Date night is something that is deeply rooted in our culture. It’s a time to meet someone new and to make a connection or to go out with your longtime lover and to reignite the spark. It’s a time to drink, to relax, and most importantly, to eat. The date-night restaurant can be many things—cozy, spacious, casual, refined, and any ethnicity of cuisine—but without a doubt, it must be delicious.
Recipe has been billed as a great date-night restaurant on numerous blogs and via word of mouth. The upper-west-side eatery, opened by the owners of popular Thai restaurant Land, is extremely small and narrow. There is lots of natural light, but the restaurant itself is snug verging on cramped though not the worst thing in the world when you are praying that you accidentally bump knees with the very cute person sitting across from you. The atmosphere is farmstead-chic. Think rough wooden tables with cloth napkins, low music, and dim lighting.
The bread and honey butter is a pricey but worthwhile starter. It’s filled with airy pizza bread, crusty olive bread, and chewy sourdough. Served with soft, creamy butter drizzled with lightly floral honey, it is an auspicious start to the meal.
The grilled cheese with brioche, house-made chicken pâté, and Gruyere cheese is an exciting take on the after-school classic: soft, yeasty brioche sandwiches with nutty Gruyere cheese and a very thin layer of deeply meaty chicken liver pâté. This lacks only a bit of moisture, which a bit of aioli would surely help.
From the small plates portion of the menu, go for the poached farm egg with sugar snap peas, kale, cauliflower, capers, and pine nuts. The egg arrives perfectly poached with a set white and a creamy, gooey yolk. The vegetables are cooked in a lemony piccata-esque sauce, which works well to counteract the egg’s creaminess. Tender cauliflower, vibrant kale, and bursts of salty caper round out this dish so that it is pleasing to many different parts of the palate.
The standout on the dessert menu is the chocolate pignoli tart with creamy caramel, sea salt, and mascarpone gelato. This decadent tart is all bittersweet chocolate, thick, sugary caramel, and the light crunch of sea salt. The pine nuts atop the tart add a pleasantly fatty note to the dish.
Recipe is not cheap, but hey, who wants to be a cheap date? The food is ideal for sharing, the service is excellent, and almost everyone there is on some sort of a date or other. And that’s why Recipe succeeds. Because, just like date night, good food is always in fashion.
452 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024