February 16, 2012 | Ask Gael

A place to celebrate “just married” for two wine professionals who’ve eaten everywhere.

A kaleidoscope of colors on a plate at Corton. Photo: Steven Richter

           My fiancé and I are in the wine business so we get around the restaurant scene which makes it very challenging to decide on the One Place to go for a celebratory “just married dinner.”

          Here are our limitations:

          No Spanish/Tapas restaurants (He sells Spanish wine, too much like work)

          Downtown preferred (we are staying in the Lower East  Side)

          No crazy-expensive Masa-like places (we are saving to go to Italy in April)

Cordiali saluti e mille grazie!




Bravo Gia and your guy.


Corton's egg dish. Photo: Steven Richter


          My first thought about your celebration was that Corton, with its exceptional collection of Burgundies, is the perfect spot for two wine professionals. I love the stark white room with chef Paul Liebrandt barely visible in the kitchen. His food can be unusual and is often good. It has two stars from Michelin. Frank Bruni at the Times warmed to the food more than I and gave it three stars. The seasonal tasting dinner is $115. The chef’s tasting, $155.  239 West Broadway between Walker and White. 212 219 2777




Blue Hill's salad. Photo: Steven Richter


          Chef Dan Barber’s Blue Hill in the Village is a wonderful low-key place to celebrate. The menu is all about local sourcing and the chef often brings provisions down from his upstate farm or the greenhouse at Blue Hill at Stone Farms in Pocantico Hills.  You enter down three steps of a landmark speakeasy and pay dearly.  Order a la carte (entrees $32 to $36) or choose from a five-course Farmer’s Feast ($78). 75 Washington Place between MacDougal Street and 6th Avenue. 212 539 1776




The wood-hewn dining room at Marc Forgione. Photo: Steven Richter


          There’s more farm-to-table worship from Iron Chef Marc Forgione at his romantic Tribeca spot, 134 Reade Street near Hudson (across town from the LES). It's dark and candlelit and I love his food, though it’s certainly not cheap. Appetizers $13 to $36 for black truffled egg in a jar. Entrees $29 to $34. The six-course tasting is $99 pp.  212 941 9401.


Chef Marc Forgione's duck dish. Photo: Steven Richter




          Jaded New Yorkers like to say River Café, on a barge lashed to the shore under the Brooklyn Bridge is just for tourists.  Not me. The view of Manhattan and Lady Liberty far in the distance never ceases to thrill me. Over the years as star chefs have come and moved on, the food has been good, very good and less so. But for me, it’s about the exuberance of flowers, the style of service, the waves slapping by and that amazing view. Fixed price dinner is $100; six-course Chef’s Tasting menu $125. 1 Water Street between Furman and Old Fulton Streets.  718 522 5200




Glistening sashimi at Gotham Bar & Grill. Photo: Steven Richter


          The Gotham Bar & Grill is not exactly intimate. It’s noisy and bustling but Chef Alfred Portale’s wonderful American food and signature plating is cause to celebrate along with your vows. The wine list is highly-rated too. Again, Gotham’s prices reflect the times and its three stars, entrees $34 to $49. 12 East 12th Street between Fifth Avenue and University Place. 212 620 4020.




          You surely know Veritas for its unique wine collection and perhaps also for executive chef-partner Sam Hazen’s re-thinking of the space and his new American menu that won three stars from Sam Sifton in the Times. Seasonal, local, it’s all that, with entrees $27 to $49. Or you might economize with great wines by the glass and small plates at the bar. 43 East 20th Street between Broadway and Park Avenue South. 212 353 3700.




Just one of DBGB's sausage plates. Photo: Steven Richter


          Daniel Boulud’s DBGB on the Bowery is very noisy – ask for a table in one of the alcoves – but you can eat well for not so much money.  Order mindfully or go whole hog. Choose one or two items from the sausage menu to share, divide the Amish chicken. I’m wild for the French burger ($17). It’s small but rich enough to divide in two. And then if you’re into beer…the draft and bottle list is rich too. No point in economizing by skipping dessert. You must have the coffee-caramel sundae. 299 Bowery between First Street and Houston. 212 933 5300