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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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.

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.

Pampano

Photo by Pampano

Address: 209 East 49th St. (3rd & 2nd Ave.)

Link: http://www.richardsandoval.com/pampano

Review: Pampano is a high end Mexican seafood spot located in Midtown East.  It’s not a far walk from Grand Central and it has really nice outdoor seating among the tall buildings in the area.  You have 2 options here – you can eat off the tapas menu downstairs at the bar if your looking for some small bites, or eat off the full dinner menu upstairs (either indoors or out).  Everything we tried was truly fantastic.  The scallops were prepared perfectly, the braised pork shoulder was savory and delicious and the lobster tacos and red snapper quesadillas were super tasty appetizers.  They also have good specialty cocktails, nice decor and quick, friendly service.  So if you’re in the mood for some great Mexican food but want to keep it on the healthy side, this is a great spot to bring your date for a nice night out.

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.

 

Campanile

Address: 30 E. 29th St. (Madison & Park Ave. S.)

Link: http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/campanile/

Review: Campanile is your typical old school upscale Italian restaurant. Though the decor is very dated, the basic rustic Italian dishes come in hearty portions and are solidly good.  If you’re in the mood for some well executed standard Italian fare, Campanile is a safe bet. Plus it’s a little bit easier on the budget than some other high end options in the area.

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.

Nobu Next Door

Photo by Nobu Next Door

Address: 105 Hudson St. (Franklin St. & Moore St.)

Link: http://www.rohmnyc.com/

Review: We ventured over to Nobu next door for Restaurant Week and were pretty disappointed.  The dishes were tiny and the service was rushed.  The food was good and really tasty, but not a good value.  The boyfriend has been to the real Nobu and was blown away, but Next Door was extremely dissatisfying in comparison.  The dishes were truly just samples of what they had to offer, not a real dinner.  Nobu Next Door is most likely better non-Restaurant Week, but this experience doesn’t make us want to return.  It seemed like they were really just churning people through.  All in all we were not impressed.

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!

Del Frisco’s Grille

Photo by Del Frisco’s Grille

Address: 50 Rockefeller Plaza, Suite H (50th & 51st St.)

Link:   http://delfriscosgrille.com/

Review: Del Frisco’s Grille has one of the better steaks you can get in NYC.  They also have amazing truffle mac and cheese and ahi tacos, and a decent cocktail/wine list.  During the week it’s generally populated by expense account types due to the high price tag of the items on the menu.  It can get noisy with the after work crowd and the atmosphere isn’t the most romantic, but for the price tag you’ll want to save it for a special dinner, ie. a job promotion or a really nice surprise for the steak lover in your life.