42 E. 20th St., btwn. Park & 5th Aves.,
Phone: (212) 477-0777
When in doubt, stick to the classics. They’re reliable and comfortable, which will help keep calm your pre-date nerves. One of our favorite go-to’s year after year is Gramercy Tavern. No one knows how to charm their guests more than restaurateur Danny Meyer. The impeccable service and cozy dining room never fail to set the mood for a special evening. Tell your date that chef Michael Anthony just won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef in New York City” and they’ll immediately be impressed. Then let his food speak for itself. Start out with the beef carpaccio with anchovy aioli. Or, if you’re looking for something a little lighter, order the Summer Vegetable Soup with Fennel Pesto and Mussels (they’re natural aphrodisiacs…). Then, settle into the Flounder with Sugar Snap Peas and Cucumber Gazpacho, or the Duck Breast and Duck Confit with summer squash, pickled cherries, and almonds. If the food alone isn’t enough to get a game of footsie going under the table, give their first-class cocktail menu a try. Spice things up with a “Mezcaliente,” a jalapeno-infused tequila drink, made with mezcal, fresh lime juice, and muddled cucumber. Or, if you’re going for a more subded approach, try the “Mistral Martini.” Made with lavender-infused gin, Dolin dry vermouth, and lavender syrup, it’s definitely one of the sexiest cocktails around right now.