There’s nothing like a great first impression to really raise the bar. Snag a table at any one of Luxury Attaché’s top first date picks to indulge, impress and set the mood.
This rustic Italian gem isn’t going anywhere, which is good news for first time daters and long time lovers alike. It’s not often that one restaurant can be so completely transformative--of space, of taste and of mood. While couples, groups and solo late night diners alike flock to this gem for the insatiable Italian fare, it’s the sheer and utter warmth, and the romantic undertones emanating throughout, that keeps us, as well as everyone else, returning over and over again. Remain downstairs in the middle of the action where the bar is one of the hottest tickets around, or head upstairs for a more intimate setting--either way, order the crispy brussel sprouts, and be sure to share with your date; they’re a game-changer.
There’s no question Jean-Georges Vongerichten knows what he’s doing, especially when it comes to the sultry sister restaurant to his wildly popular ABC Kitchen next door. Truth be told, with its dark unadorned wood, beautifully stocked back-lit bar and bustling open kitchen, ABC Cocina is truly enchanting. It’s all at once inviting, accessible, and exciting, and lends itself beautifully to that picture perfect first date, where sharing is not only a suggestion, it’s a requirement. From fresh fish tacos and meticulously prepared charcuterie plates, to a rich lobster-laden arroz and a seriously killer seasonally-charged sangria, ABC Cocina has it all; add in a touch of romantic whimsy and the perfect ambiance has been set.
There are innumerable reasons why Locanda Verde is still one of the most highly coveted reservations in town. Reaching near perfection with every plate of pillowy-soft sea salt ricotta and juicy, garlic infused roast chicken for two, Andrew Carmellini is just as much a force to be reckoned with as he is one to be enjoyed. This buzzing, casual-meets-cool Tribeca corner is meant to impress, and impress it does, both first timers and perennial diners to be sure. In the end, in this bustling hotspot where unparalleled food meets unrivaled atmosphere, we couldn’t think of a better first (date) impression.
It’s as if a bit of Paris said “Adieu” to France and moved into the heart of Soho. Truth be told, while Raoul’s is an absolute gem that continually packs it in night after night, it is still one of the best kept secrets on a dater’s radar. With a perfect mix of French flair, downtown cool and an unfussy approach to intimate dining replete with vintage pictures dotting the walls, it’s clearly not just their famous plate of perfectly prepared steak frites--piled high and wafting with hints of pepper-- that draws repeat diners and uber impressed foodies to its tables. Like a great first date, Raoul’s hits a high note in all the right places, by simply letting its true colors shine.
At the intersection between Korean, French and Italian influences, comes this brand new West Village gem. It opened quietly, but made a big bang straight out the gate with unfussy, flavor-rich stunners like Toy Box Tomatoes with perlini, basil and sesame or a stellar Suckling Pig with radish, burdock and pear. The same can be said for the decor--an aesthetically inspiring mash-up of natural elements (think reclaimed wood and brick), communal tables, edgy stone-topped bar, and an unspeakable element of feng shui. Recalling the restaurant’s namesake, or “blossom” in Korean, is a gorgeous hand-painted mural, tracing a flower’s progression through the entire length of the restaurant, adding even more beauty. It’s classy yet unpretentious, impressive yet not over the top and the perfect choice for a memorable first time foray.