Intimate and romantic restaurants with great food rec's
I know this is vague but it's for a friend visiting that is pretty open. The main concerns are:
Any location in Manhattan
Any budget - really any they are wealthy
Just need smaller more intimate restaurants with amazing food
She does not want any of the large establishments that have a clubby feel (Nobu and the like) or too stuffy and formal.
Intimate, cozy and romantic with great food and an upscale feel
Any rec's would be greatly appreciated
Jean Georges I would describe as "stuffy and formal" personally. Nor do cozy or romantic come to mind when I think about the dining room. It's very corporate, IMHO, as most high-end Midtown places tend to be.
Bouley fits the bill a little better, I think. A bit more intimate.
SHO Shaun Hergatt is another possibility - given their awkward location, they tend to be less crowded as well, which adds to the intimacy.
Of the four-starrers, Eleven Madison Park and Del Posto are the ones that jump out to me, as they're upscale as it gets but without being too "formal" - neither have a jacket requirement, for example, and the staff at EMP in particular are good at "reading" a given table to see what level of formality / stiffness each expects - they never seem like they're acting happy to serve you, they really come off quite genuine. Same could be said for any of Danny Meyer's places - Gramercy Tavern, The Modern. Also GT, EMP, and Del Posto have a decent amount of space between tables, which adds to intimacy, even if you're in a room full of other people.
The MOST cozy and romantic (at least in terms of ambience) is probably a window-side table at the River Cafe, but that's sadly not in Manhattan...
Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010
42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023
85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011
9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019
SHO Shaun Hergatt
40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004
163 Duane St, New York, NY 10013
I think the food is fine at TRC - a bit overpriced for what they're serving (they shouldn't be in the three-digit prix fixe club - maybe in the 70s or 80s) - but that view! Kind of hard to beat, if you score a table that'll overlap sunset. For the right kind of date, the premium is worth it. And I'm someone who doesn't give two shits about ambience, generally.