I don't think anyone doubted that Tim Maslow's second act would be delicious, inventive, and fun, but I do think people doubted that Ribelle, his anything-but-conventional Italian spot that took over the shuttered Washington Square Tamarind Bay space in August, would qualify as a "neighborhood restaurant." I know I did. The menu looked great, but not cheap.
Maybe that's why about a month ago the Ribelle team decided to do their version of an early-bird special: "3 for $30 before 6:30." That's still not a cheap night out, but it's a darn good deal for what you get, and you won't leave feeling hungry or skimped on. Ribelle's deal is one of the best around among upper-scale restaurants running similar special menus—and notably this arrangement comes with a lot of freedom. Not only are there a number of choices in each menu category, but you're welcome to order one, two, or all three courses from the same category. So, let's say you love pasta more than anything else and always wish you could order more noodles instead of dessert—this is your jam.
The other obvious benefit: if you go in with a date—or two or four—you can sample quite a bit of the menu. (You can also supplement the deal with anything off the larger à la carte menu.)