Not a problem when it comes to dubious seafood and certain Nic Cage films. But every now and again, your instincts are off the mark.
Take the neon martini sign glowing on a stretch of West Houston Street: what would usually mark the sign of a cheesy dive bar or a late '80s Tom Cruise vehicle is actually the charming new subterranean date spot where you'll now be doing your wooing.
Introducing Bar Henry, a cozy new bistro, wine haven and destination for casual romance, opening Monday in the Village.
Housed in the cellar of a 19th-century townhouse, the one-story descent takes you to a simpler time: painted tin ceiling, century-old wooden bar, checkered marble floor. You'd half expect to see Hemingway throwing back mojitos and lifting skirts of the female waitstaff. Moving under the rich copper canopy of the back room, you'll sink into your red velvet dining chair (salvaged from the Plaza Hotel ballroom) and drain decades worth of red Burgundy over the same candlelight and jazz standards of your dinner-dating forefathers.
After an hour or two of intense wining, you might start seeing Henry as something of an anti-Minetta: no reservations, celebrity restaurateurs, hulking doormen, vodka-fueled psych majors crowding the entrance. You'll get the same dry-aged LaFrieda beef, only this time served alongside local oysters, grilled asparagus with shaved botarga and mashed potatoes with fried chicken fat cracklings.
And nothing says romance quite like chicken fat cracklings…