Restaurant Week: Not A Great Deal For All 04:56

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A restaurant table setting. (vestman/Flickr)
A restaurant table setting. (vestman/Flickr)

"Some of Boston's finest dining at affordable prices."

That's how the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau promotes Restaurant Week, which runs through Friday. Every year, about 200 local restaurants offer prix-fixe menus at big discounts: a two course lunch for just $15.12, a three course dinner for $33.12.

After about 10 years of participating in Restaurant Week, Michael Leviton, the chef/owner of Lumiere in Newton, decided to bow out this year. His argument is that in order to create a three course meal at the set price, he must compromise the quality of his meals and buy lower quality ingredients that don't meet Lumiere's typical dining standards.

In a newsletter to diners, Leviton wrote:

For the past 13 years, it has been our mission to provide great food and great service at a reasonable price, while trying, in general, to do the right thing. What this means is all-encompassing. In addition to the food and service aspects of what we do, we want to do right by the environment and local economies, cooking in harmony with the seasons and supporting sustainable farmers, ranchers and fishermen and their practices. We want to do right by our employees, paying them a livable wage that allows us to sleep at night.

Over the years, though, it has become increasingly difficult for us to achieve those aims and still participate in Boston Restaurant Week. Ingredient costs, wages, healthcare and rent all continue to increase dramatically each year, while the three-course Restaurant Week prix fixe price increases just a penny per year. We have, therefore, decided to not participate in Restaurant Week this year.



This segment aired on August 29, 2012.