Valentine's Day - Date Spots

Valentine's Day - Date Spots

by Gina Grinstead
02.09.2007

Whether or not you buy into this Hallmarkiest of holidays, if you want to see your Schnookums naked ever again, you’d best make plans for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, V-Day doesn’t care whether you’ve just started seeing someone or are about to get married. But we do. Here are some perfect date spots for whatever relationship situation you happen to find yourself in.

That Awkward “Are We Dating” Phase
Three of Cups
83 1st Ave
(212) 388-0059
This East Village institution is big on atmosphere and food but, thankfully, not on price. If the candle light, rustic furnishings, and pizzas crisp from the wood-burning oven don’t put you in the mood, another drink or three after dinner in the lounge downstairs should do the trick.

DuMont Burger
314 Bedford Ave (between S 1st & S 2nd Sts), Brooklyn
(718) 384-6127
A spin-off of one of the most popular restaurants in Williamsburg, DuMont Burger does one thing and does it very, very well.  The communal bar-height table and dim lighting encourage coziness, and the burgers come in regular and mini sizes for boys and girls, respectively. Or, as it would appear in Indie Rocker Land, the other way around.

Grape & Grain
620 E 6th St (between Aves B & C)
212-420-0002
This unassuming and friendly spot on a quiet East Village street (yes, such a thing still exists) offers a small but well put together selection of tapas-esque plates, cheeses, and wines. It’s delightful on its own, but even more so when followed up by a trip next door to Against the Grain, its tiny sister bar with a fun and quirky beer list.

There Is a Second Toothbrush in Your Bathroom
Wined Up
913 Broadway (between 20th & 21st Sts)
(212) 673-6333
Ignore the cheeseball name of this Flatiron newcomer, because it’s gotten nothing but raves since it opened in December. The space is modern but not too stark, the wine list extensive but not overpriced, and the food (small plates like crab fritters and cheeses) just plain good. As an added bonus, the music volume is low enough that you can actually hear yourself talk. Crazy.

Lupa
170 Thompson St (between Bleecker & Houston)
(212) 982-5089
Gwyneth Paltrow is a regular here, and we all know how picky Gwynnie is about what goes in her temple of a body (thanks, US Weekly.) Known as the “poor man’s Babbo”, Mario Batali’s West Village spot is just as good and a whole lot cheaper.

A Voce
41 Madison Ave (at 26th St)
212-545-8555
Two words: duck meatballs. For a high end restaurant three-starred this year by The New York Times, A Voce is refreshingly unpretentious. Skip the pricey entrees and order a bunch of appetizers to share (sharing is caring, after all), and you’re guaranteed some of the best Italian food you’ve ever had, plus money leftover for the cab home (you’ll be in such a good mood, you’ll want to get home quickly.)

The Parents Have Been Met
The House
121 E 17th St
212-353-2121
This aptly named brand new restaurant occupies a gorgeous little restored carriage house just off Gramercy Park. The upstairs dining room is about as romantic as it gets, with a fireplace, brick walls, a large arched window overlooking the sparkly white lights on the trees outside. Oh yeah, and the wine list isn’t too shabby either.

Ushi Wakamaru
136 W Houston St (at Thompson St)
(212) 228-4181
Nobu schmobu. This little-known, little-sized place in between Soho in the West Village is more focused on the food than on gimmicks or trends. Sit at the sushi bar and watch the chefs chug Sapporo while, somehow, masterfully slicing fish. At $70-$100, the omakase (you’re in the chef’s hands) is actually quite a good deal.
 
The Modern
9 W 53rd St (at 5th Ave)
(212) 333-1220
For a truly memorable day, call in a “family emergency” to Honeypie’s place of employment and spend the afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art. Afterwards, look out over the Sculpture Garden at one of the best new(ish) restaurants in the city. The menu offers multi-course prix fixe dinners in several price categories: Expensive, Really Expensive, and You’d Better Have a Trust Fund. 

When All Else Fails
A couple years ago, I had a friend who lived on fast food, was a size zero, and dated a successful male model. No, I didn’t hate her, but I certainly wanted to. Anyway, for Valentine’s Day, her not un-Zoolander-like boyfriend took her to Arby’s afterhours, where she was seated by a server at a table decked out with a table cloth, candles, and flowers. She got her roast beef and curly fries and he, most definitely, got laid. Fortunately for lovebirds across the country, White Castle has aped his style. Nothing says romance like “eight cheeseburgers, one sack of fries, two regular soft drinks, and coupons.”

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