Pro Tips

La GrenouillePhoto: Robert K. Chin

Gabe Thompson, chef and partner of dell’anima, L’Artusi, Anfora, and L’Apicio:
“My ideal Valentine’s Day dinner with Katherine [his pastry chef, business partner, and wife] would be at Annisa in the West Village. We love the dining room, and Anita’s staff is incredible—they’ve been with her forever and are so warm and welcoming. Also, the food is delicious and always super surprising. I’m sure she’s creating something special for Valentine’s Day, but I would insist upon the chawanmushi and foie gras soup dumplings. Since it would be a rare night off that I get to spend with my wife, we would start off with cocktails because that’s just how we roll. Then I would trust the sommelier to pick some great wines for us because my area of expertise is more Italian than anything else.”

Anita Lo, chef of Annisa:
“Jewel Bako. Sushi at its best is eaten at the counter so you can have each piece as soon as its made. And at the sushi bar, you are sitting side by side, so it’s perfect for a romantic dinner out (although I love eating there with friends as well). Jewel Bako is a special place. There is a warm glow from the blond wood, and the sake is served in a variety of exquisite, colored crystal glasses. And then, of course, the food: body-temperature rice perfectly executed with distinct individual grains that massage the palate; pristine fish and shellfish … all so much better when sitting next to your soul mate.”

Jack and Grace Lamb, owners of Jewel Bako:
“Our choice would be La Grenouille. We spent our honeymoon in Paris many years ago, so especially on our anniversary, when we feel like reminiscing, we head there.The ambiance is so warm, beautiful, and romantic with all those flowers and all that sparkling crystal. You feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Somehow it always remains true to tradition. The cuisine, though very traditional, is presented in a modern way and is always perfection. Charles’s welcome is so warm and genuine. We’ll never forget the silver that he gave as a gift to us—original flatware from the early days of La Grenouille. We cherish them.”

Charles Masson, owner of La Grenouille:
“My favorite romantic table is at the last corner table along the balustrade at Cipriani’s overlooking Grand Central Terminal. Ironically, in that setting, it is very private. The space is spectacular, and that table to me is an intimate spot.”

Giuseppe Cipriani, owner of Cipriani:
“The hard work and impeccable taste of two generations makes La Grenouille the most natural place for a romantic meal. I came many times with the mother of my children, and today they take their girlfriends. It’s as timeless and warm as a restaurant can be. Like love, I guess?”

Pro Tips