Rosemary’s

Rosemary's NYC

Photo by Rosemary’s

Address: 118 Greenwich Ave. (Charles St. & 10th St.)

Link: http://rosemarysnyc.com/

Review: With the turn over that restaurants have in New York it’s tough to say when something will really last, but the people behind Rosemary’s seems to have a hit on their hands.  Couple great food, a comfortable setting and affordable prices and you have your explanation for the aggressively long waits.  The no reservation policy for parties smaller than 8 may be a turn off for some, but not enough to have an empty table in sight.  Rosemary’s is the one of the better spots we have been to for a group dinner setting.  Grab 4 or 5 buddies and brave the wait to be rewarded with tasty foccia, fresh pastas and succulent meat plates.  A great assortment of cheeses, meats and veggie sides accompany their Italian classics.  All bottles on their great wine list come in at $40 a pop, also making for an affordable feast.  We recommend getting here early or be prepared to put your name on the list and wait for a while (as in 2+ hours),  this one doesn’t look like its slowing down any time soon!

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Les Halles

Les Halles NYC

Photo by Les Halles

Address: 411 Park Ave. S. (28th & 29th St.)

*Also located in FiDi

Link: http://leshalles.net/

Review: Between the two of us we’ve had the pleasure of eating both the dinner and brunch at the two different locations.  Your standard brunch fare at the Park Ave. location does not disappoint.  Friendly service makes up for the outdated decor and cavernous space, which feels a little cold and impersonal.  The food was good, though not very memorable.  Solidly good eggs benedict and sweet dessert crepes hit the mark on a cold rainy morning.  The BF had dinner downtown at the FiDi location which is much smaller and cozier.  It’s a great place to meet up and catch up with some old friends.  The steak frites were a mixed success…amazing fries, average steak.  But yet again the dessert was the game saver – bananas flambee cooked tableside was a great way to leave on a high note.  Bourdain’s Les Halles is an old New York standby and you get that feeling while there, if only he was back in the kitchen.

I Trulli

I Trulli NYC

Photo by Howard L.

Address: 122 E. 27th St. (Park & Lexington)

Link: http://www.itrulli.com/

Review: Just off of Park Ave. in Murray Hill sits an Italian gem complete with a fire place and back garden. It’s a nice respite from the cheap Bud Lights to the east and post work watering holes on Park.  I Trulli is a great spot for some tasty Italian with an extensive wine list of Italian wines.  We went here for Restaurant Week and were not disappointed in the least.  I had the 3 course option while the BF opted for 4 (we split the pasta dish).  The dishes were hearty with out feeling too rich – tasty crispy calzones and fresh lite salad followed by pasta in a rabbit ragù.  We each had some meat for the final course: healthy servings of pork milanese and short rib – both fantastic.  The desserts were both sweet and just what we needed to top off the meal.  The friendly service, warm decor and delicious cuisine make this a great spot to take a date for a nice night out.

Cookshop

Cookshop NYC

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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.

5 Napkin Burger

5 Napkin Burger NYC

Photo by 5 Napkin Burger

Address: 150 E. 14th St. (at 3rd Ave.)

*Also located in Midtown West and UWS

Link: http://5napkinburger.com

Review: The newest 5 Napkin Burger has popped up in the Union Square area on the busy corner of 14th and 3rd.  If you are in the mood for some hearty burgers with a slightly upscale setting this is a safe bet.  Though tiled decor lends to a louder than desired setting, it is a cut above your dine and dash burger joints.  With other options besides just charred beef, like sushi rolls and lobster roll sliders, 5 Napkin provides variety for everyone in your group.  This spot is better suited for something very casual or a group dinner with friends/family.

Coppola’s

Coppola's

Photo by Coppola’s

Address: 378 3rd Ave. (27th & 28th St.)

*Also located in UWS

Link: http://www.coppolas-nyc.com/

Review: Located in Murray Hill, this Italian eatery does its best to give patrons a taste of the good life.  Despite its rather nice decor and somewhat romantic surroundings, the food fell flat.  The chicken parm was drowned in red sauce and had more than enough cheese for a medium size breast.  In lieu of the setting, which is an escape from the norm in Murray HIll, for the money there are other places to go for better food.

Blondies

Blondies Sports NYC

Photo by Blondies

Address: 212 W. 79th St. (Broadway & Amsterdam)

Link: http://blondiessports.com/

Review: Blondies is worth the trip to the UWS for the wings alone. With varying degrees of heat, you can choose just how far you want to go on the Scoville scale.  This is one of the best sports bars in NYC with TVs EVERYWHERE. There are plenty of other food options available, but not many for those counting calories.  With a good beer selection and prices that don’t break the bank, this spot is a favorite for catching the game.  If you and your date are both sports fanatics Blondies can be a ton of fun to check out, and of course it’s always good to get a group of buddies and head here for Sunday Funday.  FYI – Get there early on Sundays and for big sporting events as it tends to fill up quick!

Chop Shop

Chop Shop NYC

Photo by Chop Shop

Address: 254 10th Ave.

Link: http://chop-shop.co/

Review: Though Chop Shop is located slightly out of the way for the non-Chelsea dwelling crowd, here you’ll find a cozy nook that’s got an interesting take on some solid Asian fusion.  Both Thai and Chinese influences lead to a lot of yummy dishes that combo some great flavors.  We came here shortly after they opened and had not gotten their liquor license yet, but they graciously suggested places nearby where we could grab some beers or wine to bring in and have with our meal.  The one downside is that the portions are on the small side so you’ll want to order several plates to fill you up.  Overall we were met with a generally friendly staff who were happy to talk about their new menu and provide us with some suggestions.  As an added bonus for the spring/summer months, they have a nice outdoor garden space in back.

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!)

Kingston Hall

Kingston Hall

Photo by Kingston Hall

Address: 149 2nd Ave. 2nd Floor (9th & 10th St.)

Link: http://www.kingstonhall.com/

Review: Kingston Hall is a nice break from the chaos that can be the East Village bar scene.  This sudo speakeasy is a great place to bring a date or a group (though avoid Thursday through Saturday for a date as it can get pretty loud/rowdy on weekends).  There’s comfy lounge seating, a pool table and a back room that’s great for groups.  Fun cocktails give Kingston Hall a classier feel than the standard East Village bar catering to the beer swilling masses.