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“The Strong Buzz Guide To Valentine's Day by Tracy Weiss”
Valentine’s Day. Some see it as a fascist Hallmark holiday, others as a reason to spoil (and *be* spoiled) by someone significant. Either ideology calls for a fantastic dinner. But where to open your wallet on February 14th this year? And what to do if he wants a white tablecloth and you're craving something easy and casual? It’s easy to find a delicious truce without falling into the ‘cramped table almost in the bathroom’ trap of years past. Compromise with your honey on a restaurant but not on quality. We've assembled a list that includes every sort of experience, from high-brow haute couture to sticky saucy barbecue. Tracy Weiss reports.
A Voce – Whether it’s the stunning views from the Time Warner Center or the sleek space next to Madison Square Park, diners can enjoy a 4-course prix fixe ($95 / person) in a stunning space. The clean lines of the dining room will be modern enough for her, but sexy enough for him. Any menu from Chef Missy Robbins is generally simple, elegant and straight up heavenly. Pick A Voce for filling fresh seafood and perfect pastas, but not one so heavy you’ll have to call off the make out session scheduled for after dinner.
A Voce NOMA : 41 Madison Avenue, NY, NY ; (212) 545-8555
A Voce Midtown : 10 Columbus Circle NY, NY ; (212) 823-2523
Sauce – This no frills downtown Italian joint is more than the Grandma’s Gravy it was named for. Sauce is offering a $100 prix-fixe menu for two including a bottle of wine (Pino Grigio or Montepulciano) and four customizable and sharable courses. Which if you break it down, may be the deal of the century on the Lower East Side or anywhere else. Chef Frank Prisinzano is serving up fennel oysters, his polenta “plank” of choice, and one tagliata, pasta or pork shank for two. Save room for dessert!
Sauce: 78 Rivington Street, NY, NY ; (212) 420-7700
For the Carnal Carnivores:
Dinosaur BBQ – Nothing says, I love you, quite as much as a big plate o’ meat. Or making the time for a trip uptown. If you’ve never visited this New York institution in Harlem, don’t let another opportunity pass you by. Dinosaur will be offering their regular menu in addition to a Sweetheart Special for Two: A Full Rack of Ribs and 4 Sides for $28.95. If you’re feeling amorous, request a booth for same side dining as you dig into Roasted Whipped Sweet Potatoes with your Sweetie. No one will judge you, this once.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que:: 700 West 125th Street at 12th Avenue, NY, NY ; 212-694-1777
Fatty ‘Cue – For those who might like their pork little more refined, look no further than Fatty Cue’s ‘Pork to Mouth’ Valentine's Day special with their Nose to Tail tasting menu in the West Village. Will You Be Mine? Yes! (For $59 with $20 liquor pairing.) The venue has the relaxed vibe she’s looking for, but with a swanky address. Start your Meat Meal with a ‘This Little Piggy Drank Whiskey’: Whistlepig rye, st germain, lillet blanc, campari, and orange ($15)
Fatty ‘Cue: 50 Carmine Street, NY, NY ; (212) 929-5050
For An All American Celebration:
Back Forty in the East Village is serving a Cajun Valentine’s Day keeping Mardi Gras going the whole week long. Menu favorites like the Back Forty Burger will get a NOLA makeover. Boring Muzak be damned straight to hell, your night with be spiced up with Dixieland and Zydeco tunes as you munch on crawdads, gumbo and Andouille sausage. Reservations will be available online. To reserve, diners must purchase $20 per person (non-refundable) vouchers that will be credited against their dinner checks the night of the reservation.
Back Forty: 190 Avenue B (at 12th St.), NY, NY ; (212)-388-1992
Recette - Picture a stone façade tucked into the corner of Greenwich Village. Inside dim lampsand large picture windows set the stage for Chef Jesse Schenker’s beautifully plated, inventive American food with a Mediterranean flair. The space is tiny; it’ll be close quarters, but not unhappily so. Buzz from hushed conversation and the well thought out wine list will go to your head in the best possible way. Both will go nicely with the 5-course tasting men featuring: Scallop Crudo with caviar, root vegetable puree, puffed rice and wild herbs; Lobster Agnolotti with chanterelle mushroom, brown butter "pudding" black truffle. This can be your romantic dinner for $125 per person.
Recette: 328 West 12th Street NY, NY; (212) 414 3000
Le Comptoir - Bivalves and Bubbles. It’s not played out, I promise. Aphrodisiac or not, it’s perfection. Set the tone in your tightest his and hers skinny jeans. So many options for culinary greatness at this Brooklyn eatery: A stellar charchuterie board, a rich foie gras crème brulee, pan seared bay scallops with garlic-parsley butter and a puff pastry crust. Le Comptoir may not have a dedicated St. Valentine menu, but you can snuggle with your honey at the bar pouring over craft cocktails and homey, but exquisite food. What could be better than that?
Le Comptoir: 25 Grand Street Brooklyn, NY; (718)-486-3300
Daniel – If Daniel’s Four Course Tasting Menu ($325 per with Optional Wine Pairing $175) is on your agenda to mark this occasion? Clear your schedule for the next morning and plunge champagne flute first into the symphony of a meal from the crown jewel in Boulud’s restaurant collection. Expect white glove service in the Upper East Side dining room decked in creamy silk, sumptuous leather with endless cavernous ceilings, and gorgeous lighting sure to make your date glow. The room is almost as silky perfect as the classic French cuisine.
Daniel – 60 East 65th Street, NY, NY ; (212)- 288-0033
If you really cannot decide what sort of place to go, you can always stick with the purists who will be at Petrossian in Midtown dining on Valentine’s Day delectables. Oysters, Truffles and their Famous Caviar are clichéd for a reason. Sample all three with a five course menu for $98.
Petrossian - 182 W 58th St New York, NY; (212) 245-2214
As for me? I’ll be at the counter of Nolita’s Parm on 2/14/13 clutching a take out bag. A special night for me and the Hubs is one where I’m in sweatpants, on the couch eating something ridiculous (like their Chicken Parm Sammie & garlic knots) while drinking an absurd bottle of wine. Thanks Team Torrisi, romance is not dead.
Parm: 248 Mulberry Street, NY, NY ;(212)-993-7189
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