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Restaurant recco for marriage proposal

Looking for a restaurant recommendation to pop the question on Valentines Day. We will be flying in from Toronto for this, as I can't find a resto here that really provides the total experience.

Ideally, I'd do this at Joel Robuchon in Vegas, as it has all the elements I'm looking for; luxurious interior, sexy, reliably excellent food, impeccable service and a buzz to the room. Unfortunately, we can't spare the travel time. This is in late Friday night, fly out Sunday aft.

Manhattan just has so many choices and though it's the fave city of my fiance-to-be (fingers crossed...), I've never been myself.

That said, here's what I *am not* looking for:
a) Ethnic food - we already get tons here,
b) Italian food - ditto,
c) Old school, where most of the diners are over 50,
d) Tables full of loud salesmen from Milwaukee, hooting it up on expense accounts,
e) Tables full of tourist families checking another item off the itinerary,
f) A place focused on turning tables - the restos we frequent here and in Montreal let you stretch out your meal at your own pace,
g) Waiter attitude - it's one of the most special nights of the rest of our lives, I don't want to have to deal with sneering or snooty waiters and hostesses acting like we're privileged to be there.

So, given that picky list of criteria, can anyone point me in the direction of a night to remember...?

Please and thank you.

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  1. I wish I had a recommendation other than "don't do it at a restaurant on Valentine's Day in New York." If you search the board for older threads you'll see countless stories of boring prix-fixe menus served by indifferent waitstaff.

    Valentine's Day, like New Years Eve, is largely considered "amateur night."

    That said, if your heart is set on this, who am I to tell you otherwise? In that case, I'd aim for Eleven Madison Park, Daniel, Per Se, Momofuku Ko, Jean Georges or go to the Joel Robuchon here...something of that ilk. Those should hold their standards high even on V-Day.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sugar

      I am not sure I'd call any of those sexy or having a buzz to the room.

      1. re: kathryn

        yeah, right. I missed that piece.

    2. A lot of the sexy places I can name aren't really luxurious, and they're often buzzy to the point of being loud. Is that OK with you?

      There are also a lot of places with excellent food and impeccable service that have grand dining rooms that are luxurious and comfy, but lack the buzz and sex appeal you seem to be looking for.

      1. As said above, I'd avoid Valentine's Day as it's one of the most trite days for fine dining.

        That said, I think Per Se would be the absolute best choice for your request. IMO, it is a much better restaurant than Joël Robuchon at The Mansion in Vegas. Try to secure an early reservation to enjoy the panoramic fourth floor view of Columbus Circle and Central Park as the sun sets. Daniel would be a close second overall for its opulent dining room and atmosphere. Jean Georges and Eleven Madison Park are very worthy choices as well.

        In terms of food, Le Bernardin would be right up there with Per Se, but the interior is quite subdued and understated so it probably won't be to your liking.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hcbk0702

          While the food at Per Se is obviously fantastic, I wouldn't call it romantic. If fact, when my husband and I were there before Thanksgiving, we kept remarking how unromantic it was. You're so focused on the food and the show of servers that it's kinda hard to have a romantic moment. That being said, the food was great and if you go, try to get a seat on the second level or maybe near the fireplace. We were on the first level right by the entrance from the bar. That's what we get for getting the reservation the day before.

          Oh and while Valentine's Day is a bit cheesy as a day to pop the question, it's very sweet that you are putting so much effort into it. Good Luck!

          1. re: KateMW

            The Per Se dining room has a rather cool, elegant, but measured aesthetic, which is not unexpected from an Adam Tihany design. But I can't really think of a great restaurant in NYC with the same kind of over-the-top, marble checkerboard and purple velvet style that the Vegas Robuchon flaunts. I don't think either restaurant is terribly romantic, but Per Se's view is certainly a nice perk.

            There are plenty of smaller, non-fine dining restaurants that are romantic, but I don't think the OP is looking for that kind of place.

        2. We had an anniversary dinner at Eleven Madison Park. It had an elegant atmosphere. If you go the restaurant route, this would be an excellent choice. Make sure they know ahead of time so you can pick the time (before dessert, after?) that would work for presenting the engagement ring.

          1 Reply
          1. re: conniemcd

            I wouldn't really call EMP sexy or buzzy, though. It's grandiose but a little restrained and not super luxurious. BUT the service is the best in the city.

          2. Yes, I realize that doing this on Valentines Day is a major league cliche, but I've already had to postpone this more than once. We are both busy and travel frequently so I typically have to plan *surprises* at least 6 weeks out. If I don't do it then, it'll have to wait until spring...

            Didn't realize there was such a hate on for Valentines Day, however...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Thatcher

              A few things to consider when dining out on Valentine's Day:
              1. It's going to be very busy
              2. May feel a bit like "amateurs' night out"; lots of fine dining newbies that day
              3. Could have a very "lovey dovey" sort of vibe
              4. Much higher chance of other proposal events in the dining room
              5. Menus are often dumbed down and prices are jacked up

              I don't think it'll be much of a problem at places like Per Se though. Also, many people will have no issues with most of the above list; in fact, they may enjoy it. It just depends on your preferences.