There is a host of classic old-fashioned food consumed in the AMC hit series, “Mad Men”: Beef Wellington, shrimp cocktail, and Waldorf salad to name a few. And of course “Mad Men” wouldn’t be complete without booze — lots of mind-numbing liquor to distract you from the crude comments from chauvinists-slash-ad-execs, secret love affairs and broken marriages. While the 1960s and 70s perhaps offered little in the way of innovation and creativity when it came to new cuisine, wouldn’t it still be lovely to go back to a simpler time of rib eye steaks and a Tom Collins or two?
Well this is your week! From March 23-29, you can relive this classic era with the help of participating NYC restaurants in the Mad Men Dining Week. Step back in time, and dine at some of the oldest and classiest joints this city has to offer — all-the while pretending you, too, belong to the glitzy world that was 60s NYC.
All participating restaurants are offering a two-course lunch from a prix-fix menu for $19.69 and/or two “Mad Men”-inspired cocktails for the same price. But before you get your frilly rompers in a tizzy over all the food/drink/Don Draper-eque madness, check out our list of NYC hotspots where you’re bound to get the best “Mad Men” fare. Get ready to party like it’s 1969, y’all.
We all know Megan’s signature meal is the French dish Coq Au Vin. If Don could ever take a hint, he would have surprised her for a fancy night on the town at this New York staple for fabulous French fare, Le Cirque in Midtown East. Slip into a flirty get-up like Megan’s dress when she serenaded Don with “Zou Bisou Bisou”, and try Le Cirque’s Soup du Jour “à la Mad Man”,followed by Poulet à la Royale (king-style chicken in puff pastry), and end with a sweet Ile Flottante. Then, go out and take on the town with a man who, you know, isn’t cheating on you in every other scene.
Check out the full Le Cirque Mad Men Dining Week prix-fixe menu.
Remember when Lane Price and Pete Campbelle went at it in season four? It may have been one of the most timid looking fist fights in history, but Lane went out with a bang when he socked Pete in the face once and for all. Somehow the men found a way to patch it up in the end, and we can only imagine them dragging themselves into a late-night spot to reconcile things over one of the most rectifying foods known to man: the burger. Arlington Club’s deluxe Arlington Burger Club Burger (say that three times fast) is an ode to all the rough-housing, Mad Men themselves, and comes complete with cheddar cheese from upstate, pepper-crusted bacon, and BBQ sauce. Then numb your pain and sorrows with Banana Cream pie, with a side of rum ice cream and gooey, hot vanilla fudge. Worth a punch in the face or two, we’d say.
Check out the full Arlington Club Mad Men Dining Week prix-fixe menu.
When Betty and Don dropped everything and jetted to Rome in season three, they dined at a picturesque outdoor cafe that included all the essentials of a 1960s Italian meal, including ridiculously long bread sticks that were perhaps just an inch or so shorter than Betty’s beehive. You can spend the afternoon at Barbetta in Times Square for a similar traditional Italian atmosphere (role-playing Betty and Don style is optional, but recommended). Try classics like Penne alla Bolognese, Minestrone Giardiniera, and Bue Barolo (beef braised in red wine with polenta).
Check out the full Barbetta Mad Men Dining Week prix-fixe menu.
Carnegie Deli & Restaurant
Didn’t that pastrami sandwich in season seven “Time Zones” look A-mazing? To quote Pete:
“Its pastrami with coleslaw right on the sandwich.”
And that, my friends, is the Brooklyn Avenue. If your mouth was watering in that scene, then you should definitely run down to Carnegie Deli & Restaurant in Midtown West for their famous pastrami or corned beef, made the same way since 1937. For dessert, cleanse the palate with The Classic Plain Cheesecake. You won’t get any closer to 1960s and 70s-style artery-clogging diner food than here—and yes, it will be everything you imagined it to be.
Check out the full Carnegie Deli & Restaurant Mad Men Dining Week prix-fixe menu.
Cocktail Roundup by Characters
And just in case you’re still struggling with your choices, you can comfort yourself in some boozy beverages just like your “Mad Men” spirit animal. Here’s
- If you are a Peggy: A combination of headstrong, sweet, and packing a lot of punch, try Delmonico’s (conveniently named) The Peggy. Includes creme de cacao, heavy cream, brandy, nutmeg, and an orange twist. Sweet with a punch.
- If you’re more of a Joan: Radiating self-confidence and proficiency, relax at Benjamin Steakhouse and sip on the crimson punch. It’s got purity vodka, lemon juice, cranberry juice, raspberries, and Chambord — fabulous and fierce, just like you.
- Maybe you’re a Meghan: dazzlingly witty and talented French dame. In this case, head to Brasserie for a French 75. This cocktail has sparkling wine, Bombay, gin, and a splash of lemon bitters. Classic and chic at every step.
- Fancy yourself a Roger: Got fantastic charisma and old-school charm? Stop in at Blue Water Grill for a Mad Vesper. This is simply Skyy Vodka, Beefeater gin, and lillet. Smooth, but never too sweet—just like the man himself.
- If you’re just Betty and Don together: Call them the quintessential 1960s couple, they were outwardly perfection and class (er, even if they had other issues…) Empire Steakhouse has an appreciation of the couples of yesteryear, mixing up Betty’s and Don’s go-to poisons: Tom Collins and an Old Fashioned. Don’t worry about what happens later, enjoy the moment now—because it is oh-so-good.
Remember: Mad Men Dining Week lasts through Sunday, March 29. So go on, spend an afternoon reveling in the glamour of old New York; the one of white gloves, vintage Stetson hats, and never absent of a cocktail. Next week you can get back to work.