There are some restaurants that you should go to alone. And there are some restaurants where, you go to, as they say "close the deal." And then there are some restaurant that you go to on Valentine's Day, as a way of saying "I love you in the most conventional way possible." Here are a few of them.
What can you say? It never changes, it never falters, and it's always jammed. If it wasn't such a slavish tribute to Paris brasseries, you could even call it the ultimate New York restaurant. Certainly, it's a hell of a lot better than the places in Paris that it emulates.
It's a little passe today, but the city's perennial "most romantic restaurant" hasn't gotten any less beautiful, nor its fireplace any less transporting. The food isn't the final word in high gastronomy, but it's very good, and resists fads in a commendable way. NYC needs more places like this, not less.
This is the bistro where Jean Georges Vongerichten's genius first emerged. While the chef has since then moved on to grander things the intimate, casual feel here suits his food better, and brings back memories of when this was THE place to eat in NYC.
Few places could be cozier or more special than the cellar of this first-rate Brooklyn osteria, which is crude and rustic in a way similar places often try (and fail) to be. Look out especially for the remarkable selection of port wines. They're too good to have just as after dinner drinks.
The big prestige restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental hotel, Asiate has what is undoubtedly one of, if not the best view in New York. It's utterly weatherproof, so watching a storm here is an especially perverse pleasure, one that makes you feel almost godlike in your power. It's great on a nice night too. But plan on bringing a bag of krugerands to pay for your meal.
Say this for New York's sushi king -- he is at work behind the bar every day, and when you splurge on his omakase menu, it is the master himself who hands you each piece of magic.
Sushi restaurants tend not to be romantic. It would be closer to the truth to say that they are closer in spirit to operating rooms. But Zenkichi is a rare exception, a Williamsburg sushi restaurant of very fine quality which is, a the same time, one of the most romantic settings to be found in the city -- a perfect place for a date, especially given how easily good sake goes down and how un-filling great sushi is.
Classically rustic, cozy and beautiful, the food is somewhat beside the point at this village classic -- which isn't to say that it's anything less than impeccable.
Secluded, rustic, and romantic (it's in an area so secluded you can hear birds chirping outside), Vinegar Hill House doesn't seem likely to have great food. After all, why bother? But the food is, amazingly, the main reason to go. The wood oven is, for once, used as an engine for cast-iron cooking and simple food made with the best possible ingredients. This is one of the best restaurants in New York, period.
Known, rightly, as the city's most admired Italian restaurant, the secret of Marea is that Michael White's pastas, and not the restaurant's fish entrees. How could they not be anti-climactic after the "Sultan of Spaghetti's" signature dishes?