Valentine’s Day is the second-busiest holiday for restaurants, behind only Mother’s Day. The National Restaurant Association reports that in 2013 more than a quarter of American adults enjoyed a romantic dinner out, spending an estimated $3,9 billon. The numbers for this year are expected to follow suit.
Here are is a small sampling of special Valentine Day offerings:
Ruth's Chris Steak House is offering a special Valentine's Day Surf & Turf menu. In addition to Ruth's Chris signature steaks, guests can enjoy the Twin Cold Water Lobster Tails with a choice of Filet ($47.95) or Ribeye ($57.95). Ruth's Classics, which start at $42.95, are also available—a complete meal with starter, entrée, personal side dish, and dessert.
- Tryst, located just outside of Boston in Arlington, MA, offers a special three-course prix-fixe menu, created by executive chef and owner Paul Turano. Specials including Duck & Kabocha Tart, Cioppino, Bucatini Carbonara and Beef Short Rib, as well as desserts such as Baked Apple Dumpling, Chocolate Brownie Bread Pudding, and Italian Bignè. The special menu is priced at$45 per person (pp), with an optional $25 wine pairing.
- Ristorante Olivio, also in Arlington, seduces with a $65 pp three-course menu created by executive chef and owner Angelo DiGirolamo. Dinner begins with starters such as Prosecco Risotto with lobster meat, roasted fennel, tomatoes, and parmigiano or Shrimp Cocktail di Gamberoni. The main course includes a classic Manzo, 8-oz. beef tenderloin topped with oyster butter, red wine sauce, served with rosemary roasted potatoes and asparagus, and Chicken Rollettine, stuffed with asparagus, prosciutto and mozzarella, and finished with a Marsala wine sauce and roasted vegetables. The meal ends with a selection of house desserts.
New York City and environs
- Alobar, found just outside NYC in trendy Long Island City, is heralding its nose-to-tail cuisine and large whiskey selection with a romantic three-course menu, five whiskey flights, and a Founders Brew Tap Takeover with suggested beer pairings. Starters are Beet Salad, Lobster Ravioli, or Loaded Potato Gnocchi. Entrée options are Mushroom Toast; Skate with melted leeks, chorizo, mussels, and soubise; and NY Strip with caramelized onions, fingerlings, gorgonzola, and horseradish cream. Chocolate Cake with red velvet sauce finishes the meal.
- Crescent Grill, in nearby Dutch Kills, has two seatings for those seeking a romatic interlude. The three-course tasting menu—spolighting the restaurant’s seasonal American fare—with champagne toast costs $85 pp. First-course offerings are Pan Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Slow Poached Hen Egg, and Wild Mushroom Tartlet. Second course selections include Butter-Poached Lobster, Braised Colorado Lamb Shank, and Braised Veal Cheeks. Featured desserts include Chocolate Pistachio Dome, Vanilla Panna Cotta, and Port Poached Bosc Pear.
- Bell Book & Candle, in Greenwich Village, offers a prix-fixe menu for individuals ($75 pp) or couples ($200 per, with a bottle of Piper-Heidsieck champagne included). The seven-course menu features Marinaed Tuna, Roasted Celery Root Soup, Lobster Taco, Warm Burrata with Wilted Lettuce, Seared Diver Scallop, Roasted Long Island Duck Breast, and “Sweet Happy Endings.”
- 508 Gastro Brewery also in the Village, offers a beer lovers menu, created by Chef Jennifer Hill. The gastro pub’s $75 four-course prix-fixe Valentine menu includes a complementary glass of sparkling wine or housemade beer. The second course is for sharing, and guests can choose from Kale & Artichoke Parmesan Dip, Flatbread Pizza, or Salmon Tartare. Entrée include Creekstone Farms Shortrib, Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops, Half Roasted Chicken, Lobster, Rock Shrimp Pappardelle, and Truffled Mushroom Tagliatelle.
- Alba Osteriais offering authentic Italian cuisine reflective of the Piedmonte region of Italy. Executive chef Roberto Donna’s four-course, prix-fixe menu is priced at $54 pp. The meal opens with Roasted Tomato Soup with shrimp and Parmigiano Reggiano cream, followed by a choice of Heart Shaped Beet Raviolo; or Tajarin, 42 egg yolk/kilo pasta and veal ragu. To follow, is Scallops with cauliflower, black trumpets, and chive sauce, or the Lamb Rackwith rosemary sauce, potato tart, and fried artichokes. To end the meal, guests choose between the Torta Gianduja or Polenta Bianca.
- Ambaris showcasing dishes from the Balkan Peninsula, prepared with a modern twist. Couples can choose three dinner plates and dessert from the featured menu for $55 pp, or opt for dishes off the restaurant’s premium menu, for $75 pp. Prepared by Serbian-born chef Ivan Zivkovic, standouts include Grilled Chicken and Sausage Flatbread with ajvar, kajmak, pickled onion, and homemade sausage; Cheese Pie, crispy phyllo, cucumber, and roasted red pepper sauce; Lobster Spaghetti with onion, cherry, lobster juice and pecorino; or Bacon and Peanut Pork Tenderloin with miso-mustard tarragon and mashed potatoes. Dessert lovers can opt for The Four Chocolates, or the Panna Cotta.
- Ardeo+Bardeooffers diners a chance to enjoy modern American cuisine crafted by executive chef Matt Kuhn. Guests can enjoy a three-course, prix-fixe menu priced at $65 pp. Couples begin their meal with an amuse bouche of Chilled Rappahannock Oysters before selecting their appetizer, entrée, and dessert. The featured menu offers Anson Mills Polenta with egg 63, honey mushrooms, crispy gulf oyster, and mustard jus; Grilled Octopus with chorizo, patatas bravas, and pedro aioli; Brick Oven Carolina Mountain Trout with house pancetta, mushroom duxelle, and truffle-foie gras butter; and Grilled Pork Porterhouse with hedgehog mushrooms, kale, yukon potato puree, and bacon jam jus. For a sweet finish, there is Nutella Cheesecake with Snickers crumble, peanut butter mousse, and banana brûlée.
- Bistro Vivantin nearby McLean VA, is offering a $59 three-course, prix-fixe menu with choice of appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Newly appointed executive chef Katie Busch opens the meal with Oysters with lemon crème fraiche and American hackleback caviar, followed by appetizer options such as Chilled Lobster Salad or Seared Foie Gras. Main dishes include Alaskan Halibut with wild rice, braised leek, black cardamom yogurt, and Meyer lemon; Grilled Quail with sweet potato puree, wild mushrooms, sunchokes, and blackberries; and Prime Beef Tenderloin with Pommes dauphine, Tuscan kale, and sauce perigourdine. Desserts include Tarte Tatin or Chocolate Cake with raspberry coulis.
- Blue Duck Tavernis offering a four-course, prix-fixe menu (plus amuse bouche), priced at $85 pp, or $145 with an optional wine pairing for each course, created by executive chef Sebastien Archambault and newly appointed chef de cuisine Daniel Singhofen. The meal begins with Seared Foie Gras, followed by Brandy-Vanilla Butter Poached Lobster with sweet potato pasta, Brussels sprouts, and pecans, and Wood Oven-Fired Wagyu with crispy potatoes, leeks, and red wine jus. For dessert, couples can indulge in pastry chef Naomi Gallego’s Chocolate Caramel Ganache.
- The Bombay Club’s five-course, prix-fixe menu is priced at $85 pp. Prepared by executive chef Nilesh Singhvi, guests begin their meal Badam Shorba, followed by a Chaat Course and then a choice of appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Appetizers include Shrimp Balchao and Duck Roast Telangana. Entrées include Guchhi Lobsterwith morel, yogurt, saffron, and mace; Lal Maas with lamb chop, chili, garlic, and black cardamom; and Nimbu Seabass with red chili, lime leaf, ginger, and coconut. Fig Murrabba-Saffron Malai, Chocolate Kulfi, andStrawberry Crème Brûlée complete the meal.
- City Tap House DC, the craft beer centric restaurant, is showcasing refined American pub fare. Guests can opt for culinary director Brian Cooke’s three-course, prix-fixe menu with the choice of appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Priced at $50 pp, the meal begins with a choice of Maine Lobster Bisque with sweet corn fritters, shaved truffle, and chive crème fraiche or Roasted Beet Salad. Next up is the Roasted Beef Tenderloin with boulangère potatoes, cipollini onions, and bordelaise sauce, or Sauteéd Corvina with curried cauliflower, crispy Brussels sprouts, and piquillo pepper coulis. Dessert selections include Chocolate Pot de Crème or Salted Caramel Budino with toasted hazelnuts.
- Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Baroffers a menu with a Cuban twist. Sweethearts receive two aperitivos designed for sharing as well as their own individual entrée and a duo of desserts for $80 per couple. Choices include Ostras Julio Lobos, baked oysters with bacon sauce, creamed spinach, and goat cheese; Guava St. Louis Style BBQ Ribs, slow cooked and glazed with guava BBQ sauce and served with a papaya-apple slaw; Chuleta Puerco, almond adobo marinated grilled center cut rib pork chop with pineapple-smoked ham fried rice; or Suntanned North Atlantic Salmon with honey-mango glaze, giant yuca couscous, green squash, and wilted greens with a star anise tomato sauce. For dessert, there is Chocolate Torteor a traditional Cuban Flan.
- Daikaya’s menu is priced at $45 pp for a five-course menu, followed by dessert. Executive chef Katsuya Fukushima’s first bites include Oyster (2) with granny smith apple ice, wasabi oil, and arbequina olive oil and Head on Shrimp seared on salt and kombu. Guests then select an “Aomono”, or green thing, from options such as Beet Karaage with kewpie- dill yogurt; Sautéed Edamame with shrimp, and garlic; or Grilled Avocado with ponzu, crab, and passion fruit. Highlights from the “Kushi”, or skewers course include Shishamo with salt and bottarga and Wagyu Sirloin with sea urchin butter on a shiso leaf. The meat, fish, and veggie course comes next, and includes Red Miso and Red Wine Braised Beef Cheeks with (buttery dashi) potato puree; Braised Buri with daikon radish; or Warm Tofu with seasonal mushrooms. Rice options include Onigiri with kimchee and cheese; Mini Donburi with salmon and ikura, or Grilled Onigiri with chasu and onions.
- El Centro D.F’s two locations are offering a three-course, prix-fixe menu priced at $45 pp. Appetizers include Crispy Oysters with masa breading, truffle-avocado puree, napa, and chili oil; Charred Asparagus Salad; or Nopal Empanada with cactus, roasted corn, Oaxaca, and scallions. Entrées include Carnitas, slow-roasted pork shoulder, pickled onion, charro beans, Mexican rice, and habanero salsa; Roasted Vegetable Cazuela with roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnip, Brussels sprouts, celeriac puree, and mole rojo; Carne Asada, marinated hanger steak, corn tamal, rajas, and salsa morita; and Seared Peanut Crusted Tuna Loinwith mole negro, crispy yucca, mojo, and kale. Featured desserts are Banana Empanada and Passion Fruit Tart.
- Masa 14’s Latin-Asian cuisine is spotlighted in three dinner plates and dessert off the featured menu for $55 pp, or from the premium menu, for $75 pp. Featured dishes include Winter Vegetable Chirashi with butternut squash, bok choy kimchi, shiso, and shredded omelette; Lemongrass Shrimp Flatbread with Oaxaca cheese, pineapple sambal, jicama, and toasted peanut oil; Spicy Lobster Temaki with cucumber, avocado, sriracha, yuzu marmalade, and masago rice cracker; and Ancho Rubbed Beef Brisket with Oaxaca cheese potato puree, spinach and achiote truffle sauce. For dessert, guests can choose from Chocolate Terrine Masa 14, Winter Citrus Tart, or Coconut Panna Coconut.
- nopa Kitchen + Baroffers a three-course prix-fixe menu, priced at $85 pp, which includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Prepared by executive chef Greg McCarty, starters include Chicken Liver Toast and Steak Tartar. Main course selections are Butter Poached Lobster with mascarpone risotto, chestnuts, and saffron; Roasted Duck with smoked maple syrup, grilled scallion and apple salad, and soba crepes; Chilean Sea Bass with wasabi caramel and Japanese eggplant; or Soy Glazed Short Ribs with porcini puree, walnuts, and sesame. Guests receive a trio of chocolate desserts prepared by pastry chef Jemil Gadea.
- Oyamel Cocina Mexicana’s special menu is priced at $130 per couple. Diners choose one plate off the little bites menu, one antojitos frios, one antojitos calientes, one taco, one entrée, and a dessert for sharing. Highlights include Bocolones de Higado de Pato, gorditas stuffed with foie gras torchon; Camarones con Chile Seco, seared whole prawns with salsa Mexicana, salsa with ancho, and mulato chiles and dried shrimp; Taco de Pulpo, braised baby octopus with sofrito and pomegranate pico de gallo; and Chamorro de Puerco en Cochinita, Shenandoah Valley pork shank braised with achiote and Mexican sour orange.
- The Oval Roomis offering a three-course, prix-fixe menu priced at $85 pp or $130 with wine pairings. Executive chef Tony Conte’s special tasting menu includes Chilled Maine Sea Scallops with rose gelee, beet granite, and sorrel; Sweet Shrimp with roasted garlic butter, herbs, and lime;Roasted Japanese Snapper with beech mushrooms, salsify, and broth of bonito; Ember Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop with passion potatoes and char siu glazed; Crispy Chatham Cod with fennel-pistachio, salad or clams, ginger, and herbs; and Prime Beef with roasted carrots, crispy vegetable roll, and black pepper jus. An option for dessert is Milk Chocolate Trifle.
- The landmark 701 Restaurant offers couples a $85 three-course tasting menu with a choice of appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Executive chef Tony Conte’s menu includes Roasted Beet Salad with sour cherry vinaigrette, goat cheese, and mint; Chilled Nantucket Bay Scallops with cranberry, Asian pear, and star anise; Vanilla Foie Gras Terrine with pineapple quince compote and brioche;Chanterelle Tortellini with celery root and shaved white truffle; and Spiced Rubbed Duck with braised red cabbage, quince puree, and rosemary. For dessert, guests can choose from Chocolate Cherry Dome; Passion Fruit Vacherin, or the Champagne Cassis Terrine prepared by pastry chef Sally Roach.
- Rasika West End’s four-course menu is priced at $85 per person, or $130 with wine pairings. Prepared by executive chef Vikram Sunderam, guests can choose from Shrimp Chili Chocolate with chili flakes, vermicelli, and bitter sweet chocolate; Basil Black Cod with honey, basil, and cheese; Mushroom Kebab with saffron, cashew nuts, and cremini; and Lamb Chop Kaliya with rose petals, fennel powder, and saffron. A dessert sampler with Mango Honey Mille Feuille, White Chocolate Pudding, and Strawberry Basil Sorbet tops off the meal.
- At sister four-star restaurant, Rasika Penn Quarter, chef Sunderam’s four-course, prix-fixe menu (also priced at $85 pp, or $130 with wine pairings) begins with an amuse bouche of Dahi Pakodi Chaatwith lentil fritter, sweet yogurt, and date tamarind chutney followed by a choice of first course, second course, entrée, and dessert. Standout dishes include Vanilla Chicken Tikka with Madagascar vanilla beans, ginger, and garlic; Nimboo Grouper with kaffir lime leaves, ginger, garlic, and lemon pickle; Paneer Badami Tikki with cottage cheese, almonds, and black pepper; and Duck Moilee with curry leaves, coconut milk, and tomatoes.
- Zengo spins a blend of regional Latin-Asian styles and flavors, prepared by chef-owner Richard Sandoval and chef de cuisine Jason Streiff. Couplescan choose any four plates off the pre-selected menu for $55 pp or opt for dishes off the restaurant’s premium menu, for $75 pp. Highlights include Salt & Pepper Shrimp Tacos with day boat shrimp, salsa verde, pickled cabbage, and lemon-sake aioli on flour tortillas; Wagyu Beef Shabu Shabu with kombu-chipotle broth, baby corn, shiitake mushrooms, and baby bok choy; and Korean Fried Chicken with gochujang glaze, chayote slaw, and corn-potato salad. For dessert, there is a choice of Lemon Yuzu Cake, Mexican Chocolate Tart, or Passion Fruit Sorbet.
By Joann Whitcher