu Yamazaki and Masaya Kitayama.

At lunch, a daily bento with two small dishes and soup runs for less than $20. Plus, weekdays at the 11-seat bar, there’s half-price sushi and alcoholic beverages for happy hour from 5:30 pm – 7 pm.

Waku Ghin | Singapore

In Singapore, two-star Michelin Waku Ghin has a separate bar menu featuring an extensive selection of wine, craft cocktails and sake, including the restaurant‘s own Isojiman Junmai Daiginjo M label.

A la carte dishes like the katsu burger ($20 SGD), aburi Tasmanian ocean trout ($29 SGD), and spaghetti with lobster, tomato and chili ($26 SGD) offer a more casual taste of chef Tetsuya Wakuda’s food. There’s also a $35 dessert tasting menu featuring two plated desserts and petit fours.

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