Activity: Sunset Sail on the Manhattan 2, from Pier 62 (Chelsea)
Description: Finger foods, cocktails and a 2-hour cruise on the Hudson
Meal: Dinner at Craven, 346 West 40th Street New York, NY
Cuisine: American with International flair
Making date night plans can be hard. More often than not we find ourselves wanting something more interesting than the basic dinner and a movie. This is especially true if you and your partner have been together for a while. Don’t end up in a date night rut. Instead, plan a romantic sunset sail and a meal with Harbor Line Cruises and Craven Restaurant (Formerly Magnolia Restaurant). This combination is a good fit for a couple who have been together long enough to have easy going conversations and can relax in comfortable silences. Start your evening at Pier 62 at Chelsea Piers. Classic Harbor Line cruises dock there and provide an assortment of cruise types throughout the week. This could be a fun after work surprise for your honey. We chose the sunset cruise aboard the Manhattan II, a gorgeous yacht with classic Gatsby era interior and an intimate setting. Less than 30 people aboard the ship for the sunset cruise, making it an ideal vessel for a relaxed cruise. You can engage with your fellow passengers or enjoy the light bites and beverages in peace while taking in the breathtaking skyline. As the sun sets venture onto the outer deck and snap some photos with the spectacular views of the city as your back drop. You will even have the chance to get a photo or two with everyone’s favorite attraction, The Statue of Liberty. After the sun has finally set the city lights become your new back drop and you can marvel at that for just a moment before docking and head off to your next destination. We advise having a car service to pick you up or using one of the many ride apps to schedule a ride to dinner. Do not under any circumstances “share” a ride. Splurge a little, and keep your date all to yourself. The distance between Craven and the pier is long enough to warrant a ride but short enough not to cost a small fortune. Our car service was only $10 that evening.
Though it may not be necessary, try to make a reservation at the restaurant. Plan for at least 30 minutes from the time you are scheduled to dock. This little bit of preparation gives the impression that you’ve thought of everything and should impress your date. The evening will feel like a special occasion even if it is just a random Wednesday. Craven’s décor is tropical and chic with lush green plants white walls and dark furnishings. The plush booths are ideal for dates as they provide just a little more intimacy. The staff is friendly and accommodating, and they never hover so you’ll be able to chat comfortably without too many interruptions. The menu is small but packed with interesting meal choices. We’re foodies so we always get at least two starters to share before our meal and a round of cocktails.
Blistered Spanish Octopus
We can’t get enough grilled octopus we loved this dish. The octopus is served with a bright sweet potato puree and pickled Serrano peppers. The tentacles were thick and meaty with just enough char. The velvety puree added some sweetness to the smoky octopus flavor
Organic Jerk Chicken Wings
Wings are always a safe bet and these were tasty and not at all messy. The wings are seasoned well with a tart tangy jerk sauce on the side. We recommend spreading the sauce on before eating, the meat can be a tad bit dry without it.
Chopped Beef Brisket Flatbread
We expected a flatbread topped with sauce soaked shredded brisket and cheese what we received were chunks of beef on a flatbread. It was tasty but the chunks of meat made for an awkward bite. Feel free to take off chunks of tender meat and feed it to your date. It’s a cute and mildly sexy act that will heat things up a notch.
Pan Roasted Sockeye Salmon
The salmon is served with a helping of summer succotash, red grapefruit puree and forbidden black rice for your forbidden lover. When you order the waitress may ask how you’d like the fish prepared. Unless you have some dietary restriction we recommend requesting the chef prepare it to their own specifications. You don’t want over or under cooked salmon, trust the kitchen they know what they are doing.
Mom’s Herb Roasted Poulet Rouge
A simple but delicious meal of roasted chicken potatoes and green beans in a light fragrant lemon sauce. A good home-style option that satisfies. The portion is about half a chicken so it’s a good dish to share with your partner.
Backyard BBQ Spare Ribs
Unfortunately, the ribs were the one misstep in our meal. The dry rub used has a cinnamon garam masala flavor that wasn’t palatable. The flavor was very sharp and sour without the sweet smokiness we expected.
Honey Dews and Do-Nots & Early Start
If you enjoy Gin, The Honey Dews is a light sweet option. The cocktail is made with Spring 44 Gin, cucumber, and garnished with fresh melon balls. For something with a little more bite we recommend the Early Start, This is made with Appleton Rum, Sangria, Blood Orange and topped with ginger beer.
As date nights go, Dinner and a cruise is an absolute win. We wouldn’t recommend this for a first date as it may be a bit much for someone you are just getting to know. No one wants to be trapped on a boat for two hours with someone they’ve decided they don’t like after 5 minutes. This is more for an established couple or at very least a duo that knows each other well enough to just enjoy each other’s company without the nervous need to fill every moment with chatter. As always Classic Harbor Lines provided an excellent excursion that was well managed and surprisingly affordable. The two hours sailing flew by as we talked and just enjoyed the relaxing cruise. With only light finger foods to sustain us, we were famished and excited about dinner, which we enjoyed immensely. This review comes just in time for “Take A Man on a Date Month”. The origin of this tradition is sketchy but the concept is one we can all enjoy. So grab your favorite man and take him out for a night he won’t forget! If you want to make it extra special, make it a mini staycation, there’s a nice hotel near Craven Restaurant.
Happy Date Night!