I asked if he meant a place that could be a romantic prelude to postprandial lovemaking, like the dark and intimate Raphael Restaurant in the Raphael Hotel (325 Ward Parkway), where a secluded suite is only an elevator ride away. Or did he mean a place that serves cuisine with reportedly aphrodisiac qualities, such as, say, the oysters at City Tavern (101 West 22nd Street) or the decadent chocolate bar at the Peppercorn Duck Club (in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 2345 McGee Street) or the foie gras at Zin (1900 Main)?
All those venues are high in romantic appeal, but there probably hasn't been a dining room with sex as an obvious subtext since the Kansas City Playboy Club at 12th and Baltimore closed in 1975. It had a pretty pedestrian menu, anyway, if you didn't count the vodka-laced "Hot Bloody Mary Soup."
"No," said my friend, without a hint of shame. "I mean a place where we could eat and have sex at roughly the same time. And I don't mean room service."
Honestly, I couldn't think of a place unless, maybe, he was driving a car with really dark tinted windows and pulled into a Sonic Drive-In. His request, as weird as it was, reminded me of when I used to work at a dimly lit Greek restaurant in midtown that had soft, comfortable banquettes (with pillows) where customers could, after a few glasses of ouzo, get a little brazen in their public affection.
No one actually pulled off their clothes or anything inside the dining room, that is. One night, very late, after I finished my shift and was walking to my car in the adjacent covered garage, I noticed a partially dressed couple, in the front seat of a Mercedes, in the heat of passion. Their acrobatics looked extremely uncomfortable, but who am I to argue with spontaneity? And they had been good tippers.
The newest sensuous restaurant (it says so on the menu) is the cozy and attractive Korma Sutra (4113 Pennsylvania) in Westport, where the windows in the dining room have been artfully painted in turquoise and gold, so couples can sup in relative privacy. The lighting is seductively dim, the servers are all attentive and attractive, and the menu features Indian dishes described in adjectives that lean toward the erotic: "tantalizing spices," "tender and appetizing" and "exotic and satisfying."
Just keep your clothes on, OK?