Here, we’ve put together a perfect trio for wining and dining this Valentine’s Day
Navigating in the direction of romance in the murky waters of New York’s restaurant scene is a tricky thing, which is why, for this Valentine’s Day, we’ve picked three spots that are sure bets for perfect evenings. From wine to dinner to dessert, here’s one of each—or, pair them all together for an unforgettable night on the town.
On an enchantingly small West Village street, Aria Wine Bar is the perfect spot to begin or end a night. With a rough rendered wood-beamed ceiling, brick walls, and drink listings scribbled on a chalkboard, it immediately whisks guests out of the city and into a rustic and cozy atmosphere. There are interesting cocktails and small plates of cheeses, charcuterie, and the like, but the experience of coming to Aria revolves around the red, white, and rose bottles stacked on bookcases behind the white-tiled bar. Vinophiles will be impressed with the wine menu sourced from around the globe and heavy into biodynamic and organic wines, and the thing to do here is sample them with wine flights served in shot-sized glasses, as much a showcase of the extensive collection as they are a point of conversation, best done by leaning in to talk closely among the din of other merry drinkers. (Perry St. nr. Hudson St.)
In the ever-changing restaurant scene of New York where a place is in one minute and out the next, there’s something to be said for the politesses and graces of a place that draws upon the romance of the city’s past rather than the trends of its present. At The House, set in a Gramercy townhouse that dates back to 1854, diners are given their table for the evening (in the parlor by the fireplace, or on the second floor gallery beneath the skylights), never hurried, and waited on with discreet and precise service. The food is proper and executed with classic excellence in dishes such as tuna crudo, day boat scallops with pancetta, braised rabbit with fennel, and New York strip with fingerlings. For the most intimacy, book the Chef’s Table, and experience a special menu set in privacy beside the wine cellar. (17th St. nr. Irving Place)
Whimsical and sweet in every way, Sugar and Plumm is not only a staple dessert spot on the Upper West Side but in the city as a whole. And for good reason: With its eclectic menu and playful design, it’s just as easily stopped in for a crepe and a coffee after a midday walk through Central Park as for a nighttime dessert cocktail and slice of homemade cake. There’s an extensive savory menu as well, but it’s the sweet selection here—designed Pichet Ong of Spot Dessert Bar—that takes the cake, literally, with everything from truffles and macarons to six different milkshakes, seven different sundaes, and every imaginable flavor of pie. Add a twist to your nightcap and go for their version of the Old Fashioned, made with house-infused bacon bourbon and chocolate bitters. (Amsterdam Ave. at 78th St.)
(Photo Credit: Elizabeth Lippman)