So today, we've got a double-header of Mediterranean winners that'll satisfy anyone into whole grilled fish, dunking laffa bread in tasty dips and taking people whose company you enjoy to beautiful waterfront restaurants.
Not bad for a Tuesday.
First up, there's Cleo—the first New York outpost from this trendy restaurant you can also find in LA, Miami and Vegas, now open in the new Mondrian hotel on Park Ave. And in the other corner, we've got Celestine—a waterfront gem to have in your date night arsenal, now open in Dumbo.
These places are the same in some ways, different in a lot of ways, and we'll break down all of those ways below.
Cleo: It's a huge, hip restaurant from nightlife-hospitality powerhouse sbe, and you'll find it inside of the newly opened Mondrian Park Avenue. As such... Group dinner spot before heading out for the night, yes. Birthday dinners, yes. Intimate first or second dates, maybe not.
Celestine: Quite the opposite. With floor-to-ceiling windows, a location right under the bridge and nightly views of the sun setting over the lower Manhattan skyline, it's very, very much a date spot.
Cleo: Pretty classic stuff, and they're big on shared plates. Come with a group and fill a table with lamb sliders with feta and harissa aioli; grilled octopus with smoked paprika; babaganoush with tahini and sumac and tandoori chicken kebabs. Menu's here.
Celestine: These guys get a little more out-there with their take on Mediterranean. Think: Beet-cured hamachi with hibiscus and mint; roasted local baby squid and rock shrimp with chick peas and watercress; mushroom tarts with feta and blackberry... Here's their menu.
Cleo: Local craft beers, a decent selection of bubbly and some damn good cocktails.
Celestine: For an interesting spin on the Aviation, go with the Magnetic Dance (mezcal, agave gin, creme de violette, lime cordial). They've also got an orange wine (the likes of which we're into these days) and some solid non-alcoholic cocktails, which we're also rather into these days.
We'll convey to you in photograph form, right this way.