Russian Tea Room Featuring Private Tours During Restaurant Week

Russian Tea Room Russian Tea Room Featuring Private Tours During Restaurant WeekAs if New York City Restaurant Week Winter 2010‘s terrific prices aren’t incentive enough to dine out at many of Manhattan’s classic restaurants, the fabled Russian Tea Room is offering up guided tours of the restaurant’s restored-yet-infrequently-viewed upper floors. Normally open only for private events, the 30-minute tour will highlight the lavish (and oftentimes unusual) décor, which includes a bear fish tank, bear chandeliers (Are you sensing a theme here?), and an automated diorama of the Kremlin. All things you don’t see every day. Or most days, really.

Take advantage of your opportunity to see these unique fruits of restaurateur Warner LeRoy’s labors before his death in 2001. New York City Restaurant Week Winter 2010 runs through February 7, 2010. The Russian Tea Room does not offer its Restaurant Week menus or tours on Saturdays and Sundays.

Has an OpenTable Mobile App Saved Your Day (or Dinner)?

iPhone App Has an OpenTable Mobile App Saved Your Day (or Dinner)?Calling all OpenTable diners! Has one of our smartphone mobile applications helped you book a table at the very last minute? Did you avoid a long wait by whipping out your iPhone and booking a table on the fly? Ever sail past the hungry masses at a restaurant’s bar thanks to some quick thinking and our Blackberry app? Has the Android app helped you save face with a loved one who (correctly!) thought you’d forgotten to make a reservation for a special occasion?

We want to hear your stories about how OpenTable’s mobile applications have helped you. Tell your true tales here in our comments section, over on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Sundance Film Festival 2010: Spotlight on Park City Dining

Best Restaurants in Park City Sundance Film Festival 2010: Spotlight on Park City DiningThe 27th Annual Sundance Film Festival starts tomorrow and runs through January 31. In addition to being known for celebrities, skiing, snowboarding, and swag, the Sundance Film Festival attracts independent film fans from around the world. Park City, a tiny resort town in Utah, is normally home to fewer than 10,000 people, but its numbers can swell to almost 55,000 during the festival each year. What this means for diners is that most restaurants are swelling with hungry patrons.

To increase your chances of filling up on good food while you get your fill of indie films, book your reservations today. Popular restaurants include Bistro Toujours, Chez Betty, The Glitretind Restaurant, Goldener Hirsch, Ruth’s Chris, Zoom, and many others.

You can also book on the fly using OpenTable Mobile to make sure you don’t get left out in the cold at Sundance.

How to Help Haiti: Dine and Donate During ‘Wake of the Quake’

Wake of the Quake1 How to Help Haiti: Dine and Donate During Wake of the QuakeDiners in the Chicago area are invited to join us as we empower Heartland Alliance to help the survivors of the recent earthquake in Haiti through Wake of the Quake. A Chicago non-profit organization which advances the human rights and responds to the human needs of endangered populations—particularly the poor, the isolated, and the displaced, Heartland Alliance will use the funds collected from Wake of the Quake participating restaurants to make a difference in the lives of the people of Haiti.

From January 18-24, 2010, each participating restaurant will offer their patrons the opportunity to contribute to Haitian relief efforts by adding $1 (or more!) to their check. Help Heartland Alliance and Haiti by opening your hearts and wallets often.

Learn more and reserve your tables today, and stay tuned for opportunities to donate while you dine out in other cities across the U.S.

Winter Restaurant Weeks Are Here!

Winter Restaurant Week 2010 Winter Restaurant Weeks Are Here!Does the arctic chill that’s blanketed much of our nation have you down? We’ve got some heartwarming and stomach-filling news: Winter Restaurant Weeks have finally arrived.

Washington, D.C. Winter Restaurant Week 2010 is in full effect along with Restaurant Week South Carolina. New York Restaurant Week is about to begin, as are Baltimore, Philadelphia Center City District, San Diego, and Queen’s Feast/Charlotte Restaurant Week.

Book your tables today, and beat the winter blues with dining deals that will satisfy your appetite and your bank account. And, naturally, stay tuned for more Winter Restaurant Weeks coming to a city near you.

The Washington Post Recommends D.C. Restaurant Week!

If you still haven’t booked your Washington, D.C. Winter Restaurant Week reservations, don’t delay. Prime dining times are going fast, but there is still availability. And, if you’re willing to dine during off-hours, you’ll find a few more open tables at some of the hottest restaurants in town.

The Washington Post recommends trying 2941, Bibiana, J&G Steakhouse, RIS, and Urbana. Find out why, and then make your reservations before you run out of time to dine out at deep discounts.

San Francisco Dine About Town 2010: Just About Here!

SF Dine About Town Winter 2010 San Francisco Dine About Town 2010: Just About Here!San Franciscans, rejoice! Dine About Town returns on January 15. For more than two wondrous weeks, you can take advantage of tasty two-course lunches for $17.95 and three-course dinners for $34.95.

Participating restaurants include 1550 Hyde Cafe & Wine Bar, a neighborhood gem with an impressive wine list, Fish & Farm, which features, naturally, farm-to-table food and, according to 7×7.com, San Francisco’s best burger, The Mission’s Maverick, serving up comfort food with a California twist, Rose Pistola, where you can enjoy live jazz while you eat rustic Italian fare that is anything but touristy, and Fifth Floor, for a Michelin-starred meal for under $35.

Dine About Town runs until January, 31, 2010. Reserve today!

Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week Starts Monday

DC Restaurant Week Winter 2010 Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week Starts MondayWashington, D.C. Winter Restaurant Week begins Monday, January 11, 2010, and runs until the 17th. Presented by Destination DC and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, diners can take advantage of $20.10 three-course lunches and $35.10 for three-course dinners.

In its 16th year, participating restaurants include Alain Ducasse’s Adour at the St. Regis, The Palm, Sam & Harry’s, VOLT (owned by “Top Chef” contestant Bryan Voltaggio), Zaytinya, and many, many more.

This and other restaurant weeks are terrific opportunities to try out new restaurants and revisit old favorites. Tables fill up fast, so book your free reservations today for this year’s Washington, D.C. Winter Restaurant Week today!

Harold Dieterle: An Interview with the Original “Top Chef”

Harold Dieterle Perilla Harold Dieterle: An Interview with the Original Top ChefAfter each season of “Top Chef” ends, you may wonder what happened to your favorite contestants. Did they go on to set the world on fire, literally and figuratively, with their cooking, opening a restaurant or scoring a spot on a cooking show? Have they returned to working behind the line at a restaurant, honing their skills and saving money for a place of their own? Or have they slipped into obscurity?

You won’t find the most successful winner, to date, of “Top Chef” on television (save for the occasional appearance). You will find him behind the line at his Greenwich Village restaurant, Perilla, which he co-owns and operates with Alicia Nosenzo. He is, in his own words, living the dream. ” Opening Perilla was my life-long dream. I enjoy the day-to-day routine – and cooking!” In contrast to some cooking-show contestants who immediately seek to build themselves into a brand, Dieterle says, “That’s just not me. I enjoy being in the kitchen every day and the instant gratification that comes with making guests at Perilla happy on a regular basis.”

Following his “Top Chef” win, he says, “I went back to working at The Harrison.” Nosenzo, Deiterle’s coworker there, went on to become his business partner. Together, they raised money and created a shared vision for “a neighborhood restaurant” they would name Perilla, which opened in May of 2007. Dieterle credits much of the restaurant’s continued success to Nosenzo, saying, “I can’t stress how important it is to have a partner. Alicia is definitely the backbone and brains of the operation. She allows me to spend all day in the kitchen cooking and doing what I love. I wouldn’t know where to begin training and hiring front-of-house personnel. She also handles all of our books and financials. She makes my life easy!”

Fortunate to avoid the pitfalls that have plagued many reality-show winners, Dieterle says, “I’ve seen people that just blow through their winnings in months. You can do food festivals every month of the year, but this doesn’t pay the bills and it’s not sustainable.” He advises future “Top Chef” cast members, “Have a game plan going into the contest, and don’t let the hype throw you off the track.” For those who don’t win but still want to capitalize on the experience, Dieterle says, “Keep your head down, and use the exposure to build your career.”

Five seasons after his “Top Chef” experience, which Dieterle admits was “tough! It looks so much easier when you’re sitting in front of the TV watching it, as opposed to living it,” he is pleased with where his career and his win have led him. “It’s nice to be the boss and cook whatever I’m in the mood to serve.”

Perilla is open seven days a week for dinner and for brunch on weekends. According to Chef Dieterle, you’ll always find duck on the menu. “It’s my favorite protein,” he reveals.

Dining Trends of the Last Decade: Michael Bauer Looks Back

salumi Dining Trends of the Last Decade: Michael Bauer Looks BackWhenever a year — or a decade — ends, a lot of people tend to talk about bests and worsts. Michael Bauer, the food and restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, has chosen to simply talk about what was most memorable. In his round-up of trends that took hold during the aughts, he calls out 10, including salumi, small plates, and OpenTable. (Thanks for the nod, Mr. Bauer!) Find out what else this writer will remember, and let us know what you’ll never forget about the previous decade in dining and food.