STAMFORD — One dish brought customers into Cilantro Restaurant more than any other during last year’s Restaurant Weeks, and it’s back again this year.

A seared salmon served with cauliflower rice and cabbage slaw, with an avocado sauce, was a hit last season, said Monica Montoya, chef at the Latin fusion eatery. Since last year, however, Cilantro hasn’t had the salmon on its menu. But starting on Monday, it’ll be back, as part of a $28 three-course dinner that’ll last for two weeks.

The dish will be part of the special Summer Restaurant Weeks menu. The two-week event begins Monday and ends Sept. 1.

The event, which is put on by Stamford Downtown Special Services District and Stamford Tables, will feature 17 restaurants: Acuario Restaurant, Bar Rosso, Barcelona Restaurant & Wine Bar, Bedford Hall, Blackstones Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Cask Republic, Cilantro Restaurant, Columbus Park Trattoria, FISH Restaurant & Bar, Flinders Lane, Gaucho Steakhouse, Hudson Social, Kashi Sushi Lounge, Kouzina Greek Taverna & Bar, Quattro Pazzi, and Villa Italia Ristorante & Bar.

Jacqueline Wetenhall, director of retail development for DSSD , said this year’s event will look about the same as last year, with some new perks. People who dine out for Restaurant Weeks will get a coupon to use on a medium popcorn at the Avon Theatre with purchase of a ticket, and a one-day access pass to Chelsea Piers.

“It showcases what I love about downtown,” Wetenhall said. “It’s so eclectic. You can find anything you want.”

She said roughly 22,000 lunches and dinners are served over two weeks as part of the special promotion.

Participating restaurants

Stamford’s Summer Restaurant Weeks runs from Aug. 19 to Sept. 1.

Acuario Restaurant

Bar Rosso

Barcelona Restaurant & Wine Bar

Bedford Hall

Blackstones Steakhouse

The Capital Grille

Cask Republic

Cilantro Restaurant

Columbus Park Trattoria

FISH Restaurant & Bar

Flinders Lane

Gaucho Steakhouse

Hudson Social

Kashi Sushi Lounge

Kouzina Greek Taverna & Bar

Quattro Pazzi

Villa Italia Ristorante & Bar

“I think the restaurants put a lot of thought into menus,” she said, adding some will add a complementary glass of wine or other treats. “It’s a great value and a great time to try new restaurants.”

There are no guidelines for the businesses except to stick to the price points set by the association. That means either offering a $14 prix fixe lunch to go with a $28 dinner menu, or a $22 lunch and $38 dinner.

Wetenhall said the event is meant to bolster restaurants during a historically down time for business.

“I like the fact that the restaurants have something exciting going on in the middle of August during a quiet month,” Wetenhall said. “Restaurants take a dip in sales and revenues and this supplements it.”

Montoya said this will be the third year Cilantro takes part in the two-week event. She said it’s been beneficial to the business, since it seems to bring in new customers.

During Restaurant Weeks, Cilantro will offer its salmon with cauliflower rice or a skirt steak as an entree, to go with a tropical salad or coconut shrimp as an appetizer and a tres leches cake or churros for dessert. All for $28. The lunch menu, which will run you $14, also comes with three courses, with both entrees served as wraps.

One of the newest additions to the two-week event is recently-opened Kouzina, a Greek restaurant located in Columbus Park. For dinner, the newcomer will be offering a fixed-price menu for $28 that give diners the option of beef souvlaki, organic chicken or grilled salmon over a white bean salad as their entrée. Patrons can also choose one appetizer from a selection of Greek spreads, cheese pie with feta, spinach pie and pan-fried zucchini chips.

For all the Stamford Restaurant Weeks menus, visit stamford-downtown.com.

The first restaurant week in Stamford was held in 1995. Originally, it had nine participating restaurants in various sections of the city. Eventually, DSSD took over the event, and limited the participating restaurants to only downtown businesses.

Michael Marchetti, co-owner of Columbus Park Trattoria, and president of Stamford Tables, said his restaurant will be offering homemade pastas, veal chops and pork chops. There will be a choice of an appetizer, entree and glass of wine at the fixed price of $38 for dinner and $22 for lunch.

“I always believe that making it a very attractive and inviting menu is what gets people in the door and its always been very positive for our business,” he said.

Marchetti said the appeal of Restaurant Weeks is that customers are getting a meal at a discounted price.

“Everybody likes a bargain,” he said.

ignacio.laguarda@stamfordadvocate.com