V-Day's a month out. Nab a table at one of these date-friendly spots and avoid the typical prix fixe gouging that makes you long for singledom's Kung Pao Chicken.
L'Artusi 228 W 10th St, near Bleecker; 212.255.5757 Lady-pleasing with a floor-length marble bar and blue and beige-striped wallpaper, this two-floor trattoria pairs over 600 Euro wines with non-traditional Italian eats like thin-sliced octopus and Wagyu Tongue -- exactly what'll you'll do all night 'til she pity-HJs you. Snuggle up to the menu
The John Dory 85 10th Ave, near 15th; 212.929.4948 By the Spotted Pig guy, this nautical-kitsch seafood shack (oversized shell-crusted mirrors, huge trophy fish) plates salty fare, e.g., grilled Mediterranean sea bass, skirt steak w/ smoked oyster and bone marrow, and a side dish called Jensen's Temptation -- consisting of potato gratin with sardines, for if your date's name is Jensen, and you're tempting her to boot. At least this menu loves you for who you are
dell'Anima 38 8th Ave; 212.366.6633 Pairing ~100 Euro wines plus Italian and NY microbrews w/ inventive Italian, this intimate Willage spot sports two bars, an open kitchen, and a stippled frosting-like ceiling -- like dining inside a cake, from which you'll hopefully emerge naked and yelling "surprise!". Check the menu
Macao Trading Company 311 Church St, between Walker and Lispenard; 212.431.8750 Macao's plating Macanese specialties (Manila clams, Chinese-style pearl ball meatballs, lobster dumplings, etc) in a wood-floored dining room surrounded by a 2nd-level catwalk cluttered with tchotchkes -- if she mentions how badly she wants to clean that mess up, she's the girl for you. Hump this food
Haven 244 E 51st, between 2nd and 3rd; 212.906.9066 This nook-riddled, two-floor Midtown manse's pastiche of themery (Parisian armchairs, bull horns and deer antlers, Hindu statues, etc) complements a global small plates menu boasting the likes of beef tenderloin tartare from Belgium, prime ribeye from Argentina, and Long Island duck meatballs -- from Thailand, where they're apparently fighting American imperialism by stealing our ducks. Check out the grub
Perle 62 Perle St, near Broad; 212.248.4848 Boasting a just-opened underground boudoir to complement their upstairs dining room, this brasserie's plating its traditional French (escargot, boeuf bourguignon, etc) plus V-Day cocktails like French kiss or dark chocolate martinis, and oyster shooters, also known as nature's roofie. May you get lucky with this food
La Cave des Fondus 20 Prince St, between Mott and Elizabeth; 212.966.5073 This almost-too-date-friendly fondue basement serves three slurping pots (Savoyarde, Bourguignonne, and Valrhona chocolate) plus vino in baby bottles, all on two communal farmhouse tables placed against the wall, so one of you has to literally step over the table to sit, leading to chivalry's catch-22: give her the less desirable outer seat, or help her over the table and gaze up her dress. Get the menu