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Valentine’s Day has snuck up on you — again!! Whether you’re celebrating this weekend, on the 14th, or not at all (we don’t judge!), we’re revisiting our 2022 Valentine’s Day in Hell’s Kitchen guide with exciting 2023 specials from your favorite West Side standbys as well as entirely new places to celebrate the people and the neighborhood you love!
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
While food is technically not one of the five love languages, we here at W42ST would like to make a case for it. Wine and dine your significant other or gather foodie pals for a night of charcuterie and shared dating horror stories at one of the neighborhood’s many intimate and charming eateries.
As reader Jacqueline Martin put it, “Show your sweetheart AND all our local HK establishments your LOVE by starting off at a bar for a pre-dinner cocktail, then on to any one of our fabulous HK restaurants for dinner, then end the evening at another restaurant for dessert and after dinner drinks. Our HK bars and restaurants really need our love this year!”
So where should you go if you want to show Hell’s Kitchen (and your date) some love this year? Reader Kevin McAnarney has a great itinerary — “Becco (355 W46th St— east of 9th Ave) is always so good (and a great deal),” he said. “Upstairs has a cozy vibe, then there is that small enclosed area in the bar section. A good meal and wine is a perfect combination.” We recommend trying the Sinfonia Di Pasta — aka, unlimited fresh noodles from Chef William Gallagher. Olive Garden, who?!
And McAnarney’s dessert rec? “On your way home, just around the block go to Schmackary’s (362 W 45th St — corner of 9th Ave) for a selection of their cookies to continue the wonderful feelings for the next couple of days.”
Fellow reader Jamie Brown also recommends Schmackary’s — their rotation includes “dinner at Da Tommaso (903 8th Ave bw 53/54th St), then head to a show at 54 Below (254 W 54th St bw Bway/8th Ave), followed by a late night cookie at Schmackerys!” We would never turn down a box of Schmackary’s famous Schmacker-doodles. If you’re headed to Da Tommaso, be sure to split a plate of their spicy penne alla vodka or spaghetti al pesto followed by a pollo piccata and tiramisu for dessert.
Looking for a fashionable Valentine’s Day in Hell’s Kitchen? Try the chic new Rosevale Kitchen and Cocktail Room (305 W48th Street bw 8/9th Ave) tucked away in the Civilian Hotel, where the bar is offering a three-drink course and “romantic bites” special for two, along with live jazz from the Charlie Roman Hot Club from 8pm to 10pm.
Stop by Fusion HK Bar and Grill (688 10th Ave bw W48/49th St) to enjoy complimentary Champagne with your seafood paella, pan-seared Mahi-Mahi or signature Ceviche before a delectable dessert of tiramisu or chocolate flan.
Trying to avoid a Love Hangover? Make an early disco date at Peachy Keen (325 W44th St bw 8/9th Ave) on Monday February 13, when the eatery hosts Galentine’s Day for the Girls, Gays and Theys featuring a live DJ, two hour open bar and passed appetizers and games! And while we don’t recommend playing games with anyone’s heart, we do recommend a joyous evening at Peachy Keen.
Café 424 (424 W54th St bw 9/10th Ave) is turning up the heat on Valentine’s Day in Hell’s Kitchen with their Aphrodisiac Chat & Cook Mixer on February 11. In addition to an exclusive culinary tasting menu from Chef Nicola Campbell, the event features shoppable VDay goods from local vendors.
Stroll over to The Harrow (720 10th Ave bw W49/W50th Street) for contemporary New American cuisine and a three-course menu featuring Buratta Ravioli, Branzino Fillet and lemon ricotta cheesecake, all served in a fashionable yet inviting dining room.
Spend an evening at The Barking Dog in New World Plaza (329 W49th Street bw 8/9th Ave) where you can try their three-course prixe fixe menu of selections like Lobster Bisque, Grilled Salmon and Creamy Cheesecake!
Everyone knows that friends + pizza + cocktails = a stress-free Valentine’s Day, and Emmy Squared Pizza (311 W48th St bw 8/9th Ave) is doing their part by offering special seasonal cocktails like the He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (brandy, lime, cider, sparkling wine), Stupid Cupid (gin, basil, lime, fiorente, sparkling wine) and Pretty in Pink (Aperol, pomegranate, blood orange, prosecco) that pair perfectly with their Colony Pie.
Comfort-food central Mom’s (701 9th Ave bw W48/49th St) is serving up a plethora of February specials — from the boozy Eat Your Heart Out cocktail (whiskey, amaretto, hibiscus, lemon, agave and heart-shaped candy!) to the doe-eyed Young Love mocktail (strawberry, orange and lemon with sprite and a sugar glitter rim).
Think burgers can’t be fancy? Think again! Perennial Hell’s Kitchen favorite 5 Napkin Burger (630 9th Ave — corner of W45th St) is dialing up the drama with white tablecloths, bubbly and a three-course, $38 prix fixe dinner with hits like shrimp cocktail, the Truffle Burger and Red Velvet Milkshakes.
2022 newcomer Steak Frites Bistro (9th Ave bw W37/38th St) is offering sizzling seasonal specials like Dry Aged Duck Bigarade, Boeuf en Croûte and Butter Poached Lobster that will have you feeling starry-eyed (and delightfully full!).
Stop by Giardino 54 (400 1/2 W54th Street bw 9/10th Ave) to try their VDay prix fixe offering, which includes dishes from Sergio Sosa like Lamb Carpaccio, Pan-Seared Scallops and Tarte Tatin paired with their delicious cocktails!
Over at Blue Seafood Bar (856 9th Avenue — corner of W56th Street), enjoy a Porcini Mushroom Souflee, Slow Braised Short Ribs, Apple Galette and other treats from Chef Andrea Giacomi.
Looking for a low-key meal? Reader Dana Lech recommends enjoying food by the fireplace at Irish pub Gossip (733 9th Ave bw W49/50th St), known for their draft brews, cocktails (try the Gossip G&T made with Gordon’s Pink Gin and Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic Water) and burgers (we recommend the Gaelic Burger, made with a grass-fed Angus burger, Irish bacon, sautéed onion, sharp Cheddar cheese, seeded bun and hand-cut fries).
Reader Angelique F. recommends fellow HK Irish pub Landmark Tavern (626 11th Ave — corner of W46th Street), where you can have a few pints of Guinness and try to sing When Irish Eyes Are Smiling to your date.
And if you’d like to give your Valentine the gift of a break in their workday on this Hell’s Kitchen Valentine’s Day Tuesday, try a coffee or lunch date — sometimes nothing is as life affirming and romantic as a bit of daylight (or caffeine). Reader Francesca Iacovacci’s pick is women-owned, single-origin coffee shop “Romeo & Juliet Colombian Coffee (555 W42ST — corner of 11th Ave) — even the coffee shop name is romantic!” Guarantee yourself a happier outcome than in the play by ordering two cortados and some waffles!
Another jaunty daytime date is a lunch at Lilly’s Craft and Kitchen (675 9th Ave bw W46/47th St). Reader Al Lech says, “the pan-seared salmon and shepherd’s pie are great!” We also recommend the crab cake burger (8oz homemade crab cake, arugula, tomato, and lemon caper aioli served with sweet potato fries) or splitting the braised short rib sliders!
If you’re more intrigued by the romance (and flattery) of soft evening lighting, head to one of the neighborhood’s chicly outfitted wine bars, Ardesia (510 W52nd St — west of 10th Ave) — a fan-favorite for the hip ambiance, selection of over 20 wines by the glass and 100 by the bottle, and indeed, soft lighting. The West Side bar is the perfect place to split a bottle of Syrah and small plates of ricotta crostini, garlic shrimp skewers and shishito peppers.
Another excellent local option is Aria Hell’s Kitchen (369 W51st St — corner of 9th Ave), a lively wine bar and restaurant ideal for meeting up with your palentines. Order a few bottles of wine and baked clams for the table and try some gnocchi sorrentina or linguine vongole!
Try local favorite Medi Wine Bar (811 9th Avenue bw W53/W54th Street) for Valentine’s Day prix fixe fare like Grilled Artichoke, Homemade Fettucine and Strawberry Pannacotta!
Celebrating a milestone Valentine’s Day? Planning to pop the question (good luck!!!)? Local favorite for bespoke cocktails, wine, beer, and bites, Dutch Fred’s (307 W47th St — west of 8th Ave) has their very own prosecco brand — perfect for a celebratory toast!
A block away at Amarone (686 9th Ave bw W47/48th St), enjoy a special Valentine’s Day menu inspired by the classic Italian fare that’s delighted the neighborhood since 1997 — try a Colorado rack of lamb or a whole Dover sole before diving into some cheesecake or caramel gelato.
The Marshal (628 10th Ave bw W44/45th St), known for its sustainably sourced, farm-to-table cuisine, is also offering an exclusive three-course, prix fixe Valentine’s Day menu. Save yourself a trip upstate and enjoy Smoked Duck Breast, New Jersey Scallops, Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs and Gala Apple Cobbler.
Speaking of taking a vacation, Jasmine’s Caribbean Cuisine (371 W46th St — east of 9th Ave) is the perfect place to enjoy tropical, traditional Caribbean flavors without needing to brave EWR. We recommend the coconut rum-raisin ice cream for dessert and you’ll almost forget that you need to wear six layers to walk home!
Extremely date-friendly Italian enoteca Bocca Di Bacco (828 9th Ave — corner of W54th St and 635 9th Ave bw W44/45th St) has come up with a sumptuous, luxurious prix fixe Valentine’s Day menu fit for you and your favorite person — from Shrimp Scampi to Clams Oreganata to Gnocchi Alla Bolognese eat like royalty in a warm and welcoming rustic ambiance.
If you’re hoping to beat the crowds on the day-of, check out the prix fixe Valentine’s Day menu at modern Italian-Asian fusion joint Sesamo (764 10th Ave — corner of W52nd St), which is also available all weekend. This four-course menu includes gems like assorted sashimi, lobster tortelloni, whole sea bass and chocolate bread katsu.
Midtown’s newest Molyvos (402 W43rd St — corner of 9th Ave) is cooking up a delectable three-course Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu full of signature treats like jumbo lump crab cake, grilled red snapper and chocolate baklava, with the option to pair with the eatery’s extensive Greek wine collection.
Over on 11th Ave is PRINT (653 11th Ave bw W46/47th St), a stylish, seasonal, and very sustainably sourced New American restaurant housed in a repurposed and reimagined printing factory. Try their six-course chef’s tasting menu featuring the likes of Sunchoke Bisque, Maine Lobster and Chocolate Bon Bons. And if you’d like to explore the rest of PRINT’s carefully crafted menu from Executive Chef Aaron Tomczak and Executive Pastry Chef Jaime Sudberg, they are also offering an a la carte selection on Feb 14!
Mary Jane Lech recommends a completely joyous evening “trying the fantastic selection of empanadas at Empanada Mama (765 9th Ave). We love the Cubano or the Spinach and Cheese options!”
Chez Josephine (414 W42nd St — west of 9th Ave) is the veritable beating heart of W42ST. This longtime neighborhood crossroads and meeting place for elevated French cuisine in a lively Parisian-salon setting (complete with live piano!) offers a three-course prix fixe Valentine’s Day menu that includes tuna tartare, rack of lamb, and profiteroles au chocolat. Spend an evening at Chez Josephine and again, you’ve taken a European vacation sans airfare prices (can you tell we’re on a staycation kick?!).
While it isn’t technically a Valentine’s Day menu, HK newcomer Mari (679 9th Ave bw W46/W47th St) offers a thoughtfully curated omakase prix fixe meal of Korean handrolls and innovative dishes. Enjoy Wagyu, spicy tuna, mackerel, and caviar salmon handrolls followed by their signature choco pie, a chocolate sponge cake filled with black sesame marshmallow and strawberry jam and an elevated take on a popular Korean snack.
Are you now thinking only of dessert? Stroll over to try reader Gwen Baker’s rec, Bar Veloce (862 9th Ave — corner of W56th St): “The vanilla and coffee bean nutella is delish!” Reader Paula Jaslow favors the wine and homemade chocolate pudding at Etcetera Etcetera (352 W44th St — east of 9th Ave). And if your favorite dessert is bread, quite a few of our readers are passionate fans of Amy’s Bread (672 9th Ave bw W46/W47th Street) also a finalist for Best Coffee Shop in our 2022 W42ST reader awards!).
Kathi Iannacone recommends the “Heart Shaped Breads from Amy’s!! There’s nothing better!!” while Angelique F. says to “grab a croissant and coffee Valentine’s Day morning at Amy’s Bread.”
Amy’s Bread is also offering new holiday specials like a Dark Chocolate tart, heart-shaped Linzer Cookies with raspberry jam, Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting and Chocolate Berry loaves.
Henry Johnson has an Amy’s-themed Valentine’s Day tradition — “Valentine’s Day is also our anniversary. Why, because we like to cook together and share the evening. BUT we always order a cake from Amy’s, always a pink frosted cake, we call it our “Happy Cake”, Amy’s IS our hot spot!” Happy anniversary Henry! Here’s to many more pink happy cakes!
A few blocks down at the Little Pie Company (424 W43rd St bw 9/10th Ave), you can also pick up sweet treats in the form of hand-painted and decorated sugar cookies — and of course, pies! School Valentine’s Day party, solved!!
If you’re inspired to make your own cake or entire Valentine’s Day meal, why not sign up for a virtual or in-person cooking class with your date or friends? Chef Raquel Rivera offers at home in-person or virtual group cooking classes through her business A Pinch Of Salt. Taking a virtual class with your long-distance love is an excellent way to share a tangible experience that transcends miles and wifi bandwidth.
If you prefer a liquid dessert, make sure to stop by new local wine shop Beaupierre Wine and Spirits (664 10th Ave bw W46th and W47th St) where you can snag a specially curated three-pack of wine with varietals like “a bottle of rosé Champagne, a Left Bank Bordeaux (now with eight years of age on it!) and a half-bottle of 10-year Tawny Port.”
…AND A SHOW
Curtain up! Light the Lights! It’s opening night for reader Leanne Buckley’s ideal Valentine’s Day entertainment:
“Picture this: White tablecloths, candles glowing and sweet jazz filling the air. You’ll find this oh so romantic ambiance at Birdland Jazz Club (315 W44th St bw 8/9th Ave). What a great way to spend Valentine’s Day. Enjoy some expertly made cocktails, a delicious meal and leave room for their homemade desserts. A night at Birdland will spark romance. Flying solo? Sit at the bar and enjoy all the club has to offer without feeling alone.”
Take Leanne’s word for it and head to Birdland for their Valentine’s Day weekend and day-of star-studded lineup. Catch Broadway star Melissa Errico’s seductive suite of songs in A Noir Romance on February 11, 12, 13 and 14 or an evening of romantic ballads by Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter at Steve Ross’s Falling in Love…Again on February 13.
Reader Susan Knipper suggests an evening at Green Room 42 (570 10th Ave — corner of W42nd St) followed by dinner at Le Rivage (340 W46th St). Says Knipper, “The Green Room 42 is a great venue to see performers. No seat is bad and sometimes you can talk to the performers afterwards.And then to Le Rivage for dinner. Nothing could be more romantic than a delicious French dinner in a beautiful restaurant. And the staff there go above and beyond to make sure you are comfortable and have all you need. It is a perfect place for celebrating and will surely set the stage for a wonderful evening!”
This year at Green Room 42, enjoy GLAM Award winner Kiki Ball Change’s cabaret My Funny Valentine on February 12, where the performer will take you through “all the silly, sappy, romantic love songs that have lasted through the years, featuring songs from Broadway musicals, new parodies and classics.”
Le Rivage has their own Valentine’s Day menu, featuring the likes of Osso Buco, Duck Leg Confit Paysan and Raspberry Vanilla Vacherin. Thanks for the rec, Susan!!
Over at restaurant and performance venue 54 Below (254 W 54th St bw Bway/8th Ave), enjoy A Broadway Valentine’s Day cabaret full of heartfelt and hilarious songs and stories about love from Broadway couples Eli Bolin and Allison Posner, Aaron De Jesus and Gail Bennett, Liana Hunt and Larkin Bogan and more!
If you decide to check out 54 Below over Valentine’s Day weekend, check out Comedians Earnestly Singing Musical Theatre, Broadway legend (and Judy Garland’s daughter!) Lorna Luft’s 70th birthday cabaret and Love Songs Saturday Night.
Looking for a little dark humor on this Hell’s Kitchen Valentine’s Day? How about a musical where true love is crushed by a carnivorous, man-eating plant?! Take your date to Hell’s Kitchen’s own Westside Theatre (407 W43rd St bw 9/10th Ave) who has, by the way, a fascinating and storied history to Little Shop of Horrors, the comically tragic/tragically comic tale of love, murder, and taking your green thumb a bit too far.
And if you want to impress your Valentine with some new moves, why not join a Valentine’s Day Salsa Workshop on Tuesday, February 14 at 6:30pm at Alvin Ailey Dance Extension (405 W55th St — corner of 9th Ave). Ahtoy Juliana of Baila Society leads the one-hour in-person workshop where participants will learn “fundamental salsa footwork as they pick up on the history and culture of salsa!”
GO ALL THE WAY
Ok, we’re not pressuring you or anything but…your grandma told us to tell you, it’s time to put a ring on it. She’s not getting any younger! If you’re ready and interested in really, really committing this Valentine’s Day, you don’t even have to fly to Vegas. Register for the chance to have the Times Square Alliance host your wedding — those selected will receive a ceremony near this year’s winner of the Love in Times Square sculpture contest, Love’s h|Edge. Years from now when people ask about your wedding photos, you can proudly declare, “no, those are not Photoshopped!”
If your number one wedding priority is the food, make it easy on yourself and take the train to Brooklyn’s L’industrie Pizzeria’s Second Annual Pop Up Chapel (254 2nd Street, Brooklyn), performing 10-minute Valentine’s Day marriage ceremonies that come with two pizzas of your choice, plus soft serve. As Brooklyn insider and W42ST reader Rebecca Casas put it, “If we weren’t already married I would have honestly considered this.”
And if you’d like to design your own “short and sweet” elopement, check out Instant Elopements (70-50 Austin Street, Forest Hills) offering after-work hours chapel ceremonies, “because love doesn’t end when City Hall closes”. Reservations are still available for the evening of February14th!
KEEPING IT SIMPLE
What if the idea of Valentine’s Day gives you hives? Take three deep breaths — we have ideas for enjoying the day with absolutely no stress or pressure.
Reader Edward Love recommends that you “stay home and watch Moonstruck (available on most streaming services). It is not only a romantic film, but one that celebrates relationships in general. What a cast! Including at least one Hell’s Kitchen resident.” Edward, does Cher live here?! Can you tell her we say hi?!
If watching Moonstruck puts you into a New York-themed 80/90s rom-com mood, may we suggest Nora Ephron trilogy When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless In Seattle, and for an empowering anti-rom-com, The First Wives Club.
Celebrating Valentine’s Day can be as simple as buying someone you love (or yourself!!) flowers, and reader Juliana Mead recommends “getting flowers from Manhattan Plaza Florist” Flowers on the Park (444 W43rd St – bw 9/10th Ave). Says Mead, “They have beautiful arrangements.” She also recommends buying Valentine’s Day cards from frequent W42ST Best Store Delphinium Home, “They have a wonderful selection of cards.”
Other readers prefer to craft their Valentine’s Day gifts. Says David Ochoa, “Personal cards I make first go to single friends and neighbors, or empty nested parent/s and local farmers market vendors.” Since it’s been proven that crafting is good for your mental health, this is a perfect way to keep Valentine’s Day stress at bay.
Reader Kyle Weiss enjoys “spending my day sharing the love with colleagues. Essentially our workplace turns into our second home, so I find a lot of joy in buying a paper wrapped rose for all my female colleagues (purchased from my local bodega 49th/9th) and for the guys, I usually gift them a little candy heart box.” And even if you and your team are working remotely, a digital gift card goes a long way to show a little team camaraderie and joy!
And for the most peaceful Valentine’s Day around, don’t forget the option to stroll aimlessly, taking in the true beauty of the neighborhood and city, like reader Monica Carson does. She recommends “Taking a walk along Hudson River Park and the piers — the views are incredible and our pup enjoys it, too. One of my favorite things about Hell’s Kitchen!” It’s true, we’ll never fall out of love with sunset views of the Hudson. Je T’aime, Hell’s Kitchen!