Build your own three-course dinner and save over Restaurant Week

Most complaints about Restaurant Week target the crowds and limited menus, but another reason to scrutinize the twice-yearly event is this: $35.14 isn't always a great deal for dinner, especially in this day of small plates and shared appetizers. (Hint: The $20.14 lunches are the way to go.) $35.14 doesn't cover your drinks, tax or tip, either.

To prove the point, these build-your-own three-course meals from a variety of local restaurants will cost you less than a Restaurant Week "deal." Delicious irony: Some of these restaurants are participating in Restaurant Week, and it's still cheaper to go this way.

Toki Hakata Classic ramen with homemade endorphin sauce (Dakota Fine/For The Washington Post).

Doi Moi
Appetizer: Crispy pork and shrimp rolls, $10.
Entree: Stir-fried curried blue crab, $15.
Dessert: Soft-serve mango and sweet yam ice cream, $6.
Total: $31
You save: $4.14
-- Fritz Hahn

Appetizer: Chips and guacamole with green tomatillo and serrano chili peppers, $13.50.
Entree: Three seared fish tacos, $12.
Dessert: Rum-soaked tres leches cake, $7.50.
Total: $33.00
You save: $2.14
-- Margaret Ely

Appetizer: Fried pickled herring, $9.
Entree: Swedish meatballs with parsley mashed potatoes and lingonberry preserves, $16.50.
Dessert: Swedish almond cake, $6.
Total: $31.50
You save: $3.64
-- Maura Judkis

Red Hen
Appetizer: Smoked ricotta crostini, $6.
*Entree: Lamb meatballs with garganelli, tomato and smoked mozzarella, $16.
Dessert: Pecan tart with maple gelato, $8.
Total: $30
You save: $5
-- Alex Baldinger

Bombay Club
Appetizer: Bombay sev puri, $7.
Entree: Paneer makhni, $13.50.
Dessert: Mango creme brûlée, $8.
Total: $28.50
You save: $6.64
-- Stephanie Merry

Appetizer: Smoked beets with sheep’s milk ricotta, $7.
Entree 1: Roasted cauliflower, $7.
Entree 2: Roasted tomato agnolotti with smoked creme fraiche, $12.
Dessert: Chocolate budino, $8.
Total: $34
You save: $1.14
-- Lavanya Ramanathan

Toki Underground
Appetizer: Seasonal veggie dumplings, $5.
Entree: Toki Classic ramen with extra noodles, soft egg and endorphin sauce, $16.
Dessert: Warm cookies and milk, $7.
Total: $28
You save: $7.14
-- Fritz Hahn

Busboys and Poets
Appetizer: Hummus with pita bread, $6.
Entree: Blackened salmon with lemon butter sauce, wild rice and asparagus, $19.
Dessert: Flourless chocolate cake, $7.
Total: $32.00
You save: $3.14
-- Margaret Ely

* Dish was originally served with polenta and fresh basil for $15.

Fritz Hahn has covered bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.



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Fritz Hahn · January 15, 2014