Other than eating, cooking, and snarky commentary, I have little to offer you on Valentine’s Day. Even when I was lucky enough to be codependent and blinded by love in a relationship, I wasn’t a huge fan of anything about this “special day” unless it had to do with eating. So…this is what I can do for you: suggestions for last minute Valentine’s Day dining, based on the personality type you are dating. High five for generalizing based on stereotypes!
10 Types of People and Where To Take Them in NYC
The One: Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Marea, Morini, Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern
- So I haven’t been to all of these places, but that’s because a lot of these places are meant to be shared with someone you love, and I don’t even LIKE very many people. It’s tough, but I make it happen for the food. I’ve been to Gramercy Tavern, Marea (the fusilli pasta with octopus, red wine and bone marrow, pictured, is one of the best pastas I’ve ever had) and Morini (guess you could say I’m a big fan of Michael White). Bonus: Zagat just released a survey that the most consumed dish on Valentine’s Day is Italian, so let’s run with that.
The One You’ve Been With For a Long Time: Empellon al Pastor, The Randolph, Emmy Squared
- Kudos to you, relationship people! But don’t pretend like you want to be wined and dined. You want to be fucked and fed. It’s very different (sorry Mom, if you’re reading this). You want to go with something very casual, delicious, and no resy’s required. Tacos at La Superior or Empellon al Pastor are a great option, and The Randolph in Williamsburg is just chock full of retro vibes and fatty stuff to quench your dehydrated appetite. I added Emmy Squared because they’re on Caviar (PRAISE THEM), and chances are this place will be bumpin tonight so might as well just order in.
The Sociopath: Sant Ambroeus, Extra Virgin, Emily, Nobu, Lilia
- Ahhh my favorite!! Anti-social, lack of genuine human emotion and/or remorse for people’s feelings. We’ve all dated at least one. BUT they are usually smart and appreciate a good meal, because the sociopath loves nothing more than instant gratification and stimulus of the senses. So here’s what you do: pick a place you know they like (or close to it) and make sure it’s busy enough/loud enough that your date won’t be forced into making conversation with anyone else. They be crazy but they have that way of making you feel special (but you’re not), so return the favor!
The Hipster: Maison Premiere, Estela, Lilia (again), ANYTHING in Williamsburg, Greenpoint or Bushwick
- You know a hipster when you see one. The term is now loosely interpreted; it seems all you need to fit this mold is a plaid shirt from H&M and a beanie. But for the trained eye, you know the REAL hipster has skinny, faded jeans (because they were bought years ago and worn in at Burning Man), and a distaste for anything deemed “trendy”. Under the radar restaurants and bars are your best bet here. Bonus points if they serve cocktails out of mason jars. Maison Premiere in Williamsburg is one of the first places I ever reviewed for another website, and it’s still one of the best spots in the area for cocktails, ambiance, and light bites.
The Bro: Santina, La Sirena, Revel, Scarpetta, Del Posto
- This guy probably thinks anything in the Meatpacking area is good, so…do that. But you could also make sure you’re getting good food, not just trendy bullshit. I don’t go anywhere or recommend anything that doesn’t have good food. Be advised you most likely need a res for these, but pro tip: hit Bathtub Gin afterwards for cocktails. It’s got that cool, speakeasy thing going on (but be advised they sometimes hold the line).
The Tinder/Bumble/Happn/Hinge/Jswipe date: Zero Otto Nove, Upland, Hardings
- If you’re having a first date with an app person on Vday, first of all, slow clap for you. You are braver than I. But I digress. My advice for something like this would be relatively casual, with good drinks/bar vibes and solid menu. My theory being, if the date is a COMPLETE disaster, you can look back fondly on your food memories. You’ll notice I have also picked a bunch of places in the Flatiron area. A lot of times when I’m in this area and try to find a bar, I get frustrated, give up, and go home. So this is a safe bet for anyone who needs to escape right after the meeting is over. Very little chances they’ll say “oh I know this great bar right over here”. NO YOU DON’T. BYE.
The Meat Eater: The Beatrice Inn, St Anselm
- The Beatrice Inn is a carnivore’s paradise. Chef Angie Mar designed it that way, and we love her for it. You can get everything from a modest 30-day dry aged rib steak, to an over the top 200-day whiskey aged Tomahawk ribeye. Finish things off with bone marrow creme brulee (trust me) and a smoked Manhattan, one of the best damn cocktails in the city. Please note that this place IS pricey, so if you’re going to commit, you should know that going in. St. Anselm is my other favorite meat place, and it’s in Williamsburg. They don’t take reservations though, so I would go EARLY or I would go LATE.
The Vegetarian: I can’t really help you. JUST KIDDING! Cafe Clover, Bar Velo
- Cafe Clover is one of my favorite spots, and I’m not kidding. It’s NOT “vegetarian”, but it’s wonderful and has a lot of veggie options. The food is consistent (biggest thing for me), and the cocktails sound healthy. There’s one that’s basically green juice with vodka in it. Everybody wins! Bar Velo on the other hand, is a fantastic spot in Williamsburg/Bushwick and it IS a vegetarian/vegan menu. The space is so charming (and actually charming, not real estate listing charming), and the food is delicious. I’m no vegan – I’d put steak on my steak if I could – but I loved the food here. The lentil pate with truffle toast, and the fettuccine with tomato sauce, basil oil, and breadcrumbs are a must. The cocktails are wonderful too, and they sometimes have live music!
The Drunk: Lure Fishbar, The Breslin, The John Dory Oyster Bar
- Here’s the key for the one who likes to knock back a few (or a few dozen). Carbs, grease, and a bar area either inside the restaurant or next door. They ALWAYS want a nightcap, and you have to be prepared with a suggestion or else they might get angry and spit on you. Just kidding that doesn’t happen to me. Sometimes. I’d suggest Lure based on good food (the burger is awesome) and proximity to other bars. It’s in the SoHo area – you’ll be fine. The Breslin I chose ALSO based on great food (with another wonderful lamb burger), but mainly because there’s the John Dory Oyster Bar right next door, AND it’s in the Ace Hotel. So if you’re date is in need of a bed…for either reason…you’re good to go.
The Ex: Nothing. Stop fucking dating your ex. MOVE ON.
- No really I’m not helping you. You’re stupid and he/she will never love you. Enjoy the sex though because that’s always great with someone you hate.