Voted "the most romantic restaurant in NYC" by Open Table's Diner's Choice, One If By Land, Two If By Sea doesn't let down this reputation. The lighting in the restaurant is soft & seductive. The tables are small and cozy. There is a single red rose placed in the middle of each table. On Valentine's Day in a couple of weeks, this place will be overflowing with couples in love, that were smart enough to book a reservation about 10 months ago.
I had the privilege to experience dinner at this legendary establishment last night...with my parents.
How romantic. As I looked around the dining room, I noticed that we were surrounded by couples of all ages. I can't really complain though, we were celebrating my mom's birthday and honestly I'm lucky that my parents decided to drag me along with them. I might have been a bit of a third wheel, but who really cares when you're at one of the top restaurants in New York?
I should have prefaced this by saying that One If By Land is one of the many restaurants participating in this year's NYC Restaurant Week. (for a full list of participating restaurants, visit http://www.nycgo.com/restaurantweek) If you don't know this already, (because you should!) each season, some of the best and most expensive restaurants in NYC take place in a two week event that offers a prix fixe menu for lunch and dinner. Lunches are $25 and dinners are $35, both meals are three courses. This is an amazing opportunity to experience some restaurants in New York that would usually never be affordable, especially to college students! This season's Restaurant Week ends on February 7th (but excludes Saturday) so make it a point to see how the other half of NY wines and dines.
The food was pretty amazing, even if the portions were skimpy...and that might be an overstatement. When you open the menu, there is a poem on the inside flap, after which this restaurant was named:
"Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."
I found this poem kind of charming and the whole restaurant had a old time feel to it; the townhouse itself is over a hundred years old. Not to mention it's located in Greenwich Village which is one of the neighborhoods in Manhattan that I have not spent nearly enough time exploring. If I was going to act like a real food critic, I would say that the ambiance of the restaurant outshines the actual food.
If you're thinking of visiting One If By Land, I can make a few recommendations. For a starter, I had the Tuscan Bean Soup which was delicious. The ingredients were all fresh and the soup was topped with thick chunks of parmigiano-reggiano cheese...yum. For my main course, I had the Grilled Bavette Steak, but I would have rather had what my parents chose; the Red Snapper with Pesto Ristotto. My portion was scarce and had me raiding the pantry for a snack as soon as we got home. The red snapper was definitely tastier and more bang for your buck. All of the desserts were impressive so you can't go wrong there. If you have a free afternoon or night this week, you should really check out this spot (which might be best enjoyed on a date) or any of the other restaurants participating. But make your reservation asap because these places fill up fast.