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“The Strong Buzz Valentine's Day 2012 Guide”
For Valentine’s, maybe you want oysters and Champagne all night long and your date only eats things that walk on four legs and nothing green. Luckily, there’s a restaurant for every couple in New York. It’s picking the right restaurant that can be the most difficult part, but The Strong Buzz team has done the hard work for you by sifting through the countless possible decisions. So just make the reservation and enjoy. Happy Valentine’s Day!
— Bao Ong
Where: 92 Madison Avenue (at East 29th Street), 212-889-7100, www.millesimerestaurant.com.
On the menu: When you walk into Millesime’s main dining room, you feel transported to another time. The elegant room includes a 100-year-old mosaic floor, a Tiffany dome skylight, long marble oyster bar and beautiful floral arrangements. And that’s only the beginning. Chef Laurent Manrique’s prix-fixe menu — $75 per person — includes tuna tartare, a lobster pot de feu for two and a parfait glacer a l’orange for dessert. There’s also the XOXO cocktail that’s a concoction of Don Julio Reposado tequila, Godiva chocolate liqueur and a white chocolate rim. If you want to continue the night here, you can enjoy live jazz and dance in The Salon downstairs.
Corkbuzz Wine Studio
Where: 13 East 13th Street (between Fifth Avenue and University Place), 646-873-6071, www.corkbuzz.com.
On the menu: The last thing you want to be worrying about on a Valentine’s date is whether you’ve ordered the right wine. So why not take a class as a couple learning how to choose between that smooth, buttery Chardonnay and robust Burgundy? At Corkbuzz Wine Studio, owner and master sommelier Laura Maniec will lead a class, for $50, from 6 to 7 p.m. discussing how to navigate a wine list, some tips on pairing wine and food, introductions to lesser known regions and ordering for others. The class ends with a sweet and dessert pairing. It’s short enough that you can still make a dinner reservation.
Jimmy’s No. 43
Where: 43 East Seventh Street (close to Second Avenue), 212-982-3006, www.jimmysno43.com.
On the menu: It’s not easy being single on Valentine’s, but if you’re going to be dining solo on this holiday, New York is the place to be. Jimmy’s No. 43, while still catering to couples on this day, is also thinking about us unattached ones. With its casual and laidback vibe, you’ll feel comfortable no matter your relationship status. There’s a $10 Tuesday Tasting available where you can pair one of six beers with chocolate. The $25 three-course prix fixe menu features items like oysters with ginger mignonette, hand-cut herb pasta with wild mushrooms and apple tarte tatin among the choices. Jimmy’s is also a great place to linger around for another drink. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your Valentine here after all.
Where: 142 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam), 212-359-6500, www.lincolnristorante.com.
On the menu: Word on the street is that Lincoln is even better than when it first opened. If you can snag a table here, chef Jonathan Benno will serve you a $70-per-person four-course tasting menu that takes you on a trip along the Amalfi coast. His Italian focus here means you’ll taste traditional antipasto and pastas to share. We also love the lighting at Lincoln, where it’s not too dark or bright. You have views of Lincoln Center, making this a perfect romantic spot for a dinner to remember.
Edi & The Wolf
Where: 102 Avenue C (at East Seventh Street), 212-598-1040, www.ediandthewolf.com.
On the menu: The rustic vibe of Austrian tavern Edi and The Wolf is a great fit for a Valentine’s date. I’d argue the food is even better. The $65 three-course menu being served features poached egg with caviar, pumpernickel and baby beets; rib eye with celery root puree, kale, fingerling potatoes and red currants; and molten chocolate cake with dark chocolate sauce and sour cherries. The dishes here taste like comfort food without making you feel guilty afterward. Served in an intimate setting, it’s even better. It’ll make you want to cozy up.
Tolani Wine Restaurant
Where: 410 Amsterdam Avenue (West 80th Street), 212-873-6252, www.tolaninyc.com.
On the menu: There’s something automatically intimate about a wine bar. At Tolani, you get the romantic vibe (with the votive candles and dark wood paneling) but you also can order tasty food. The small and medium-sized plates are meant for sharing and range from grilled octopus salad to mint pappardelle with lamb ragout. You can kick off your evening with a special ginger and brandy cocktail before diving into the $85 chef’s tasting menu, which includes wine, of course.
Where: 622 Third Avenue (East 40th Street), 212-808-8110, www.richardsandoval.com/zengony.
On the menu: For years now, anything called Asian fusion was looked down upon. Lately, though, this style of cooking has been revived. Chefs like Richard Sandoval are to credit. His $65 three-course prix-fixe menu combines Latin and Asian flavors are always creative but approachable. You might order xiaolongbao soup dumplings to start filled with linguica sausage that can be dipped into a jalapeno ginger black vinegar sauce before moving onto the picahna steak served with XO style Dungeness crab. The dining room is also great for an intimate date with its warm vibe and sleek décor — much like the food.
Here's to love, for everyone!
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