By Colleen Jurkiewicz Reporter Published Jun 10, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Oh, Downtown Dining Week. I love you in the worst way. You provide me with cheap, delicious food at beautiful restaurants and make me feel too good for my usual Aldi-purchased fare. And all too soon you go away, and then it’s another whole year before I even see steak again.

I’ve never been to Mason Street Grill before, so today I met my father there for lunch. I couldn’t get a reservation before 12:45 p.m. because it was so busy (make reservations!) and on the way there we passed equally populated Dining Week participants Zarletti and Metro. It’s nice to see people turning out for this event.

And really, for $10 lunch, how could you not? My usual sub at Cousin’s is, like, $5, and I don’t even sit down while I eat it. Downtown Dining Week is the perfect time to try some of these more upscale places; the portions aren’t very generous, (which makes me feel ripped off the rest of the year) but they’re definitely filling and for $10 can you really split hairs? I can’t (because, you know … Aldi food).

We started out with the chopped salad with eggs, cucumber, bacon, tomato and red onion, with delicious salt and vinegar bread on the side. The salad had a delightfully tangy dressing. For the entrée I chose the chopped steak with mashed potato, and the steak sauce was fantastic. We finished up with a decadent chocolate layer cake drizzled in what seemed to be a caramel topping (Jeff Sherman will be sad to know that there were no popsicles offered).

Just remember to tip based on the original value of your meal. Your servers are working just as hard, even if you’re paying less. In fact, they're probably working harder than usual, because every hungry cheapskate in the whole metro area has decided to descend on them in force.

Visit the website for more information on Downtown Dining Week and a full list of participating restaurants.

Colleen Jurkiewicz Reporter

Colleen Jurkiewicz is a Milwaukee native with a degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and she loves having a job where she learns something new about the Cream City every day. Her previous incarnations have included stints as a waitress, a barista, a writing tutor, a medical transcriptionist, a freelance journalist, and now this lovely gig at the best online magazine in Milwaukee.