Best NYC Restaurants For Valentine’s Day 2015
Ok, we all know that only suckers go out to dinner on Valentine's Day. Suckers for LOVE, that is! Because even though many restaurants only offer semi-ridiculous, super pricey prix-fixe menus that don't necessarily play to the kitchen's strength but, rather, are heavy on fake-aphrodisiacs like caviar and oysters and such–also: the champagne suddenly seem even more marked-up for some reason?–if you're in love, or want to be, who cares?! It doesn't "seem" romantic, it IS romantic. So if you're lucky enough to have a sweetheart this Valentine's Day, and he or she really wants to a nice (or day) on the town, go for it. Here's a few suggestions to get inspired…
I'm going to start with my favorite, which sounds like so much fun I'd be tempted to go eat it by myself. Brooklyn's Brucie is one of my favorite restaurants in the city on any night, for the first-rate food and friendly atmosphere, but on Valentine's they're just getting cray with a Kim and Kanye dinner, which maybe sounds even better than last year's Beyonce feast. For each of the five courses (plus an amuse bouche), you can choose from either the Kim or the Kanye menu–highlights include the "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy", which is Squid Ink Tagliatelle, Duck Confit, Coconut, and Microgreens, from the Kanye; and the Karrot Kate, with Goldschlagger and Salted Karamel, from the Kim–for an almost reasonable $100. If this doesn't win you points with your date, you might want reconsider some things…
Nobu Next Door
Most of the brand-name spots in town throw a Valentine's love festival, knowing that inexperienced NYC restaurant-choosers will be drawn to their logo, and Tribeca's Nobu Next Door is no exception. No question, this will be a lovely evening, with loads of high-quality sushi, sashimi and other, highly unique seafood-based delights, all courtesy of Chef Matsuhisa's team. You will only have one option, though: the $175 omakase, with the usual $110, $130, and $160 option not available on the 14th. But if your loved one loves raw fish as much as you love him (or her), this could be a splurge that's worth it.
Or you can mix things up this year by doing a long, sexy, satisfying… lunch! That's right, because Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday, several high-end restaurants are offering extravagant mid-day meals, including one of the city's most renowned restaurants, Daniel. The flagship, and most luxurious, establishment in Chef Daniel Boulud's empire, Daniel will be hosting a four-course tasting menu (the courses are called Delicate, Seductive, Tender, and Sweet, and feature such luxuries as Seabass with Ossetra Caviar, Veal Tenderloin, and Steamed Honey Cake) between noon and 2:30 on the 14th for $225, with wine pairings, selected by Sommelier Ray Vaidya, for an additional $125. Then you can go home and take a nap, or whatever else you want to do in bed.
Continuing with the Valentine's daytime-fun idea, you can get a scrumptious brunch in Brooklyn's Prospect Heights at the excellent James for $45, which includes your choice of things like Blackberry Stuffed Brioche French Toast, Pork Belly and Artichoke Hash, and Pumpkin Ricotta Cheese with Dulce de Leche. James is a charming, welcoming, cool-without-pushing-it restaurant that has become something a neighborhood brunch institution, and their Bloody Mary was recently called one of the best in NYC. If you and your cutiepie have never been, this might be the day to try it.
One of my all-time favorite meals in NYC was the Del Posto tasting menu, which I was fortunate enough to feast upon for a birthday dinner back in 2006, right when Mario Batali's opulent, four-star restaurant opened in the Meatpacking District. It was amazing. And while so much has changed in the city's dining scene since then–not to mention the prices of places like Del Posto!–this is still a sure bet for that Valentine you really want to wow. There are three menu options at Del Posto on Valentine's Day, a five-course meal for $245, or you can choose from a pair of eight-course feasts for $295. Expect dishes like Black Truffle Risotto, Veal and Pork Anneli with White Truffle Butter, and Chocolate and Raspberry Fantasia per Due, all served in impeccable old-world style.
Finally, and since we're touching upon so many of NYC's heaviest hitters, let's see what David Bouley's up to in his Tribeca Kaiseki restaurant Brushstroke on Valentine's Day. Oh! Nice! Chef Yamada (in the kitchen) and Chef Ichimura (behind the sushi bar) are offering a $225 Kaiseki tasting menu OR a $150 version that's entirely vegetarian. I've never eaten here, but from what I understand it is a supremely relaxing–and wonderful tasting–experience. “As chefs," says Bouley, "we must allow ourselves the power to complement Mother Nature and to bring her out with her own hand. This is the goal of Brushstroke.”