BLACK MOUNTAIN WINE HOUSE
415 Union St., at Hoyt St., Boerum Hill; 718-395-2614
Fuel: Wood (a cord or two is stacked up on the front deck).
Ambience: Catskills cabin.
Food: Eclectic snacks, from a Polish-bacon-and-mortadella panino to a “Really Expensive Canned Tuna” niçoise.
Hot tip: An enticing wood-smoke scent permeates the room, but at the table in back, you can hear the logs crackle… … .
70 Prince St., at Crosby St.; 212-219-8570
Ambience: Snug 1830s building high on urban-rustic charm, with two fireplaces.
Food: Local and seasonal, and legitimately so, long before the phrase became ubiquitous.
Hot tip: The fireplace is an extension of the kitchen: Through February 29, your cassoulet is cooked right on the firebrick floor. And if you like crème brûlée, it’s toasted with an old-fashioned branding iron of sorts, tossed into the embers until it gets red-hot… … .
64 W. 10th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-505-7777
Ambience: Urban hacienda, with a soaring ceiling and balcony mezzanine.
Food: Multiculti small plates, with the occasional haute fillip of foie gras emulsion or crème fraîche–verjuice foam.
Hot tip: The owners substantially rebuilt the stone-faced fireplace, lining it with stainless steel and extending the chimney 120 feet to placate neighbors; in a previous incarnation as Peter’s Backyard, steaks were cooked in it… … .
KEENS STEAKHOUSE PUB ROOM
72 W. 36th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-947-3636
Ambience: Lots of history, an intriguing collection of tobacco pipes, and an extensive selection of single-malt scotch.
Food: Try the fine pub burger or the city’s foremost mutton chop.
Hot tip: The fire’s lit only when the weather is deemed sufficiently cold (and when someone remembers to clean the flue). Call ahead… … .
THE WAVERLY INN & GARDEN
16 Bank St., at Waverly Pl.; no phone
Ambience: Ye olde VIP Room.
Food: Solid American comfort, with a quasi-seasonal slant.
Hot tip: Elbow your way into the firelit bar, or drop by two days in advance for a reservation, and ask for a fireside table in the garden room (the two fireplaces in the main dining room weren’t lit on a recent visit). Even though the Inn’s fireplaces have been converted to gas, there’s a set of vintage tools at the ready, in case the fire needs to be fake-stoked… … .
ONE IF BY LAND, TWO IF BY SEA
17 Barrow St., nr. W. 4th St.; 212-228-0822
Ambience: It’s Valentine’s Day every day at Aaron Burr’s old carriage house (but management’s trying to change that image).
Food: New chef Craig Hopson, late of Picholine, is attempting to jolt this romantic cliché into the modern culinary world.
Hot tip: All four public fireplaces (two in the bar, two in the Constitution Room) were converted to gas for insurance purposes. Ironically, the back office is still warmed by wood-burning ones. “We’re all really good at building fires,” says general manager Rosanne Martino… … .
45 E. 22nd St., nr. Park Ave. S.; 212-982-8422
Ambience: Bright and cheerful, with a few faux-farmhouse touches.
Food: Hearty pastas, roasted fish, and idiosyncratic nibbles like bean salad and herb-flecked fries.
Hot tip: Request table 33 (for parties of four) or tables 34 to 36 (for two) for fireside seats—albeit on the far side of a glass-guarded prep station. The fireplace is big enough to turn a hog on a spit, but on our visit, we only saw a manager cooking what looked like a stack of invoices… … .