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Find me this Restaurant!

1. Romantic. Preferably we can sit next to each other in a booth/love seat contraption.
2. Chef is well-respected amongst fellow chefs.
3. Food is amazing but not overly pretentious/intimidating.
3. Reservations are not impossible to get. (I will be visiting from out of town).
4. Price is not ridiculously high.

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  1. For #1: Can you explain more what you mean by pretentious/intimidating food? Are there places in NYC that you consider to be pretentious/intimidating? Are there particular dishes or ingredients you think are? Foie gras, lobster, more? Are you willing to wear a jacket for dinner? What foods are you comfortable eating, typically, in your everyday diet?

    For #2 and #3: There are a lot of amazing restaurants in NYC where the chef is well-respected and you can dine side by side, BUT some people also think these same restaurants are pretentious, intimidating, etc. Some concrete examples would help. It's very difficult to make recommendations without knowing more about what you seek.

    For #3: Restaurants in NYC tend to be simple to book as long as you are planning a few weeks ahead of time, and there are only a few exceptions to this rule. Restaurants in NYC take reservations usually 31, 30, 28, days in advance or similar. The most popular places will book up right after they open up their books. BUT you can ask to be put on the waitlist or call day on the day of and ask about cancellations. Places that recently opened and have gotten good reviews can also be hard to get into if you don't call early enough (like 4 weeks in advance or 10am on the dot 1 month in advance).

    For #4: What do you mean by "not ridiculously expensive"? $300 per person, not including tax, tips, wine/drinks? $200 per person? $100 per person? Make sure you are thinking of the whole picture: tax, tips, wine/drinks/etc.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      My date and I should feel relaxed. The food should be good, really good, but I do not want presentation to overpower our conversation. WD-50 seemed a bit over the top. Marc Fargione's place (Forge), mentioned below, looks almost perfect (price, food, presentation, chef) . . . I'm just not a fan of those chair-and-booth combinations.

      $250 is my budget for two, including wine, tax, and tip. I'm a fan of tasting menus.

      Other things to consider are whether there is a nice lounge/bar nearby. I'm all about sitting on a couch with my date and drinking in some place jazzy.

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      WD-50
      50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

      1. re: TommyJayDee

        For the jazzy lounge/bar, I recommend the Black Duck, a restaurant and lounge connected to the Park South Hotel. I already wrote a glowing review of a dinner there somewhere on this board, but I just have to recommend the lounge area too. There are lovely couches and live jazz music on weekends- my date and I found it very relaxed and romantic. (The food was great too!)

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        The Black Duck
        122 East 28th Street, New York, NY 10016

    2. Recent Dinner at Marc Forgione was terrific. Quiet and intimate, interesting and tasty menu and terrific wines without astronomic prices. Check out website

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      Marc Forgione
      134 Reade Street, New York, NY 10013

      1. How about Corton in Tribeca?

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        Corton
        239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

        1 Reply
        1. re: actarheel

          Loved my meal at Corton. It was beautifully presented, the staff was great, the tasting menu was lovely and, most important, the chocolates at the end were AMAZING!!!

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          Corton
          239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

        2. This is a bit difficult. It's one of those shocking reminders that in NYC, $250 for two people is actually "mid-range" - sheesh.

          First, Corton is out. At $85/pp prix fixe, plus two glasses of wine each - assume $15/glass average at any fancy resto - you're looking at $230 before you've even added tax/tip.

          So, let's break down the math: $250 befor t/t (assuming a 20% tip) comes to $194 - let's use $200 just to have a nice round number. Subtract $30/pp for wine, and you've got a pre-t/t food budget of around $70. That leaves out most of your high-end prix fixes, and pretty much any tasting menus.

          So, with that budget in mind, there are a few lovely, potentially romantic (depending on your definition) options. After each I've listed the price of a three course meal - either the prix fixe, or were you to order the most expensive app, entree and dessert:

          Blue Hill - 66
          Mas (Farmhouse) - 68 PF / 66 a la carte
          Little Owl - 60
          Savoy - 53
          WD-50 - 69

          ...and the aforementioned Marc Forgione.

          Of the above, Savoy might be the most romantic - just make sure to request a table in the room with the fireplace. I also included WD as they're a fun option, and not as pretentious as you think - in fact, not pretentious at all. "Playful" is the word I use to describe them. It's adventurous, sure - but it's good conversation food. I find it's one of the better date restos because of that.

          As to the specific seating arrangements... you're on your own with that. You might have to cross that requirement off your list.

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          WD-50
          50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

          Blue Hill
          75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

          Little Owl
          90 Bedford Street, New York, NY 10014

          Savoy
          70 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012

          Mas (Farmhouse)
          39 Downing St, New York, NY 10014

          Marc Forgione
          134 Reade Street, New York, NY 10013

          Corton
          239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

          2 Replies
          1. re: sgordon

            How very informative and depressing! I'll try to skimp on other areas (i.e. hotel) and see if I can increase my eating budget to open up more options. Looks like a toss up between WD-50, Corton, and Forgione's.

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            WD-50
            50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

            Corton
            239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

            1. re: TommyJayDee

              Forgione's is great! I went there for dinner with a friend. The table i was seated at have that L shape booth config so we were next to each other. that would work for u