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How to impress a southern woman? Help me chowhounds!

Visiting NYC this weekend to meet for a first date of sorts with a lovely young woman who is originally from the South, and a relative newcomer to Manhattan.

What can chowhounds recommend in the Union Square neighborhood for lunch and/or dinner that is bound to impress?

Some place, a true chowhound place, that will make her wonder..."How did HE, who doesn't even live here, know about this great place in my neighborhood that my so-called friends have never even suggested?"

It'll be our little secret. ;)

I throw the southern in for reference merely - any cuisine will do. I say Union Ssquare, but I would love to hear of any gems here, in greater lower Manhattan or in Brooklyn/Queens neighborhoods bordering the East River, for future reference.

Thank you in advance.

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  1. Take her to Union Square Cafe (16th bet. 5th and Un. Sq. W.) for coziness or Gotham Bar and Grill for a little fancy. Nothing impresses like Meyer as far as I'm concerned.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Nick F.

      Thank you for the suggestion of Union Square Cafe.

      Can you also recommend something a little more unknown? The vibe I am going for is wonderment, i.e., something that does not immediately leap off the page of guides, Gourmet, etc.

      The hidden gem, so to speak.

      1. re: Greg Matthews

        Arturo's pizza is GREAT pizza (very New York), in the Village (very New York), has live jazz (very New York), and feels off the beaten path (at least as celebrity chefs and tourists are concerned).

        Add a stroll around the Village and it's a perfect date.

    2. You might want to try Toqueville, also near Union Square (15th and 5th). Excellent food and very romantic. Not as widely known as Union Square Cafe and Gotham, although certainly not a secret.

      1. Cozy, romantic fine dining with Southern nuances?

        A restaurant raved about on these very boards?

        Look no further than The Red Cat. Delicious food, great ambience, good service.

        (Sounds like a cheesy commerical, but it's really very good!)

        1 Reply
        1. Apologies, I obviously misread your post. I am a west village-ite and so I recommend a few places that will be really wonderful for your date over there but over in union square, even though I currently live here, I am unsure if I can give you somewhere truly "unknown". However, for terrifically romantic places in my neck of the woods that will awe your date, I would recommend Snack Taverna, a modern greek place over on a beautiful corner in the West Village (Bedford+Morton). Service and the light are great and the whole place is tiny. Also another tiny place is The Little Owl (Bedford+Grove) (go figure) where the host is the owner and the cook is separated from you by about what amounts to a curtain. Both places are cozy and away from the flow of traffic and you can't even see any tall buildings in any direction if you go to The Little Owl.

          I know this is a little out of the way, but let me know if it helps.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Nick F.

            In that area, I like AOC Bedford - I would call it Mediterranean cuisine - not quite classic - romantic atmosphere - small and cozy, great service and excellent food.

            1. re: Nick F.

              Definitely no need for apologies! Those sound like great suggestions, Nick.

            2. I too would suggest AOC Bedford. I also think people forget about 'March'. You could take her to The Grocery in Brooklyn as well.