Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jan 11, 2010 08:25 PM

Proposal - restaurant suggestions needed

Hi all, I am planning my proposal to my girlfriend of 3 years and would like some suggestions of great restaurants to do it at. (Don't worry, I am not planning to do it over valentine's day.) She is a wonderful foodie and loves to go out to eat - we don't do it enough, mostly because we love to cook - and really enjoys a great meal. Here are what she loves and what she hates:

- Spicy food

She LOVES nearly everything else (which is great), especially:
- Sushi
- Fish/seafood (however I don't eat shellfish, so I need options too)
- Cheese
- Indian
- American/american nouveaux
- Greek

I want to take her somewhere that will surprise her but is also not like everywhere else we've been. We go out a lot for the things that she loves - sushi, greek, etc. - but I want this to really stand out. Do you have any great suggestions? I am interested in both prix fixe and a la carte restaurants, but I'd like to keep it under $150 each if possible.

Thank you!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. We don't really know where else you normally go, so it makes it hard to give suggestions.... also, will you be trying to order wine under that budget?

    You could look into Mas Farmhouse, Market Table, Perilla.
    For the different factor, there's Stanton Social but only if you go early or on an weeknights.
    Momofuko would fit into your range, and give you different.
    If you've never gone to Jean George, that's something you should do.

    Another suggestion would be to take a trip to the Blue Hill farm outside the city.
    Hiring a private chef to cook for you at home might fall within your budget as well.

    4 Replies
    1. re: sugartoof

      To answer your question, yes, we probably will be ordering wine on the budget but we are not huge drinkers.

      We moved to NY over the summer so we don't yet have anywhere that we "normally" go. We also have a general rule that we don't go somewhere twice since there are so many great restaurants to go to. We live in the UWS and have gone to a lot of the restaurants in the area so I'd like to go somewhere else. Some of the restaurants we have really liked (to give you an idea) include Haru, Ocean Grill, and the Smith.

      1. re: sugartoof

        Momofuku to propose in? That's like proposing in the subway station. :-)

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          Well some people would find a subway kind of romantic.

          Truth be told, I was focusing on the new experience and not the proposal.

          For a proposal, Jean George (and ask for a table that affords a little privacy, and let them know why in advance) or Picholine (from what I've heard, if you let them know you're proposing, they will treat you very, very nicely).

          Diner in S. Williamsburg would also be a non-traditional idea. It's fairly romantic, but funky, in an old train car, in case you're not interested in proposing to someone in the middle of a formal dining room.

        2. re: sugartoof

          I would ditto the Jean Georges suggestion. We did our anniversary celebration there and I found it perfectly romantic.

          EMP would work as well.

          1. re: gutsofsteel

            I second the recommendation of Eleven Madison Park. During the summer, a lovely couple from the UK got engaged right in front of us. Management brought over 2 glasses of champagne to celebrate. The whole thing was lovely and extremely classy.

          2. I second Blue Hill Stone Barns. If you stay in the City for an experience, why not try Daniel in the lounge or the new Oceana where you can sit in a private room in the kitchen.

            4 Replies
            1. re: taboo

              Stone Barns is wonderful, but it is a production. You have to drive/take a car service or take the train and a taxi. I've done all of the above a bunch of times....but it is a production. Although it would certainly make for added special occasion-ness. It's a beautiful, romantic space. They have a 5-course meal for $105 I think.

              But I do NOT recommend that you go to Stone Barns in the cold months. They shine spectacularly when their garden is in full gear - the gorgeous fresh special produce that they grow miss out on the very best of the restaurant (and indeed what makes it unique) if you go in the cold weather.

              Also the grounds are beautiful, it's lovely to have a pre-dinner cocktail outside on the terrace, to walk miss all that in the cold months. Go to Stone Barns in a warmer season.

              In the city, you just can't do better than Eleven Madison Park, in my view. The space is soaring and elegant without a trace of stuffiness, and the service could not be more gracious, professional, and the right level of friendly. I recommended Picholine because it's a bit more intimate and their cheese program is fabulous. Although EMP's cheese plate was pretty darn fabulous a few weeks ago when I was there last.

              1. re: gutsofsteel

                It's interesting to me that she loves Indian food but hates spiciness. Anyway, I'm not here to judge.

                Picholine is a fantastic idea, can't beat the cheese there (take it from a fellow cheese head).

                Allen & Delancey has a new chef who is doing great things. Atmosphere is dark and sexy and they do a nice cheese course.

                There are many incredible sushi restaurants though a lot of them lack the romance factor you may be looking for. One cool idea would be Sushi Azabu, it's a tiny nook hidden underneath the Greenwich Grille. It's definitely intimate and the sushi is some of the best. A little bare bones though in decor.

                I don't agree with the Momofuku or Stanton Social recs, I think they're far too sceney for a proposal imho.

                A few American/New American places: Park Avenue Winter, Red Cat, the Harrison
                I think the warm atmosphere at these places would lend itself well to an evening such as this, with great food to boot.


                1. re: foodie4life

                  oh, and one place that I hear consistently recommended for proposals is River Cafe, with a view of the bridge. I haven't been personally though and I don't know if it can work with your budget.

                  1. re: foodie4life

                    Yeah, I don't agree with my own Stanton Social suggestion either, but some people might like sceney. I've only been there when it was tranquil feeling and calm, which is earlier, or brunch time.

                    I would certainly substitute Park Avenue Winter instead.

              2. As a foodie girl in NYC, I’d like to recommend the Great Hall Balcony Bar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Though not know for the food, it definitely has great ambiance to go with the food, wine, art, and live classical music. They’re open till 9pm on Friday and Saturday, and you could easily stop by ahead of time and get a feel for the place.

                Or maybe the Boathouse in Central Park. Again, going with the ambiance here. If you go with this option, maybe wait for spring time, late March / early April:)

                Otherwise, Milos on W55th is wonderful, lots of fresh, perfectly prepared seafood, in a beautiful room with an attentive wait staff.

                Also Tamarind on E 22nd, one of the best Indian restaurants around! Not necessarily spicy, every dish is perfect, great staff, and they have nice private booths in the back.

                Whatever you choose, best of Luck!

                1. River Cafe is sooooo romantic. Especially at night with the New York City skyline lights, it's breathtaking and perhaps unexpected for those who don't venture from Manhattan.

                  There is a magic in having the Empire State Building in the background of any proposal.