Prix Fixe Alert: Spend Sundays at James

Prix fixe menus abound these days, but not all deals are created equal. But when a high-class joint like James, ranked 3rd on our 2009 list of the top 50 restaurants in the area, kicks off a $45 Sunday-night special, we sit up and take notice. And make reservations.

Chef-owner Jim Burke and his wife, Kristina, started the special menu when they switched the restaurant’s night off from Sunday to Monday. To draw in a crowd on Sunday, they plan a menu that changes weekly based on what ingredients are in season and the chef’s whim. Dishes, though, retain the restaurant’s general aura of refinement. This week, you’ll get lobster risotto as your first course, followed by hanger steak with maitake mushrooms and red wine sauce. The summery dessert is coconut chibost — a slice of coconut cake topped with an airy mousse and tropical fruit gelee. Sounds like a reason to head back a little early from the Shore. Make reservations now — Kristina Burke says Sunday business has been brisk.