We’re big believers that going out should be a special occasion. New fling? Old flame? …our editors and writers recommend these haunts for an intimate evening for two.
Ruth Temianka: Black Mountain Wine House
The lights are low, the wine list long. A log fire blazes brazenly away in the corner, inviting nearby guests locked in intimate conversations to remove a layer of clothing… or two. Outside, the cold wind blustering Cobbled couples like well-heeled tumbleweed down the wide, dark street invites lingering grips. This is Black Mountain Wine House. It’s the stuff fond memories are made of.
Talia Ralph: GG’s
Is there anything more romantic than a fresh-out-the-oven grandma pie with beautiful little pepperoni slices curling up at the edges? No, no there is not. Add to that the perfect candlelight, killer cocktails and a million cute little bars in the area to choose from if you decide you can tolerate your date for another drink (I love Blackbird or the Wayland) and you’ve found youself a date night worth telling the kids about — or just an excellent meal if it turns out you’re not into round two.
Caroline Lange: Molasses Books
Should you find yourself — pink-cheeked, wind-chapped, holding someone’s mittened hand — in Bushwick, you would do well to duck into Molasses, a tiny, funky, bookstore-bar-coffee-shop hybrid over by Maria Hernandez Park. There are books on nearly every surface, a few precariously balanced space heaters to counteract the draft off the door and prime seats by the fogged-up windows (once you push aside the books). Tough to find a cozier spot on a cold night, especially when the twinkle lights are on.
Gabrielle Langholtz: The Spotted Pig
Ten years ago I was on a first date when the universe dealt us a miracle: two Saturday-night seats at the then-new Spotted Pig’s crazy crowded bar. Many cocktails, an order of gnudi and two dozen ice-cold oysters cast a spell that would last a lifetime. Now that we’re married, I’m more likely to hit the Spotted Pig at lunch for the kind of date working parents know all too well: one with myself. Luckily the burger with Roquefort is nearly as good company as my husband, and almost as delicious.
Tove Danovich: Nitehawk Cinema
As an early riser, I’ve long been an opponent of the 9:00 p.m. movie. Unless I want to attempt a weekend matinee, catching the 6-7:00 p.m. showtime either means pretending popcorn and candy is an acceptable dinner substitute or pushing dinner off until after the film. And no one likes a hangry date. Enter Nitehawk, a trendy movie theater in Williamsburg that serves appetizing drinks and eats right to your seat. In addition to a regular menu, they offer specials based off the foods mentioned in the movie (reminding me just how often food is part of any plot). Though they don’t play blockbusters, Nitehawk always seems to feature the handful of smaller films that are at the top of my list. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no better date than one that leaves me both fed and with enough conversational fodder to continue the evening beyond the theater.
Sari Kamin: Maison Premiere
Nothing says romance to me like oysters and cocktails shared with a special someone. Maison Premiere is the ultimate setting for slurping and sipping. The handsome bar will make you feel transported to some kind of old-timey Southern speakeasy. I reccommend a back booth for cozy canoodling. The potent cocktails should help put you in the mood (the oxford stud anyone?) but if not, their ample list of absinthes should do the trick. Pair those drinks with some of the freshest oysters in New York, and you’ll be living easy in no time.
Ariel Lauren Wilson: Kebab Cafe
This Steinway Street landmark in Astoria teems with romance despite itself. Its chef and owner Ali El Sayed — who you could easily find reading and socializing at his restaurant’s stoop during off-hours — was born in Alexandria, Egypt and his dishes reflect this Mediterranean upbringing: think lamb chops draped in pomegranate sauce, silky baba ghanoush and steamy pita. There are no printed menus; what you’re served is determined by possible dietary restrictions and Ali’s predilections. He wears assumes all roles in the restaurant and is both your server and your cook. After presenting his ingredients and taking note of any requests, he delivers portions sized according to the number of diners. If sharing pita to sop up the last of the spiced sweetbreads doesn’t secure an affection, I don’t know what can.
Carrington Morris: Bistro Petit
This teeny tiny corner bistro ingeniously combines French cuisine with North East Asian accents to memorable effect (think Korean Beef Bourguignon or Anchovy Frites served with citrus chile dipping sauce). Before breaking out onto his own, chef/owner Sung Park cooked under the likes of Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Laurent Tourondel among others. But while the high-end pedigree speaks up in the delicious fare, it pipes down in the final tally, with entrée prices hovering around $25. The cozy quarters seat maybe 12 at any given time, so reservations are recommended. BYOB.