Restaurant Week, which runs from Aug. 15 to 21, can be kind of crazy. But lunch can be a good time to snag a deal -- $22 for at least three courses, compared to $35 for dinner -- without as big a crowd. After all, who wouldn't like an excuse to get away from eating at your desk? Plus, some restaurants are only doing Restaurant Week specials for lunch. Here are five menus that shouldn't be missed.

The fried chicken at Central Michel Richard is a thing of beauty, and it's great that the restaurant is including this signature dish in its Restaurant Week menu. The deal is especially compelling because of the price: During regular lunch, the dish costs $24.50, but the $22 Restaurant Week menu gets you not only the entree, but also an appetizer and dessert. Score. 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202-626-0015.

Neighborhood Restaurant Group's charming dining room in Dupont Circle is only offering Restaurant Week specials during lunch and weekend brunch. (If you do brunch, don't miss out on the yeast doughnuts with orange blossom syrup.) At lunch, you'll get your choice of four dishes from a list of 12 to 14 sweet and savory options, including a raw corn salad, burrata with stone fruit and eggplant involtini. 1734 N St. NW. 202-524-5202.

There's no need to scramble for a reservation at this new pizza spot from Philadelphia chef and restaurateur Marc Vetri, because it doesn't even take them. Your lunch, now served Monday through Friday, will include, of course, a pizza, plus a salad and dessert. The fried pizza dough with citrus fennel sugar and Nutella is calling your name. 2221 14th St. NW. 202-794-9057.

Rasika West End and its Penn Quarter sibling are only participating in Restaurant Week for lunch. Reservations for Penn Quarter are all gone, but as of publication time, you could still snag a table for the West End restaurant at 2:15 p.m. on Aug. 16 through 18. So, a late lunch, yes, but who cares what time of day it is if you'll get to eat such dishes as chef Vikram Sunderam's palak chaat, tandoori salmon or vegetable thali. 1190 New Hampshire Ave. NW. 202-466-2500.

This oldie-but-goodie in the José Andrés portfolio never fails to please. For lunch at the sunny Mediterranean spot, you'll get not three, but four dishes. Some favorites are on the Restaurant Week menu, including the crispy Brussels sprouts, falafel and Greek yogurt with apricots701 Ninth St. NW. 202-638-0800.

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Pizzeria Vetri only serves lunch Friday through Sunday. Effective Aug. 8, it now serves lunch daily.

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