Valentines for two students
My girlfriend and I are looking for a good balance of ambiance and food on valentines day. Our budget is around $60 for two (before drinks). We live in downtown Manhattan but are willing to travel to Queens and Brooklyn.
I think carub's suggestions are good, but I have some other ideas for you to throw into the mix.
If you like Japanese food, consider Soba Koh or Kamui Den. I just went back to Soba Koh the night before last with my girlfriend. Their food is very good, the ambiance is relaxed, and they play very nice modern jazz on their stereo system. We had a bowl of soba apiece and shared a dessert of black sesame pudding. The total cost, including tax and tip but with no drinks except the very good and repeatedly refilled complimentary tea, was $49. Kamui Den has a broader menu. If you go there, I recommend the eel. I don't see the dish on their menupages.com menu, but it's basically eel glazed with a sauce including soy sauce, broiled, and put over rice.
Another thought is, if you want to be in a darker room that may feel more romantic, consider Cacio e Vino. They always seem to have a good half-price bottle of wine on special, and you can enjoy sharing antipasti and a pizza or schiacciata there. If you do go there, though, definitely get reservations for Valentine's Day.
Also, general point: You should check with any restaurant you're interested in on whether they will have a narrower, less interesting, more expensive menu especially for Valentine's Day. A lot of places do that, because of the hassle of dealing with an "amateur night" crowd of people who usually don't eat out. But it sucks for the rest of us!