Semma: Impress your date with a dish made for two

Dawa’s bakes love into every bite of its seasonal American meets Tibetan and Nepalese food in Woodside, Queens. What better place to spark a fire with someone you are enamored with or hope to like a lot? Chef and co-owner Dawa started the restaurant with her father to make “authentic Himalayan tribal cuisine” using locally farmed ingredients in a warm and environmentally conscious setting.

The New York Times recommends the Gyuma black sausage served with the Tibetan hot sauce, sepen, which the reviewer called “as pure an expression of raw chile power as I’ve known.” You might also notice details like the ceramic plates and natural approach to farm-to-table dining. The Fung Bros. also named Dawa’s the best Nepalese food in America. No pressure, but you just might impress your date with food this good.

You might have heard about the whole rabbit feast ordered family-style at the lauded Dhamaka restaurant on the Lower East Side. The same culinary visionaries revamped their West Village location into Semma, a deep dive into Southern Indian cuisine using regional ingredients that pay homage to a style of cooking rarely found in the U.S. The intimate dining room is perfect for maahanmuutto avioliiton kautta sharing small plates and tasting one of the signature cocktails, such as the Silk Smitha made with c ardamom-infused tequila, red peppercorn, and agave.

If you want a scene-stealing meal without the need for a crowd, Semma features a Kanyakumari nandu masala dish built for two: Dungeness crab served with parotta and coconut rice. You’ll need to order this ahead, and limited quantities are available nightly. Sure, Dungeness crab might seem hardly as rare on a menu as, say, Goanese oxtail, but the flavors at Semma are always unforgettable. Afterward, take a stroll hand-in-hand around the village to soak in the brownstones and night air.

Rokc NYC: The Harlem stop for ramen and cocktails

Harlem has long been known for great food and live entertainment, whether comedy or jazz. While there’s always celebrity chef erican eatery, Red Rooster, you can also head over to Rokc in West Harlem for oysters, ramen, and cocktails. The restaurant claims to be a contemporary take on Japanese restaurants found in port towns when the country first opened to globalization. That makes sense seeing that ramen is Chinese in origin and cocktails are a western import.

The approach at Rokc is all its own, with a seasonal ramen menu and a raw oyster bar sourced from farmers on the East Coast. The Tokyo-inspired cocktail menu is a show in itself: smoke-filled snifters, matcha-infused Japanese whisky, and a range of clarified cocktails served in vintage milk bottles. After the impressive display, head to a comedy show at the historic Apollo theater to see one of the biggest acts in the business or join the crowd of notorious hecklers on amateur night.

Oddly Enough: A welcoming space with a chic atmosphere

Brooklyn’s latest hot-spot neighborhood is Bedford-Stuyvesant (or, locally, just Bed-Stuy), thanks to its proliferation of dining locales, parks, and historic neighborhoods. The area truly has something for everyone, including our favorite friendship booths at the Southern-style brunch spot, Peaches HotHouse. There, you will also find Oddly Enough, a chic spot to enjoy a craft or zero-proof cocktail at the art deco-inspired bar, lush banquette seating with marble tables, or covered curbside outdoor patio.

The Oddly Enough Bar is also welcoming as a self-proclaimed “queer space for all.” We enjoyed the small bites (called “nibbles” on the menu) for a catch-up with a group of friends. This space is also ideal for cozying up with a seat for two and sharing the Earth Baby tinned fish plate. Additionally, we’ve found the occasional karaoke night paired with happy hour specials to be the perfect way to show your skills (or lack thereof) in a supportive environment. After all, what’s sexier than a bit of vulnerability with a side of humility?