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Charlotte’s Restaurant Week on the way

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The website is live for the next Charlotte Restaurant Week, which runs the usual 10 days, Jan. 17-26.

That means you can check out the special dinner menus offered by 117 area restaurants in the $30 deal, which encompasses three courses (occasionally more), but not tax or tip. Most take reservations online through the site.

A glance at the lineup yields the following nuggets:

• Uptown is the most-represented geographic region, with nearly 30 restaurants participating (only five of them are in the EpiCentre). Cotswold and NoDa have just one each.

• For the I-want-a-deal people, check out the upscale national steak chains and Chima, the uptown churrascaria (a Brazilian style of all-you-can-eat skewered meats, plus an extensive salad lineup and cold foods), which usually costs $52.50 per person.

• Looking for an extra course? See Alton’s, Bistro La Bon, Blackfinn, Cafe Monte (the add-on is cheese/charcuterie!), City Tavern, Fern, Fitzgerald’s Pub, Malabar, Paco’s, Terrace Cafe, Trio, Village Tavern and Waldhorn.

• For the I-want-to-see-the-place’s-real-heart, try Dressler’s (blackened heart of rib-eye), Dolce (gnocchi), New South (sweet-tea-brined pork loin), Tanner’s Bistro (seven-spice hanger steak, wasabi mash), Georges (boeuf bourguignon) and AZN (tempura-fried cheesecake. No, really.).

• For the I-want-to-take-a-chance-on-a-cuisine-that-usually-scares-me, check out Maharani and Copper (Indian), Nikko (sushi) or the Prickly Pear (modern Mexican, complete with cactus).

• If you’re seeking the entertainingly odd or unusual, you might try Hot Stone Grill, with its mains served on sizzling volcanic rocks at 400-plus degrees, or the “local bison short ribs borscht” at Savannah Red.

• As always, keep an eye on steak weights (they’re not all the same), and the number of choices offered (yay, Aria; boo, Arooji’s).

• Three reminders for diners: Tip on what you would have spent without the deal, plan to be a little patient during rush times, and remember to cancel reservations you can’t honor (that will help the places that overbook on these weeks to stop doing that). And just one for staffs: You want diners to come back, right? Treat them that way, even when it’s crazy and even if they’re bloviating psychos. Your other diners (the ones who actually matter) will notice.

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