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May 27, 2009 11:55 AM

Anniversary Dinner - Please help me decide!

My husband and I are celebrating our first anniversary and can't decide which top NYC restaurant to go to. We're thinking either Le Bernardin, Daniel, Corton or Scarpetta (we haven't been to any of these places before). We're adventurous eaters and just want to make sure we go to a place with a nice, romantic ambiance and great service. Which place do you think will give us the most special, memorable meal/evening?

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  1. We've not been to Scarpetta yet, but we have been to the other three.

    Our experience at Daniel dates back to before the total refurbishment, but from the photos I've seen of the new decor, it doesn't look particularly romantic. What I can tell you from personal experience is that, while we've always had superb cuisine at Daniel, the last time we were there, there were several very serious service problems. So, I hesitate about recommending it for a special occasion.

    We've had dinner at Le Bernardin and Corton within the past two months. The cuisine at Le Bernardin, start to finish, was extraordinary, and service couldn't have been more professional or attentive. However, the room does absolutely nothing for me. As with the one other time we've been there many years ago, regardless of how much they attempt to camouflage it, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was dining in the lobby of an office building, which is precisely where the restaurant is located.

    I found Paul Liebrandt's cuisine at Corton to be inventive (without being too "way out") and delicious. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for Pastry Chef Robert Truitt's desserts, which were a major disappointment. There were two on our tasting menu: one was just o.k., but the other was downright awful! Corton's service staff is one of the best -- less reserved than Le Bernardin's and just as attentive. As for Corton's space, it turned out to be far more appealing than photos I'd seen of it. Those made it seem barren and cold, which it is not. The decor is minimalist modern, though, so you have to like that style. One caveat: When the room is full, the noise level can get very high.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RGR

      After it had been on my "go to" list for the longest time, we finally had dinner at La Grenouille for the first time a few weeks ago. The thing that immediately struck me is how many tables they've jammed into the room, and that there is barely any space between them. That removed any feeling of romance for me. However, the legendary floral arrangements are gorgeous, and the two dining areas have a lovely rosy glow about them. Service is professional without any hint of snootiness, and the food is delicious.

    2. Scarpetta has very good food but I think it lacks that romantic ambiance you are seeking for this special occasion. Save it for a birthday!

      One of the most romantic spots I like is not a "big name" place. It's Gascogne in Chelsea. If you like French and game, you'll enjoy this spot - it's warm and rustic and romantic.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LBNJNY

        Gascogne is truly romantic, whether indoors or outside in the beautiful garden. and the food is always delicious.

        If you are looking to spend big bucks on "delicious and romantic," I suggest La Grenouille. It's famous for that!

      2. First, I agree and second all of the above. However, I don't know how fancy a place you want (c.f. great food, which all of the mentioned restaurants feature), but the suggestions of La Grenoiulle and Gasgogne, while both excellent, are miles apart as to decor. And, being an old couple, we still like to celebrate things at the Four Seasons. Sorry, the tuxes never get old.

        1. Of the four, I'd probably pick Daniel, but I don't think any of them are romantic...of course, any meal with your spouse can be romantic...
          I feel I must point out the postings on this and other sites which have complained about time limits on tables at Le Bernardin for early bookings-I have no first hand experience of that, but if you chose to eat there, be sure to ask if the table is yours for as long as you want it when you book (or follow up right after you use opentable)-it would be a shame to have something like that ruin your dinner.

          1. Definitely Le Grenouille. The most romantic room in the city. The food will not disappoint either.