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A nutritionist’s guide to Restaurant Week 2011

restaurant weekNext week marks the beginning of another New York City Restaurant Week, that gastronomic gorge fest that slims our wallets and fattens our waistlines by encouraging us to order three courses at a discount, when normally we probably would have stuck to one.

We asked Dr. Brooke Kalanick, a nutrition and weight-loss expert and a naturopathic doctor, to help us evaluate the menus of the participating restaurants and determine the healthiest. Here are her picks and a tip: Be prepared for lots of free-range chicken and fish.

Rouge Tomate
Lunch, Dinner
This Slow Food-approved hot spot that uses locally sourced, organic ingredients is Dr. Brooke’s first choice. They haven’t posted their Restaurant Week menu yet (because it will be based on what’s available at the market that week, says a spokesperson). But there are sure to be fabulous vegetarian choices similar to their regular fare. “They support the  local food supply, and the menu is loaded with vegetables!” says Dr. Brooke. “There are lots of fish options as well. It would be easy to order a variety of fish and veggie combinations.”

Dr. Brooke Kalanick
Dr. Brooke Kalanick

Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant Week Menu
Arabelle, on the Upper East Side, “not only supports local food supply, but has organic chicken and loads of fresh herbs are used. Herbs add so much flavor without adding more salt,” explains Dr. Brooke. “Roasted root vegetables, free range chicken, and carmelized crab apple sounds like a perfect meal!”

Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Dinner
Restaurant Week Menu
This popular Mediterranean bistro near Union Square offers similar menu options to Arabelle. But the choices that seem healthy aren’t always what you should order. “Steer clear of the swordfish as it’s known to have high mercury levels,” says Dr. Brooke. “I love that Barbounia is serving free-range chicken.”

10 Downing Food and Wine
Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Lunch
Restaurant Week Menu
If you’re not likely to be headed uptown anytime soon, this West Village star could make for a mostly-healthy meal. “There’s nothing organic or local that I can see,” says Dr. Brooke. “But there’s a selection of protein-based entrees that don’t look too reliant on butter that could be a good choice.” —Lisa Elaine Held

New York City Restaurant Week (Winter 2011) is January 24th through February 6th. 3 Courses, Lunch $24.07, Dinner $35. Make your reservation here.