A group of friends is treating a couple to a romantic, "child-free" dinner for two either in Manhattan or Brooklyn (or anywhere in the metro area). I've noted a couple of recommendations from previous posts, but would welcome suggestions for both good food and good atmosphere (and a reliable hashgacha).
Thanks in advance!
Not surprisingly, I'd say it depends on what the couple likes:
Va Bene, recommended by one of the replies, is dairy, but some people don't think it's a serious meal unless it's meat. If your couple likes dairy Italian, I'd recommend Il Patrizio over Va Bene, which offers cramped seating and lights that are too bright for a romantic dinner.
Italian/meat? I'd take Domani over Tevere for similar reasons: Domani is much more comfortable (at least the back room is) and has very solicitous service, as someone mentioned already.
Steak? Prime Grill is zooish, it's true; you can't hear yourself talk and you're almost guaranteed to wait before being seated. I like Talia's Steakhouse a lot (esp. later in the evening, when they dim the lights -- and order the souffle for dessert).
I've only been to the Box Tree once. It's clearly a very intimate place, but the time I went we were forgotten by the service (although they tried hard to make up for it after we complained). The food was very good too. Bottom line? I'd hesitate to recommend it after only one visit. If you're looking for French, I'd recommend the Bistro Grill in Great Neck first.
As for Brooklyn (where I live), I don't think anything fits the bill you described.
Good luck deciding and it's a very nice thing you're doing for the couple in question.
My favorite is Va Bene on 2nd Avenue. It's dairy Italian and is quite good, with a nice atmosphere. I didn't enjoy an evening I spent at Prime Grill at all.
I've never been to the Box Tree but I've heard about the prices, and it would have to be super-spectactular perfection to justify prices like that. I've been looking around to hear more reports about it.
I also had a nice dinner once at Tevere 84 (or is it just called Tevere now?) but would still probably go back to Va Bene first.
Box Tree is VERY romantic and VERY expensive but is a special place, Prime Grill is nice, great food and great drink, however, it has a large business crowd and is a little noisy. Domani on First and 83 is a very authentic northern italian with fantastic service and very quiet. If you call ahead, they will have wine or other special items waiting for you. Tevere 84 is also Italian and is small and romantic. Do not recommend Wolf & Lamb.
Prime Grill has great food, a pretty good wine list, and great martinis. It is not quiet or romantic; however, there is a private room that will accomodate up to 15 people (extra charge for the room).
Tevere 84 is romantic: opera music in background, attentive staff, etc.
Both are under OU supervision.