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Feb 15, 2010 02:15 PM

Special Occasion with a twist (haven't seen this covered elsewhere)

Hi all - looking for recommendations for a great restaurant to celebrate an engagement (proposal will NOT be at dinner, but the dinner will be to celebrate it).

The twist/hard part is that, although I'm looking for a restaurant with excellent food and a great atmosphere, my (hopefully) soon to be fiance is visually impaired and can't see all that well in dark restaurants. So I'd like to find a really great place that isn't particularly dark. We are local and I know this is atypical of the restaurant scene. It doesn't have to be super light, just looking for somewhere that sticks out as not as dark as your standard romantic restaurant.

Other details on what I'm looking for: want somewhere with really great food, but we are not exactly foodies (e.g., we enjoy food that is extremely well prepared, but favorite dishes tend more towards salmon, steak, tuna rather than foie gras or caviar). Can be anywhere in the city. Budget is not a big issue - $400ish or less including dinner & drinks for two. Pretty flexible on cuisine, though my top choices would likely be American, seafood, French or Italian.

Please help! Thanks in advance.

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    1. Since you like seafood, would sushi work? I've found that sushi counters tend to be much brighter than the typical cozy & romantic American/French/Italian places.

      I think anywhere with an open kitchen or counter dining would tend to be brighter -- maybe the "pass" at Hearth (assuming you get there early enough to snag it)?

      1. Gramercy Tavern is very good and isn't too dark. Same for Craft. Gramercy Tavern is more "romantic"

        1. Scarpetta's pretty well-lit. Although not precisely what I would call romantic.

          1 Reply
          1. re: small h

            Do note that if you end up in the front area (where the walk-in tables and bar are) it can be pretty dark! Much darker than the main dining room for whatever reason.

          2. Thanks for the input so far. Unfortunately we don't love sushi, though that's a good thought for brighter places. Craft, Gramercy, Hearth, Picholine and Scarpetta all sound like good possibilities.

            Any other ideas? And to clarify, it doesn't have to be a place that screams romance. Just great food, decent atmosphere and we'll provide our own elated happiness/romance.

            2 Replies
            1. re: calbears12

              A Voce, Columbus Circle, should fill the bill. Very good food, beautiful room, winter views (the best time of year) out to Central Park. Explain your situation when you make a reservation. Time Warner Center is more than Per Se and Whole Foods.

              1. re: calbears12

                I think EMP would work exceedingly well with regard to lighting -- not too dark, not too bright, but just right! Needless to say, the cuisine is exquisite, service is superb, and the space is gorgeous!