After much discussion about whether Bouley still had "it" and would provide the proper overwhelming effect for a dinner date with my not-used-to-elegance gf, I bailed at the last minute after looking online at the pictures of the rooms. Bouley's seemed plain and uninteresting, and since my goal was to dazzle, I needed something grander.
Danube's room with its high ceilings and huge Klimt copies on the wall (to which a certain river had been added) was absolutely breathtaking. We sat cinema-style with a view of the artwork. The dazzling had begun.
It continued with the 9-course tasting menu with wine pairings, that while not a bargain, was spectacular. Having had a few martinis before hand, we were bombed by course three, so excuse the lack of detail. Though much is a blur, many courses were seafood; standout central ingredients were sturgeon, ravioli, and lamb. There was no aggressively Austrian slant to food, and all dishes were light and delicious. Except for two, the wines were all Austrian whites, and all matched the food very well. The service was attentive, prompt and friendly.
In all, the evening had the effect I desired. Admittedly, though quite content, we left slightly hungry and went to Daddy-O (my local bar on Bedford & 7th Ave owned by the same guy as Po that has the best bar food in the city) for a grilled ham & cheese. Though I still want to hit Bouley, I have no regrets about my last second change. For a romantic elegant evening, Danube should be strongly considered.