Sure, you can show off your love in dollar signs and fancy meals any time of the year but Valentine’s Day is the day to go all out for that special someone. With New York City as your playground, there are no limits to what you can do and where you can go. But if you’re looking to sweep someone off their feet with a touch of class and intimacy, head to the West Village for a night of fine dining at Joseph Leonard.
Nestled on the corner of a cobble-stone street in the Village, Joseph Leonard is a small American restaurant decked with French flare and beaming staff ready to make your date a night to remember. Though the restaurant does not accept reservations, it is okay to call ahead and ask about their availability for the coveted chef’s table, as has been done many times. The ultimate fine dining experience at Joseph Leonard is unforgettable when you enjoy a four-course meal overlooking the kitchen and chatting with the head chef. I highly suggest you call ahead or show up early to avoid a crowd and snag a seat up there for the best view and meal in the house.
Enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail at the bar upon your entrance. Their selections of cocktails are stellar, offering up old school drinks next to colorful martinis at fair prices. If beer is more up your alley, have the bartender recommend you a few tastings of their drafts that will compliment your start to the evening. Enjoy the array of snacks lined in front of you including jarred pickles to marvel at as you sip and discuss your day.
If (hopefully, when) you do score a seat at the chef’s table, be prepared to taste a plethora of new foods. This is a restaurant where you definitely want to expand your palette and say “yes” to everything the chef puts on your plate, whether you know it or not. The best part of this kind of date is that you get to share a new foodie experience with someone special. You’re both letting down your guard a bit, enjoying each other’s company in a new place, learning what you like and dislike, and sharing the spotlight all to yourselves as the cooks are specially crafting tasting plates just for the two of you. The setting also couldn’t be more perfect: a small dimly lit room reminiscent of a woodsy living room with the music softly playing in the background and staff waiting at your every need. This is certainly a night to indulge.
Daily specials take the reign here, so don’t pass up an opportunity to go for a dish you’ve never heard of before. With a seasonal menu offering the freshest ingredients that make for exciting, yet comforting plates it’s easy to crave everything. Among some must have dishes include their light fruit-infused vinaigrette salads topped with Parmesan cheese and nuts, any dish that serves a delicately fried egg on top, the tender and juicy steak, and for dessert try the caramel pudding topped with crumbled cookies. It is also entirely acceptable to dig in here and eat with your hands if you feel so inclined. That’s how delicious the food is.
Towards the end of the night you should feel a few things: a full stomach, a warm heart, and an empty wallet. Joseph Leonard is all about leaving you satisfied and smiling, and if you were a good companion, so should your date.
Happy Valentine’s Day!