12/28/12 Engagement night dinner recs for little brother
I am an adventurous diner. My younger brother is not. He is proposing to his longtime girlfriend on 12/28 and looking for a place to have dinner afterwards. Assuming her answer is "YES", I am hoping to send them to some place really special with an accessible menu, comfortable service and incredible atmosphere. I've been to EMP, Per Se and several other truly amazing NYC spots but don't want him to struggle with the menu or feel out of place. Any suggestions? Not concerned about price.
I'd cross out Daniel, as many find it stuffy and uncomfortable and you wouldn't want to risk that.
Craft might be a bit confusing for someone new to fine dining, the idea that one pieces together their meal ordering ingredient by ingredient. It might seem a little too "simple" on the plate - Mr. Steak&Potatoes might not actually see the big deal. Some place with a little more "wow" factor. I'd sooner go with Gramercy Tavern (the classic "entry level" fine dining establishment) or Colicchio & Sons. GT is the more romantic of the two by far, though - more space between tables, etc.
Were it not for the new tasting-only format, I'd say EMP, but oh well...
Bouley is a very good call - it's fancy, yes, but the service is a bit friendlier, the vibe a little more relaxed (while still being somewhat formal) and there's lots more to do in the neighborhood for them after dinner if they want to hang out, go for after dinner cocktails, etc.
Lincoln was also a good call - and I'll throw in Del Posto as well. I think Babbo is the better restaurant than either, overall, but I think for something to "feel" a bit more fancy Lincoln or Del Posto would be better.
One of the weird things about New York is that so much of the best fine dining experiences are in restaurants that aren't at all romantic -- I think it's because so much of their business comes out of expense accounts and men dining together for work don't generally want to hold hands in a darkened room. And people who are there for the food generally prefer more illumination at the table.
Maybe something like River Cafe? The food is just fine and the setting is superb -- assuming that it wasn't too damaged by the hurricane.