In our first installment of Zoe Recommends, our resident Sex+Love guru, Zoe Nightingale breaks down the best places for regular folks to take their dates when a meal is required. Note-taking encouraged, reservations required.
Per Se has a nine-course tasting menu of sensual and decadent food. It is the perfect place if you’re dating a Patrick Bateman-Wall Street-finance-sociopath with an unlimited Amex and suits that cost more than your rent. It’s so expensive that whoever doesn’t pay for the meal will have to get down on their knees and take one for the team. Zoe recommends bringing French aristocrats with a “de” connecting their 3 names, Old Money Americans that used to own things like “The railroads” or “The banks”, men who are draped in gold and say things like “buy the whole island, what do I care,” Swiss bankers and Canadians who were sent to boarding school in England.
Blue Hill is so farm to table where you can taste the white privilege. Beautiful, simple food, heavily focused on the vegetables they grow in their upstate garden. So fresh at times you feel guilty for stealing food right out of Peter Cottontail’s mouth. Requires the GDP of Angola to pay the bill. This place is good if you’re on your fourth date and you still haven’t given it up and the guy is like a Pavlovian dog waiting with baited breath just to smell your clavicle.
Gorgeous, candle-lit white brick-walled masterpiece full of fresh pink roses and peonies – it’s exactly the kind of place you wanted to believe you’d be eating dinner at when you moved to NYC. (Instead of the dive pizza place where the owners have faces that look like a cat’s asshole.) This is for romance, and nothing more. Perfect when you’re dating passionate fiery creatures who say things like “your eyes in the moonlight, they are so beautiful.” Zoe recommends bringing tall, dark and handsome Europeans. If you’re in the mood to drink explosively delicious red wine and then spontaneously erupt into the Argentine Tango, this is the place for you.
Again, only advisable if you’ve recently found a pot of gold or stolen the wallet of your latest trick. Fancy, fancy, fancy, but goddamn is it delicious. This is a place for celebration and Tantric eye gazing over flickering light. This is for classy quieter types. As in, anyone whose ancestors lived on Viking ships eating smoked fish, own “mid-century modern” wood furniture, have elevators open directly into their apartments, take Barre class and bring those little socks that look like they were stolen from a plane but were actually $18, or professors who have tenure at Columbia and have leather patches on their elbows.
Have you ever wanted to go somewhere where everyone is silently thinking to themselves, “do you have any idea who I think I am?” People so goddamn cool their clothing only comes in asymmetrical draped layers and oddly shaped hats. People who are such a caricature of hipsters that you think to yourself the end of the world is near because this couldn’t possibly be what the future generation looks like. Haircuts that look like Freddie Kruger put a bowl over their head and went to town? Then this is the place for you! $15 cocktails with things like bacon and fennel foam in them. The food is so good, and so weird, and so experimental it feels like a small mariachi band is playing in your mouth. I recommend this place ONLY for people who’ve moved to Brooklyn from Portland, who quote David Foster Wallace and still listen to They Might be Giants and Elliot Smith.
Have you ever wanted to be so close to models that you can see the faint outlines of Casper The Friendly Ghost around their nostrils? Have you ever wanted to eat a $21 guacamole? Do you love standing on tables and showing off how much money you have? Hurray! This place is perfect. I recommend bringing models, wannabe actresses, webcam girls, old guys with gold watches, aging heiresses who only wear heels that could gouge out an eye, and anyone LGBTQ who says “fierce” too much.