Non-cheesy restaurant on Valentine's Day for first NYC visit?

My (French) parents are visiting NYC for the first time next month. Any good tips for non-cheesy NYC restaurant on Valentine's Day?

I've visited NYC many, many times and absolutely love the city. I have many restaurant tips to share with them to give them a good idea of the amazing and diverse experience that is NYC food and dining during their trip, but I'm a little worried about their first night - they're flying in on 14th Feb, but since they happen to be in New York on Valentine's Day, they're thinking they might as well get a nice dinner that day.

I know how V-Day is huge in the US (much, much more than in Europe), but I'm sure there are great NY restaurants (preferably in Manhattan) that will not have a set menu and hearts-decoration-galore.

It's their first night, so I'm looking for a quintessential NYC experience to get them in the groove of their 5 day-trip and give them a great taste of the city, without breaking the bank (but a little expensive is OK, it's NYC after all), but above all without the cheese of Valentine's Day.

(and yes, I know it might be late already to make reservations because it's VD... damn).

I'm trying to put a great trip together for them so any other tips you might have would be welcome!

EDIT: They're OK with any type of food, but for the first night, it'd be safer to steer clear of ethnic foods. Budget could be up to $300 for two, but any lower-budget option could be good, too!


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