New American

Traif

Traif

Photo by NY Mag

Address: 229 S. 4th St. (Driggs Ave. & Roebling St.)

Link: http://traifny.com/

Review: When making the trek to Brooklyn from Manhattan you always hope that you won’t be let down. Traif (not conforming to kosher dietary laws) lives up to the name serving some awesome pork and seafood small plates. The back patio was full so we grabbed a table inside.  Though space was a bit tight it pulls off a more cozy than crowded vibe.  Small plates offer the chance to sample the multitude of options ranging from sweet salads to blistered peppers, from pork belly to scallops.  Everything we ordered came out in a timely fashion and were devoured before the plate hit the table.  The prices vary and the items are seasonal so how big you go is completely up to you.  Sometimes going a little out of the way to try something new is worth it, this little gem is one for sure.

Cannibal

Cannibal NYC

Photo by Cannibal

Address: 113 E. 29th St. (Park Ave. S. & Lexington Ave.)

Link: http://thecannibalnyc.com/

Review: Continuing with the transformation of Murray Hill, this beacon of meat, cheese and beer has arrived on the scene.  But Cannibal does not have the cold cuts and bud lights of college dorm days past, rather an array of salumi and aged hams, carefully selected cheese and a selection of craft beers from brewers worldwide.  We ended our night here for some late night grub and some suds.  We sat at the bar and were served by the very friendly and helpful barkeep who pointed us in the right direction for both our food and drink orders.  So long as you don’t go crazy you can get your fill on a tasty selection with out feeling the pain in your wallet.  Cannibal is a good option for a first date for sure – start with some small plates to see how things go, then move on to something bigger if all is well.  Plus you can always judge a person by what drink they order from their massive selection!

Cookshop

Cookshop NYC

Photo by Cookshop

Address: 156 10th Ave. (19th & 20th St.)

Link: http://www.cookshopny.com/

Review: We headed over to this Chelsea newcomer with high expectations.  The ambiance and decor are trendy and the dimly lit atmosphere makes it a solid spot for a date.  The service was friendly and our table was ready when we arrived for our reservation, something that can’t be overlooked at 7:45 on a Friday.  We ordered some tasty oysters to start off and their version of a savory crepe which was a good pick as well.  Our main course however fell a little flat. Each dish had a component that was fantastic and one that seemed out of place.  With the duck came some sauerkraut type side that didn’t really fit and the lamb dish, while there were some wonderful components, had a little brown sausage that was on the dry side and a completely different flavor profile than the rest of the meat.  We’re not sure if it was a bad day or that these entrees just missed the mark.  Given the nice surroundings and comfortable feel, it would’ve been a home run if the entrees lived up to the hype.  That being said, we’re contemplating giving it another shot in hopes that the other entrees are executed better.

Mas (la grillade)

Mas (la grillade)

Photo by NYMag

Address: 28 7th Ave. S. (Leroy St. & Bedford St.)

Link: http://www.maslagrillade.com/home/

Review: Snuggled into the West Village, Mas (la grillade) is one of the true jewels of New York, a culinary gem with the service to match.  There are a limited amount of tables as it is a smaller place, but this allows diners to be doted on by many staffers moving about.  We went here for a romantic holiday dinner and were delighted with everything.  Ordering the 6 course chef’s tasting menu, we put our palettes in the hands of the culinary specialists in the kitchen.  From the amuse-bouche to the petifores, we were delighted with everything that was put in front of us.  Razor clams, salmon, mackerel, duck, steak and two kinds of desserts – it was like the chef new exactly what we wanted.  With a solid wine list for the discerning eye and hearty cocktails to warm you up – Mas lived up to expectations; but so did the bill.  If you are prepared to drop a bundle of cash, but have an off the charts experience, this is the place.

Peels

Peels NYC

Photo by Peels

Address: 325 Bowery (2nd St. & Bleecker St.)

Link: http://peelsnyc.com/

Review: Located in the East Village/NoHo area, this is a terrific spot for a cozy date with some delicious food as well.  The decor is stylish but comfortable.  The booths upstairs are a favorite and work well for a quiet conversation or can even accommodate a double date with some of your pals.  They do a good job of executing some old comfort food standbys – fried chicken, burgers, and shrimp and grits.  With prices that won’t break the bank, Peels is a good spot for a cozy date on a cold winter night to sip on some hot cocktails and fill up on some home style cooking. (They have a great brunch too!)

Saxon + Perole

Photo by Saxon + Perole

Address: 316 Bowery (at Bleecker St.)

Link: http://saxonandparole.com/

Review: Saxon and Perole is a great spot for some tasty food and cocktails right on Bowery in NoHo.  Grab a seat outside on a nice night and watch the world go by, or cozy up indoors where the interior decor lends itself to a perfect romantic date setting.  The “Little Bit of Everything” plate was the perfect size to share for 2, they have a decent selection of super fresh oysters and if you’re in the mood for some meat, “The Burger” is fantastic.  Definitely try the side of chili-caramel brussels sprouts if they have it, even the non-vegetable eaters will enjoy them.  They also have some good specialty cocktails, though they could be stronger.  If you’re looking for a place with a cool vibe, romantic decor and great food, this is the spot.

Sagaponack

Photo by Sagaponack

Address: 4 W. 22nd St. (5th & 6th Ave.)

Link: http://www.sagaponacknyc.com/

Review: Sagaponack is a classy but casual seafood/new american restaurant tucked away in the Flatiron District.  It’s got a comfy, beachy, hamptons feel and has great seafood dishes to go along with it.  There’s a whole section of their menu dedicated to lobster so of course we needed to try out some of those dishes.  The lobster pot pie and the lobster and shrimp ravioli were great, creative preparations of lobster and the duck and mushroom dumplings are a MUST try.  All in all, Sagaponack is a cute spot to bring your date with it’s intimate and classy, yet casual and comfortable setting.  We’re already talking about going back to try out some of their meat dishes!

Cask Bar + Kitchen

Address: 167 E. 33rd St. (Lexington & 3rd Ave.)

Link: http://www.casknyc.com/

Review: Cask Bar + Kitchen is a fun spot to grab a bunch of small plates and drinks with friends in Murray Hill.  We went here with a group of friends for the boyfriend’s birthday, and had a great time.  They have long tables that are perfect for big groups, beautiful rustic decor and a solid selection of specialty cocktails and beers.  The spring rolls, truffle mac and cheese, meatball sampler, tuna tartare and kobe sliders were all delicious.  It gets pretty packed so make a reservation!

Gramercy Tavern

Photo by Gramercy Tavern

Address: 42 E. 20th St. (Broadway & Park Ave. S.)

Link: http://www.gramercytavern.com/

Review: Gramercy Tavern is an NYC classic. With the beautiful setting and perfectly executed dishes, it’s a must try for a special night out.  You have two options – sitting at the bar and eating a la carte off of the Tavern menu, or dining on the chef’s tasting menu.  We were able to walk right in and sit at the bar within 5 minutes.  The Tavern menu has great options – we had the oysters, duck liver mousse, pork and fennel sausage and the chicken.  For dessert we tried the strawberry pie with mint ice cream. Every dish was outstanding, so don’t think by sitting at the bar you are getting shafted in the least.  They also have great specialty cocktails and super friendly bartenders.  So if you’re looking to take your date out to some place really special, and are willing to shell out some extra cash, Gramercy Tavern should be at the top of your list.

Banc

Photo by Banc

Address: 431 3rd Ave. (30th & 31st St.)

Link: http://www.banccafe.com/

Review: Banc is an average restaurant in the Murray Hill area. It has a decent date spot atmosphere but seems like more of an “upscale” after work hang out rather than a place to take your date for dinner.  It’s somewhat loungey and trying to be a hip/sophisticated spot. The food was average, though the truffle mac and cheese was pretty good.  They also have some good specialty cocktails at decent prices during happy hour. So if you’re looking for a not-as-fratty after work option in the Murray Hill area, this could be a good option, though it might be trying a little too hard.

Five Points

Photo by Victoria K.

Address: 31 Great Jones St. (Lafayette St. & Bowery)

Link: http://www.fivepointsrestaurant.com/

Review: Five Points is a great spot for happy hour.  They have good deals on both their refreshing cocktails and yummy small plates.  Their oysters were great! Super fresh and shucked perfectly. The pork shoulder hash was the highlight of the meal, and the waygu beef burger was delicious.  With their fresh decor and nice bar area, Five Points is a good place to meet up for some tasty food and drinks in an inviting setting.

David Burke Kitchen

Photo by David Burke Kitchen

Address: 23 Grand St. (Thompson St. & Avenue of the Americas)

Link: http://www.davidburkekitchen.com

Review: We had a great meal and a great time at David Burke Kitchen.  Went for Restaurant Week and they really embraced it.  Basically everything on their regular menu was available for the Restaurant Week prix fixe and the portions were very large, not typical of RW dishes.  From the appetizers to the desserts, everything was delicious and perfectly executed – the pretzel crab cake, tuna tartare tacos, lamb chops, buttermilk fried chicken, chocolate brownie island and strawberry shortcake parfait.  DB Kitchen is a trendy spot, it’s loud and lively but in a good way and the service was super friendly.  We definitely recommend David Burke Kitchen for a fun date night out in SoHo.

Telepan

Photo by Telepan

Address: 72 W. 69th St. (Columbus Ave. & Central Park W)

Link:   http://www.telepan-ny.com/

Review: We ventured out to Telepan on the Upper West Side for our first stop for Restaurant Week and were not disappointed.  We were greeted by a very cordial host who sat us at a nice corner table.  We decided to go with the three-course menu with the wine pairings to get the full experience.  Our waiter and the sommelier were both super friendly and helpful.  We had a tough time deciding which dishes to order since most of them looked fantastic and our waiter definitely made the right recommendations for us.  Each dish was executed extremely well and the wine pairings were spot on.  The sommelier was brief and to the point with his descriptions of the wines in a way that even a non-wino could understand, not rambling on and on like some sommeliers tend to do.  The portions were generous for a $35 pre fix; the pork and chicken dishes having a couple of different types of preparations on one plate.  We finished our meal off with a delicious and refreshing seasonal dessert of strawberry parfait, cream and prosecco.  The tab was pricey, but with the good food and sharp, friendly service, it was a price definitely worth paying for the experience. Snatch up a reservation for Restaurant Week while you still can!

Employees Only

Photo by Employees Only

Address: 510 Hudson St. (10th St. & Christopher St.)

Link:  http://www.employeesonlynyc.com/

Review: Employees Only is a great cocktail spot.  It’s another speakeasy type place but with less fuss at the door than PDT and Death & Co.  Similarly, you pay a premium for the mixology but this is another place that’s totally worth it.  They have some delicious and creative specialty cocktails and tasty small plates.  You’ve got to try the bone marrow poppers and bacon wrapped lamb chops!  Employees Only is the perfect spot to kick start your date night with some pre-dinner cocktails and apps. Can also be a good spot for a first date to get to know each other over some drinks.

The NoMad Restaurant

Photo by The NoMad Hotel

Address: 1170 Broadway (27th & 28th St.)

Link: http://www.thenomadhotel.com/#/dining

Review: The NoMad is from the creators of Eleven Madison Park so based off reputation alone it is worth the visit. This is the type of place you take your significant other on special occasions. It’s cringe worthy tabs are justified as the meals are an event. At the NoMad you enjoy your perfectly prepared dishes surrounded by comfortable, dark, lush décor. We had a tough time deciding whether or not we should do the tasting menu but went with a la carte instead. The beef tartare and foie gras were insanely good, the duck and suckling pig were perfectly executed and the milk and honey dessert was a really interesting and delicious twist on dessert. On top of all that they have an awesome cocktail list with over 30 really unique and inventive cocktails created by Jessica Gonzalez of Death & Co. (one of our favorite cocktail lounges). AND, if you are looking for a little bit cheaper date option but the some of the same great eats and drinks, check out their Library Bar where you can get some of the smaller bites from the menu and all of the same great cocktails. This is without a doubt one of out favorite restaurant in NYC at the moment.

The Smith

Photo by The Smith

Address: 55 Third Ave. (10th & 11th St.)

*Location also in Midtown East

Link:  http://www.thesmithnyc.com/

Review: The Smith is a fun, trendy, somewhat sceney spot in the East Village to grab some brunch or a group dinner with friends before heading out.  They have a solid brunch menu and you MUST try the candied bacon…it’s amazing.  Great bloody mary’s and mimosas as well.  And brunch is til 4pm so you can sleep in!  We’ve only been for brunch but it always looks pretty packed for dinner and the menu is large with something for everyone.  Good spot to go in the spring/summer when they open the doors out to 3rd Ave.  The Smith works for anything from a hungover brunch to a casual date spot to a group night out.

Duo

Photo by Duo

Address: 72 Madison Ave. (27th & 28th St.)

Link: http://www.duonewyork.com/

Review: We went to Duo for restaurant week, which would definitely be your best bet for a trip to Duo since the dishes are pricey.  Duo is dark with comfortable seating, a good date spot atmosphere.  Food was solidly good but nothing spectacular, you could get a better bang for your buck elsewhere.  The best aspects of Duo are its really good, but pricey, specialty cocktail list and their attentive staff.  If you’re in the area and willing to shell out the cash this isn’t a bad spot but you’d be better off walking a few blocks west to the NoMad.

The Cellar at Beecher’s

Photo by Nils V.

Address: 900 Broadway (at 20th St.)

Link: http://www.beechershandmadecheese.com/Locations/NewYork/TheCellar.aspx

Review: The Cellar at Beecher’s is the perfect date spot for wine and cheese lovers.  Comfortable lounge seating, great selection of cheeses and wines, and a super knowledgeable staff.  We just told the waiter what flavors of cheese and meats we generally like and he suggested 6 GREAT cheese and charcuterie options and brought us the perfect white wine to go along with it.  We shamelessly ordered seconds of the cheese because we had to have more! They also offer entree options and we’re dying to go back and try the mac and cheese.  Definitely a cool place to check out below the Beecher’s Handmade Cheese shop for an intimate date night for all you wine and cheese connoisseurs.

Rose Water

Photo by Alan Z.

Address: 787 Union St. (5th & 6th Ave.)

Link:  http://www.rosewaterrestaurant.com/

Review: For those willing to make the hike to BK, Rose Water is definitely worth the trip.  Rose Water has a nice, cozy atmosphere with the option of sitting outside.  They have a DELICIOUS farm to table menu with seasonal ingredients and dishes.  We definitely recommend that you take your date here, split a bottle of wine and enjoy some great food on the main drag in Park Slope.

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