As the coronavirus pandemic forces many restaurants to shut down their dine-in services, the usual Downtown buzz that comes with Binghamton’s biannual Restaurant Week will be absent this spring. While it’s still possible to support your favorite spots by indulging in takeout a few times a week, students — especially those facing economic challenges — will likely be cooking most of their meals at home now that their schedules have drastically changed. As you hone your skills while staying indoors, savor the flavors of Restaurant Weeks past with Pipe Dream’s curated list of recipes inspired by last spring’s culinary highlights.
The River Bistro
The River Bistro offered a number of limited-time only dishes for last spring’s Restaurant Week, including an apple, gorgonzola and pistachio flatbread. If you’re up to the challenge of making a flatbread at home, this apple brie pizza or vegan apple pizza capture the same balance between fruity, crunchy and savory. If you’re feeling a little lazier, this salad employs the same main ingredients as the original River Bistro dish. Last spring, River Bistro also served an India pale ale-infused coleslaw as a side dish for its South Carolina ribs. If you’re feeling daring, give this beer coleslaw recipe a try; it could be a hit at future barbecues.
While you might not be able to drag your parents there this year for an expensive graduation dinner, you can pay homage to one of Number 5’s trademarks: its constant rotation of flavored butters. Last year’s Restaurant Week, for example, saw the steakhouse pairing its sourdough with a cherry chocolate butter. If you’re looking for something similarly sweet, spice up your morning toast with this cinnamon-vanilla honey butter recipe, or welcome spring with this strawberry butter recipe. You can also get creative with savory flavors like garlic herb, chipotle lime or spring pea with shallot and lemon.
South City Publick House
South City Publick House shone in spring 2019 with its Hawaiian Burger, a limited-time only creation that paired a jerk-spiced burger with pineapple and arugula. As the weather gets warmer, you can recreate it by firing up the grill and following this recipe, or this vegan alternative. If burgers aren’t your style, you can opt instead for this salad, which also incorporates pineapple and arugula. Add some spicy baked tofu for a twist that brings the flavor profile closer to the original burger’s.
The Colonial’s Restaurant Week options usually stick pretty close to the restaurant’s regular menu, but last year’s spring menu offered a unique seasonal treat — a mint chocolate shamrock shake, booze optional. While St. Patrick’s Day is long over, you can recreate the magic at home with this copycat recipe, based on the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, or a shamrock smoothie if you’re looking for something healthier. If you don’t have a blender, try this shamrock sundae or this Baileys mint martini, an ultra-festive cocktail to keep in your back pocket for next year’s festivities.
Lost Dog Cafe
Lost Dog Cafe brought its characteristically offbeat eye for desserts to last spring’s Restaurant Week, offering a PB&J cupcake alongside some more conventional choices. Lost Dog’s version marries a basic vanilla cupcake with peanut butter frosting and strawberry jam filling, similarly to this recipe. If a recipe involving filling seems too complicated, try this one, which places both the peanut butter and the jelly on top of the cupcake, or this peanut butter and jelly cookie recipe.
Social on State
Social on State, known for its unique tapas plates, brought some especially quirky offerings to Restaurant Week in spring 2019. Emulate last year’s beet tartare — an intricate assemblage of beet chunks, mango puree, salad greens and ricotta — with a simpler beet salad. This recipe features the classic combination of beets, creamy cheese and citrus, calling for a lemon vinaigrette that might evoke the tartare’s lemon-honey glaze. Social on State’s spring 2019 dessert menu was even more daring than its dinner menu, offering a choice between a smoky s’more-inspired chocolate mousse and a dish consisting of burrata cheese and basil ice cream in a sauce of roasted strawberries and red wine. Recreating either would probably be a challenge, so if you’re more of an amateur chef, you can opt instead for these s’more cookies. If the idea of savory ice cream intrigues you, this springy strawberry rhubarb ice cream topping features a balsamic and bourbon sauce.