Jordan is back with week two of date night recommendations. As always, you can find thousands of date night plans over on idk tonight, the date night platform with an app coming this summer.
Below are this week’s top recommendations for when you want to spoil yourself...on any budget.
$: Rincon Criollo x Delicioso Coco Helado @ The Bronx
For when you’re feeling cheap and fabulous.
Rincón Criollo is the heart of traditional Puerto Rican music in New York City. Built in the late 1970s by founder José Manuel “Chema” Soto, the one you see today is an incarnation of its original form, but still holds the same sentiment for the community.
In peak outdoor season, the community gathers every day of the week to relax and play dominoes, or hold plena or bomba jam sessions. During the larger concerts, hundreds of people convene for festive afternoons of food, family fun, and music that you won’t hear in many other places around New York City.
After you've enjoyed a taste of San Juan community, head over to Delicioso Coco Helado for another tropical frozen one that you can eat. You know those tropical frozen treats sold from carts on the street during the hot summer months? This is your place. The Bronx factory is the heart of the Thiebaud family run business: “35 years of fun, hard work and desire to produce the very best (real fruit) frozen tropical treats in New York City.” Talk about the fruits of labor.
For when you’re ready to put a little money where your (and your date’s) mouth is.
In the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, neon lights read “Sake Bar Hagi46” and just underneath, in a playful text, “Heaven’s Kitchen.” Dimly lit and easily crowded, Sake Bar Hagi46, a cozy Japanese eatery, is brightened by off-white brick walls and hanging red lanterns.
Order from an eclectic and comprehensive menu featuring everything from pork gyoza and fried frog legs to ramen, soba, and udon noodles, to sushi, and sashimi. You can also find some off-beat fusion items on the list, like pizza tempura, sake sangria and for dessert, a green tea mille crepe.
Just a block away is Don’t Tell Mama, renowned for its eclectic piano bar experience that offers all of the following: live jazz, sing-a-longs, comedy groups, musicals, and cabaret. This is where you go if you want to get in deep and get rowdy. With two cabaret rooms, a piano bar, and a restaurant, this can almost be like a choose your own adventure. If you’re just popping in for a random evening of music, hit the piano bar.
Here, even the waiters are known to burst into song occasionally—which is often pleasant, since some of them have been known to appear in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. If you’re lucky, you might see a celeb lead the diverse crowd in song; Joan Rivers, Bette Midler, Kristin Chenoweth, and Audra MacDonald are just a few of the incredible talents who have come through here.
For when you want to put your elegant pants on.
In 1951, Gordon Bunshaft built Lever House—today, Casa Lever combines original designer Marc Newson’s edgy vision with William T. Georgis’ modern restyling in 2009. Serving up a refined, elegant menu of Milanese dishes, Casa Lever treats guests to the finest Italian fare. The food is authentic and infused with flavorful nuance, the space is sleek, modern and decorated more memorable than most eateries.
Inside, guests dine among one of the world’s largest collections of original Andy Warhol paintings, courtesy of the Lever House Art Collection. Aside from the food, the wine list offers impeccable and affordable options from small producers like Monenidoli and Thurnhof. If this means nothing to you, you’re in luck; the sommelier is knowledgeable and ready to guide you.
On your journey of architectural elegance, the Peninsula hotel’s rooftop bar, Salon de Ning, is a required next stop. Walk out onto the terrace and the view will take your breath away. The ambiance is immediately warm and welcoming courtesy of candlelight and outdoor patio furniture built for upscale country decks, and surrounding high rises add glittering light to the space. Inspired by the tale of Madame Ning, a celebrated Shanghai socialite and international traveler who hosted salons in her homes around the world, Salon de Ning follows the style notes of her 1930s Manhattan penthouse. It combines antique with modern styles and merges that with an international flavor—think Moroccan lanterns, Chinese screens, and a corridor of Venetian mirrors. You’ll find the 23rd-floorglass-enclosed lounge to be so mesmerizing, even the traffic below will feel romantic. Order the signature Ning Sling and allow yourself to be enchanted.
For when you want to *ball out* and get extravagant.
For this over-the-top date, you might as well go big. Your night begins at the high-end Sushi Ginza Onodera in Midtown with Edomae omakase-only sushi tasting. Edomae sushi style involves a more-than-meets-the-eye aging process that dates back to the Edo period to preserve the fish and develop the flavor. With fish shipped in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji market and white rice from Niigata Prefecture, you’ll get a true taste of Japan without the passport.
In this pared-down, yet warm setting you’ll see sushi chefs working as conductors to masterfully coordinate an orchestra of fresh fish and ingredients to create works of art present on beautifully glazed ceramic plates. Each course is meant to be savored by focusing on the simple, yet complex flavors and textures.
A nightcap with skyline views of Manhattan will bring your night to a close, head over to the Top of the Strand located on the 21st floor of the Marriott Vacation Club hotel for a relaxed rooftop bar with iconic views of the Empire State Building.
Cuddle up on a couch while sipping on champagne in this cozy, yet modern space. Don’t let the season scare you away, there’s a retractable roof to keep you warm without disrupting the view.