I discovered by accident a charming little Italian restaurant 1 block from the Metropolitan Museum which is kind of like the ones you might see in MGM movies, called Giovanni's Venti Cinque. It is a small walk-down with delicious (albeit expensive) fare.
I totally agree that it's a gem (although I wouldn't suggest it for Singar's fine dining evening.) However, I, too, discovered if by accident after an afternoon at the Met, and I am so gald that I did.
Agree re: Degustation. When I first read a post here that it was open kitchen/bar seating AND intimate I didn't believe it. Then I went. It was dark, cozy, quiet and surprisingly romantic. Service is excellent too. And you already mentioned the food . . .