Even if you don’t have tickets to a performance at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, it’s worth dropping by with your sweetheart for a meal at American Table Café and Bar on your next date night. This inventive new restaurant from Red Rooster proprietor Marcus Samuelsson embraces an ethos of sharing, bringing together different people and culinary traditions inside one of the city’s great creative landmarks. Take a seat in the airy dining room, where floor-to-ceiling windows lend a new elegance to the timeless New York pastime of people-watching, and keep an eye out for the occasional opera diva or prima ballerina. This is their spot too.
Come for lunch and enjoy light bites like a market green salad with smoked salmon and three-bean veggie chili—a perfect pick-me-up for an active afternoon of shopping or sight-seeing. If you’re here for dinner, however, give the cocktail list a long look. An inspiring aperitif like the Penny Arcade, which combines vanilla bourbon, absinthe, simple syrup, and bitters, will kick off an enchanting evening beautifully. (In the spirit of inclusiveness, those who don’t drink are taken care of as well—any cocktail on the menu is available without alcohol for just $6.) After a toast to the good life, dig in to heartier mains like braised brisket with sauerkraut and chicken tonkatsu with cheddar cheese and pickles on brioche. Since the best music always ends on a sweet note, end your meal with a spiced bread pudding with salted caramel and whipped cream, and be sure to ask for two spoons. This heavenly morsel is simply too good not to share.