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.

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Rosa Mexicano

Photo by Rosa Mexicano

Address: 9 E. 18th St. (5th Ave. & Broadway)

*Locations also in Midtown East and UWS

Link: http://www.rosamexicano.com/newyorkcity/

Review: Rosa Mexicano is a large format chain Mexican restaurant with 3 locations in NYC – Union Square, Upper West Side and Midtown East.  But even though it is a chain they have great, more upscale Mexican dishes with deliciously fresh ingredients.  They have a large menu with tons of different options and lots of great tequila cocktails as well.  You of course need to order the guac which is freshly made at your table, their ceviches are solid and the fundido (Mexican fondue type dish) is super cheesy and terrible for you but oh so good and a must order for the table to share.  If you’re looking to have a fun dinner out with friends and/or family, this is a great choice.  Though beware, at busier times the servers can get over whelmed, service can get pretty slow and one for got an app we ordered.

Blue Water Grill

Photo by Blue Water Grill

Address: 31 Union Square West (at 16th St.)

Link: http://www.bluewatergrillnyc.com/

Review: The Blue Water Grill was our 3rd stop on our Restaurant Week tour.  They have a really solid RW menu and a romantic setting, especially in the live jazz room downstairs.  The pros were the great options on the RW menu, the perfectly prepared fish dishes, and the tasty desserts (nothing to write home about but satisfies the sweet tooth).  The soup was a little sweet, but super refreshing and great for a hot summer night.  You also had the option of getting a bottle of wine along with your 3 courses for an extra $35, which we of course did!  The cons were that our table wasn’t ready right away and we ended up being seated right in front of the band which was a little bit loud.  Also, the service was a little bit slow to begin with. Overall, The Blue Water Grill is definitely a spot to check out when you and your date are in the mood for a romantic night out, some great live music and some awesome seafood.

Edo

Photo by Edo

Address: 9 E. 17th St. (5th Ave. & Union Square W)

Link: http://www.edosushinyc.com/

Review: Edo Sushi was a great find – it’s a fun cheap spot to grab really good sushi in Union Square.  It’s incredibly inexpensive considering the quality of the sushi.  With a long list of creative specialty rolls, delicious gyoza and shumai, and 1/2 off beers during happy hour – you can’t go wrong.  The dimly lit and intimate atmosphere and the fact that you rarely have to wait for a table make this is a great spot to go on a casual date night.  We’ve been back to Edo multiple times – it’s one of our go-to sushi spots when we’re in the mood for an inexpensive, delicious meal.

Republic

Photo by Leslie D.

Address: 37 Union Square West (16th & 17th St.)

Link:  http://www.thinknoodles.com/

Review: We went here as a last minute date spot since we were in the mood for noodles and planning to catch a movie afterwards in Union Square.  The boyfriend had the BBQ pork which was amazing and I had the curried duck which was good but nothing in comparison. Delicious noodle dishes, fast service and solid specialty cocktails make this place worth a visit.  Though seating is at communal tables and it can get VERY loud so its not ideal for a first date/getting to know you type of place.  Republic is a good last minute date spot for the food but don’t expect to have much of a conversation since you probably won’t be able to hear the person across the table from you.

Lillie’s

Photo by Rich R.

Address: 13 E. 17th St. (Broadway & 5th Ave.)

Link: http://lilliesnyc.com/HOME.html

Review: Initially we were headed to Rye House but waited WAY too long for drinks so we walked back down the block to Lillie’s.  Lillie’s is a great spot to grab beers around Union Square.  It’s a little nicer than your Brother Jimmy’s/13th Step with a decent, somewhat fratty crowd.  Plus, they have really good bar food if you get the drunk munchies!  Grab your significant other and all your buddies and head here after work on Thursday nights or over the weekend.

Rye House

Photo by Rye House

Address: 11 W 17th St. (5th & 6th Ave.)

Link: http://ryehousenyc.com/

Review: Rye House is a good spot for a strong cocktail in somewhat of a hipster/trendy atmosphere.  They have a good specialty cocktail list and great selection of dark liquors.  We’ve never been here for dinner but it’s a great spot for some apps and cocktails.  Could be good for a more casual “let’s grab drinks date spot”, but also a fun place to grab a long table in the back to booze all night with friends. Truffle grilled cheese and truffle beer cheese are fantastic snacks to nosh on while enjoying your cocktails.  They have a pretty solid Southern style brunch as well.

The Living Room at the W Union Square

Photo by Andrew Karcie

Address: 201 Park Ave. (at 17th St.)

Link: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/property/dining/attraction_detail.html?attractionId=40194&propertyID=1299

Review: The Living Room at the W Union Square is a trendy, posh hotel lounge with a mix of business types and hotel guests milling around.  You can sit in plush chairs and get served by a cocktail waitress or sit up at the bar.  It’s a great, quieter spot to grab some drinks and chat with your date.  They have a seasonal drink menu but be warned, the drinks aren’t cheap, even just vodka sodas, but if you’re willing to shell out the cash for a couple of cocktails it’s a nice cozy spot to get to know your date.

Max Brenner

Photo by Sean K.

Address: 841 Broadway (13th & 14th St.)

Link:  http://shop.maxbrenner.com/

Review: Max Brenner is a large Union Square chocolatier.  The food here is average but they have GREAT desserts and super sweet and delicious cocktails – chocoholics rejoice! The white Russians and chocolate lava cake are must trys.  It’s more of a family type, large format spot for dinner so we wouldn’t suggest having the dinner portion of your meal here, but Max Brenner’s is definitely a fun place to venture over to for some dessert and after dinner drinks.

Brother Jimmy’s

Photo by Brother Jimmy’s

Address: 181 Lexington Ave. (at 31st St.)

*Locations also in Union Square, Upper East Side, Upper West Side and Midtown West

Link: http://www.brotherjimmys.com/

Review: Ahh Brother Jimmy’s.  The boyfriend and I met here and it’s definitely not a date spot.  This is the type of bar you come to to chug cheap PBRs or down fishbowls with your buddies.  It’s a sloppy mess of newly minted NY bros and chicks.  Bro J’s is always a scene in the summer so get there early or the line will be around the block.  Obviously it’s not a spot to bring a date but if you, your significant other and all your friends are looking to celebrate, Bro J’s is a good choice.  So grab all your buddies, get sloshed and enjoy some awesome southern BBQ to soak up some of that alcohol.