Kanoyama

Kanoyama NYC

Photo by NY Mag

Address: 175 2nd Ave. (11th & 12th St.)

Link: http://www.kanoyama.com/

Review: Situated in the East Village, Kanoyama offers an array of both food and sake options. During the week they do take reservations, but Friday and Saturdays are walkins only which can lead to a lengthy wait at times, though the selection and freshness generally rewards those who have the patience. Kanoyama has often tough to find, off the run varieties of fish, great fresh daily specials and a great selection of seasonal oysters as well. With options to grab a table or sit at the sushi bar; a la carte or omakase (chef’s choice), it’s the quality and selection that keeps people coming back for more.  Though the space is a bit tight and the bills are not cheap; its a great option for a nicer date spot with a wide array of sushi, sake and oysters to keep your palate entertained for the night.

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BLT Fish

BLT Fish NYC

Photo by BLT Fish

Address: 21 W. 17th St. (5th & 6th Ave.)

Link: http://www.e2hospitality.com/blt-fish-new-york/

Review: Located just steps from Union Square park in the Flatiron area sits another gem in this burgeoning neighborhood.  After a couple of happy hour drinks we looked around for some light and tasty dinner options.  Seafood sounded like a good choice and BLT Fish has a great selection.  We sat on the top floor in a cozy booth and began our feast under the skylight.  The only issue we had with the menu was that it was too big and everything looked too good!  We finally settled on some raw bar items and a bunch of smaller plates.  Oysters, crab legs, you name it…the boyfriend was feeling good after some post work cocktails and got a bit out of hand, ordering nearly everything he liked on the menu, and I didn’t object.  Each dish was a complete delight to the palate; though not the wallet.  You pay up for the beautiful and comfortable setting and the seemingly ocean to table freshness; but it’s definitely worth the price.

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!

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

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.

il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

Photo by il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

Address: 53 Great Jones St. (Lafayette St. & Bowery)

Link: http://www.ilbucovineria.com/

Review: il Buco Alimentari & Vineria is the slightly more casual spin off on the nearby il Buco, but by no means is there a step down in flavor.  Seated at the bar in the back room we had a view into the open kitchen and were able to watch the bartenders do their thing while getting input and help on how to best pair their impressive wine list with what we ordered.  We had some house made ricotta that was melt in your mouth good and some meats from their market as well, but the focus of the meal was definitely the short rib, a piece of meat to be remembered – it was fall of the bone delicious.  The portion size was more than enough for two after some starters.  Though the service was a bit spotty and slow for some courses and the price tag isn’t too wallet friendly, it’s the amazing food that will have you coming back for more.

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.

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!)

Lexington Brass

Lexington Brass

Photo by Lexington Brass

Address: 517 Lexington Ave. (48th & 49th St.)

Link: http://emmgroupinc.com/restaurants/lexington-brass/

Review: Lexington Brass is a nice upscale bar located in Midtown East.  It’s got a hopping after work bar scene, tasty small bites and great upscale bar food – burgers, truffle fries, fried chicken and everyone’s favorite – lobster mac and cheese.  They also have a decent selection of cocktails and some great microbrews on tap.  Being that it’s located in Midtown, it’s packed to the hilt with suits, but the friendly service helps dull the overall corporate feeling of the clientele.  If you’re looking for a place to stop in and refuel after a long day of climbing the corporate ladder, this is the spot.