The Merrimack Valley has dozens of beautiful, delicious restaurants. And in the next two weeks, we might be able to afford a few of the nicer ones.
Twenty-three restaurants in the area will participate in the 4th annual Restaurant Showcase Week, presented by the Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau in conjunction with the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce and the Lexington Chamber of Commerce.
"Restaurant Week is a great opportunity for people to try a new restaurant or a new flair of cuisine while receiving a great value," said Deb Belanger, executive director of the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
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"We're excited because it's our first year being involved and we love any opportunity to collaborate with other organizations, as it strengthens what we can offer our members," said Danielle McFadden, president and CEO of the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce.
Restaurant Showcase Week actually lasts two weeks, from Sunday, Aug. 18, to Sunday, Sept. 1. Local eateries will offer a specific menu catered to give diners a chance to try signature dishes at a lower cost.
"Having a two-week event really allows for diners to visit as many restaurants as they would like to and gives our restaurants a chance to capture more exposure," said Belanger.
Restaurants will offer a two-course lunch from $9.13 to $15.
"It's fresh, local, delicious, and great for sharing -- we're a tapas-themed restaurant so we're all about that," said Tiffani Natinsky, executive chef at Moonstones.
For Tom Dang, executive chef at Pho Dalat Restaurant in Lowell, Restaurant Showcase Week is all about introducing the public to some of your most well-known and popular dishes, like the fresh spring rolls that are packed with chicken, pork or shrimp.
"The spring rolls are a really popular dish in our restaurant, so we'll serve them so people realize what we're all about," said Dang.
Restaurant Showcase Week was originally conceived to help drive business to the area's restaurants during some of the slower months. Some restaurants, like Clark's at the Westford Regency, will have some of their best summer specials out for Restaurant Showcase Week. Jim Glen, executive chef at Clark's, said the restaurant's sautéed swordfish and scallop picatta is a summer favorite.
"This dish goes well in the summertime -- the scallops are so nice and sweet with our light butter sauce when you have it in the summer," said Jim Glen, executive chef at Clark's at the Westford Regency.
Others, like Ricardo's Cafe Trattoria in Lowell, have fun options like Veal Alla Sydney, which chef Colin Rourke named after his daughter, a budding 6-year-old chef.
"It's sautéed veal scallotini," said Rourke. "She's good at making pizzas, but she can't make that yet."
For more information on Restaurant Showcase Week, visit www.merrimackvalley.org.
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