Mayahuel

Mayahuel NYC

Photo by Mayahuel

Address: 304 E. 6th St. (1st & 2nd Ave.)

Link: http://www.mayahuelny.com/home.php

Review: Though we have never sat down to enjoy a full meal, Mayahuel  is worth the trip to the East Village for the cocktails alone.  In the middle of the East Village, just off 2nd Ave., lies a mecca for fun and original tequila and mezcal cocktails.  With a plethora of options to choose from it’s tough to go wrong.  We have nibbled on snacks like spicy popcorn and chips and guac that were a nice treat to accompany our drinks.  Those ordering full meals around us were waiving in sizzling plates of shrimp and succulent pork belly..looks like we are going to have to show up with the intention of sampling the fare and not just the libations!  A dark and cozy bar with a couple side rooms lends itself to a great spot for a quiet conversation, though, like many of the cocktail establishments in the EV, there can be a wait (normally not TOO bad), but dont let it deter you from the chance to transport your palate to some place south of the boarder.

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Obao

Obao NYC

Photo by Obao

Address: 222 E. 53rd St. (2nd & 3rd Ave.)

Link: http://www.obaony.com/

*Also located in FiDi

Review: As we were walking through Midtown on a windy night we came across a couple of inviting restaurants on 53rd St.  In the mood for some food to warm us up, we ducked in for some noodles and bbq at Obao.  Despite its relatively obscure location, Obao does not disappoint.  It has a very inviting interior: soft lighting, wood and Asian accents, a garden area in the back, and sky lights above the middle table.  We couldn’t decide on just one thing that we wanted, but there were plenty of items that caught our eyes…so we ordered them all, moderation is not our strong suit.  The pork belly was delish with out being too fatty, the dumplings felt like authentic southeast Asian dumplings (less doughy), and the fresh shrimp rolls took the BF back to his trip over there.  We knew we couldn’t leave without at least one noodle dish so we finally decided to go with the vermicelli noodles with pork and shrimp – a colder dish that still hit the spot.  Washing everything down with a glass of wine and pint of beer, Obao turned out to be the right pick for a last second date.  Friendly and fast service made for a great evening with a tab that makes us ready to go back and try more.  This restaurant was recommended by the highly acclaimed Michelin Bib Gourmand two years in a row for a reason! Definitely a must try!

Forcella

Forcella NYC

Photo by Forcella

Address: 377 Park Ave. S. (26th & 27th St.)

*Also located in the East Village and Williamsburg

Link: http://www.forcellaeatery.com/

Review: One of the more recent openings in the quickly changing landscape of the Flatiron/Park Ave. neighborhood brings us this higher end pizza joint coming over from Brooklyn.  We sat at the bar to grab some beers and a pie.  The bartender was friendly and helpful, giving good recommendations on the new menu.  All the options had a wide array of cheeses and toppings.  However, the crust fell a bit short – the base of the pizza was a little soggy and couldn’t hold the toppings up when we lifted it to eat.  Though disappointing, the quality of toppings helped make up for it.  It could have been some new growing pains as we visited Forcella right as it opened, or maybe it was just an overload of toppings…a debate we wouldn’t mind settling with a return trip.  With its relaxed atmosphere, Forcella is a good spot for a casual date when you’re in the mood for something a little nicer than that $1 slice pizza joint on the corner.

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!

Ramen Sanshiro

Ramen Sanshiro NYC

Photo by Keiko T.

Address: 249 E. 49th St. (2nd & 3rd Ave.)

Review: Speakeasies seem to be the hot new trend for bars these days so why should food not follow suit?  This speakeasy-ish noodle joint is only open after 11 pm and does not take reservations or credit cards.  Sidle up to the bar in this “closed” Japanese restaurant (called SEO during dinner hours) and feel as though you just got off a day long plane trip to the far East. In no time we were chomping down on succulent pork and tasty noodles.  It’s a great place to end a long night out without that neon sign outside advertising $1 slices or some other greasy cooked slab of meat.  The food is absolutely delicious and the service was friendly and fast, though there is definitely a language barrier.  If your date has lasted long enough to warrant a midnight snack, this could be your best bet before calling it a successful night out.

The Stag’s Head

The Stag's Head NYC

Photo by The Stag’s Head

Address: 252 E. 51st St. (2nd & 3rd Ave.)

Link: http://www.thestagsheadnyc.com/

Review: The Stag’s Head is our new local watering hole.  It’s a great place to go grab a craft beer from their impressive selection – they have 16 rotating beers on tap and 50+ in bottles that you won’t likely find elsewhere.  Though we have yet to have dinner here, we have gotten a couple small plates which always go well with some tasty cold beers (who wouldn’t love truffle popcorn!)  The staff is super helpful in breaking down the diverse selection so you can find what you’re looking for.  This isn’t a sports bar per se, but TV’s dot the walls so you won’t miss the game while you’re trying out some new beers.  Grab a spot in the back, upstairs or out in the garden if you’re looking to cozy up to that special someone away from the bar.

Claw

Claw NYC

Photo by Claw

Address: 269 W. 23rd St. (7th & 8th Ave.)

*Also located in Midtown West

Link: http://clawnewyork.com/

Review: The lobster roll seems to be a fad that took New York by storm and this Chelsea location offers up their take on it, served with some butter and mayo on the typical potato bread.  They offer the delish but not low calorie surf and turf which compliments its lobster with some tasty bacon chunks.  Though it is clearly not a romantic setting, this place will hit the spot if you’re in the mood for some no frills lobster treats.  They also have some options for the non-seafood eater as well.  The only downside is that there’s no booze at the Chelsea location.

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!

Tsushima

Tsushima NYC

Photo by NYMag

Address: 141 E. 47th St. (Lexington & 3rd Ave.)

Link: http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/tsushima/menu

Review:  Tsushima is a great spot for sushi in Midtown if you want something nice but don’t feel like spending this month’s rent check.  This small sushi joint is a close walk to Grand Central and while, from the outside it may look like your typical Midtown sushi spot, inside they have a nicer, more sleek decor than most.  Tsushima has plenty of options of high quality, super fresh fish without the price tag.  The service is friendly if not overly quick to keep you moving, so it might not be the best place for a romantic date, but if you’re looking for some yummy sushi while running around Midtown or coming in or out from Connecticut, it’s a good bet that Tsushima will hit the spot.

Wilfie & Nell

Wilfie & Nell

Photo by NYCHDR

Address: 228 W. 4th St. (7th Ave. S. & W. 10th St.)

Link: http://wilfieandnell.com/

Review: Wilfie & Nell is a great local bar in the West Village.  It’s got that old tavern look and feel which attracts hipsters and suits alike.  It’s a great spot to meet a date or grab some drinks with your pals after work or on the weekends.  They have a good selection of craft beers and specialty cocktails to choose from.  We have yet to try the food here, which consists of somewhat upscale pub fare, but definitely want to make a trip back for their brunch ($5 bloody mary’s!) It can get pretty crowded/loud on weekends so only take a date here for drinks during the week if you want to be able to hear what they’re saying!