Continental’s Restaurant Week could increase revenue

On its face, Continental Airlines’ participation in International Restaurant Week seems like just another promotion. Think harder, though, and you’ll see that it’s really a way for the airline to bring in a little extra cash. Since passengers with a bit of extra girth may be charged for an extra seat, it only makes sense to fatten up fliers and reap the rewards.

A dozen New York restaurants are participating in 2009 International Restaurant week this year, which stretches from today to May 10, 2009. Continental chose these restaurants because they replicate the cuisine from some of the airline’s top destinations. A first, each restaurant will create a signature dish, and diners can rate the offerings (by May 10), with the winning restaurant netting $25,000 for the charity of its choice.

“We are thrilled to have Chef Tom Colicchio as our judge for this year’s Signature Dish contest and look forward to tasting the winning dish,” says Mark Bergsrud, Continental’s senior vice president marketing programs and distribution. He continues, “While we certainly love bringing New Yorkers to each of our international destinations to experience exquisite cuisine first-hand, we’re excited to offer International Restaurant Week and create authentic dining experiences for our customers that don’t require a plane ticket.”

Guests can use the Continental Airlines International Restaurant Week website to make restaurant reservations and take advantage of special offers.

Participating restaurants and details are after the jump.

Alfama (Portugal) – Diners will experience an authentic 4-course meal, ending with a glass of port from Alfama’s extensive collection, included with the meal. They’ll also take home a box of Pasteis de nata, traditional Portuguese custard cakes.

Allen & Delancey (United Kingdom) – After enjoying Chef Kyle Bailey’s 5-course meal and specially designed signature dish, guests will be able to recreate the experience with Chef’s signature dish recipe and a package of couscous.

Avra (Greece) – For a truly personalized experience, a manager will help design a menu for each reservation, providing insight into the menu and wine pairings. Guests will take home some Greek delicacies chosen by the Avra team.

Boqueria (Spain) – While there, diners will get to know Chef Seamus Mullen as they enjoy his specially designed shared tasting menus – for lunch or dinner. Each diner will receive a complimentary bag of house-made candied Marcona almonds.

China Grill (China) – Guests will enjoy an exclusive 5-course tasting menu created by Chef Jamie Knott, with a specially paired cocktail included in the meal. Each diner will also take home a box of delicious ginger and almond cookies.

Delmonico’s (United States) – After enjoying an exclusively designed menu featuring Delmonico’s most famous dishes, diners will take a personal tour of the restaurant, a National Historic Landmark, and take home a complimentary signed copy of the cookbook Dining at Delmonico’s.

Del Posto (Italy) – Diners will be invited to tour Del Posto’s extensive wine cellar and bring a taste of the restaurant home with a special gift bag filled with the chef’s favorite Italian delicacies.

L’Ecole (France) – Guests will begin the evening with a behind the scenes look at L’Ecole’s teaching kitchens. After, they’ll indulge in a unique dessert and cocktail featuring rare Grapefruit Thai Basil Tea, included with the meal. Diners will take home a sample of the exotic tea along with the recipe, to recreate the experience at home.

Maya (Mexico) – Chef Sandoval offers a uniquely designed 3-course Cinco de Mayo menu with special beverage pairings. Diners will be gifted with a complimentary signed copy of his cookbook Modern Mexican Flavors.

Nobu (Japan) – Nobu’s talented chefs will kick start the meal with a complimentary Chef’s Selection Amuse-Gueule. Diners will finish on a sweet note too, with a signature fruit sake or shochu, included with the meal.

Plataforma (Brazil) – Guests will go behind the scenes on a tour of the kitchen with one of Plataforma’s Master Carvers. Every table will be gifted a complimentary caipirinha making kit to bring home a taste of this traditional Brazilian cocktail.

Tabla (India) – Guests will be invited to take a personally guided tour of Tabla’s kitchen. After savoring an exclusively designed 4-course prix fixe menu with an optional wine pairing to match, they’ll take home one of Pastry Chef Melissa Walnock’s uniquely designed desserts, packaged along with the recipe.