I love Red Cat in Chelsea...What other places would you recommend that have a similar experience?
Things I like about it: It's different. Great vibe, but not obnoxious or uber trendy. Great food, wine list, service. Cool neighbor location. Romantic. Good noise level, I don't like restaurants where you have to whisper, I find it more private when you can speak in a normal voice, and the next table can't hear you.
Automatic disqualifiers: Any restaurant in a hotel, office building, or otherwise sterile location (sorry, Le Bernadin). Impossible to get a reservation (I'm looking at you, Babbo). Any restaurant that is part of a superstar chef's empire (Bistro Moderne, JoJo, et al). Any place with less than friendly, attentive service.
I should mention that I've heard great things about Little Owl, and I'm curious to try it, although it's so insanely popular right now that it's dangerously close to falling into the "impossible to get a reservation" category.
Thanks in advance for any advice!