Do it often enough, and dinner dates can become a bore. The evenings start to follow the same rhythm and bleed together: Negotiate what to start with and share, order one of your reliable staples as an entrée, talk about your day, eat, signal for the bill, wonder later if the experience was really worth the price tag, then do it all again. Maybe this could be solved by expanding your palate, or by entering couples’ counseling, but there’s another surefire way to liven up dinners away from the kitchen at home: Don’t just get dinner.
Combine your meal with another activity, or break bread in a very particular set of circumstances, and suddenly you’re more engaged than you’d be otherwise. Try eating dinner while wearing a blindfold or VR headset, or singing karaoke over Korean BBQ -- the experience will stay with you longer than that small talk you had at the usual spot about which Netflix series to start next. Cynics decry interactive dining as mere gimmickry, and perhaps they’re right; but is a gimmick really so bad if it works? After all, there’s no denying the simple pleasure of helping to put together a dinnertime playlist, or the intrigue of catching your own fish and having it cooked to order.
New York City’s filled with all types of experiential dinners, ranging from the relatively passive to the more interactive. Peruse the recommendations below and decide which ones are your speed. At the very least, you’ll have something to reminisce about over future dinners.