In her book Garlic and Sapphires, food critic Ruth Reichl talks about her terrible visits to one of New York's priciest restaurants called the Box Tree. The food was crap, the hostess mean. While Reichl grows angry with her service, she notices a young, cheaply clothed couple looking sad. She asks them some questions and quickly learns they've been saving up for months for this one shoddy meal. Reichl asks if they're disappointed and the young man nods. "But the books! I read all the books and they said this was the best place. The most romantic!"
So one young couple learned what old hands already know: that many a restaurant coasting on its "most romantic" rating does not have good food, or even serviceable food.
The ones that do have good food and are really romantic, like The American, book out months in advance.
all of these quality romantic restaurants also have is a bar. And a while
all martinis are not created equal, ice cold gin and vermouth is easy
to swallow in front of a fabulous view of the city. It's drinking
high class without the unnecessary table.
This idea comes from a barbecue-loving friend of mine who, on his anniversary,
smoked meat with his wife at home and then hit up swanky bars
-- bringing samples of their creations to the bartenders. Between enjoying the free barbecue and hearing stories of the couple's anniversary, many
a bartender comped them drinks that night.
You won't get drinks comped on Valentine's Day, but the added bonus of sitting at the bar is that it gives you the best view of the show that is nice restaurants on Valentine's. You can play a fun game of "guess how long they've been together" or the
even better "guess how long they'll stay together."