Recession Spending Habits; High-end Value Meals

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Craft's private dining room reborn as Damon: Frugal Friday. Photo: Hannah Whitaker

In the magazine this week, New York spoke to restaurateurs and bar owners to see how they’re faring during the recession. The owner of the Empire Deli & Grocery in Forest Hills says that people are buying only staples, while the co-owners of the Grocery in Cobble Hill find that reservations are down, but walk-ins are up. The Underground Gourmet visits Damon: Frugal Friday at Craft and the Tuesday-night dinner at Beer Table, where the three-course meal is “one of the best values in town any night of the week.” In openings, Rob and Robin highlight West Village pizza spot Spunto, and Butcher’s Bay, the anticipated seafood restaurant in the East Village. Don’t despair over a lack of seasonal vegetables — the Robs found dried beans, good frozen produce, and even junk food for vegans. For your Valentine’s Day dinner, try Kyoto’s chocolate soufflé cupcakes — we’ve got the recipe. If you want to upgrade from a Whitman’s Sampler, the Robs have a few suggestions for local chocolatiers. Finally, vary the dreaded Valentine’s prix fixe with a pintxos special at Txikito.