Valentine's Day dining: Have you made reservations yet?
With Valentine's Day around the corner, tables at romantic restaurants are being snapped up all over town. This year, the usual displays of opulence are in the mix -- think lobster, foie gras, truffles and beef tenderloin -- but there are also choices for those who want to celebrate in a less-traditional way.
After the jump, see your options in a variety of price ranges along with some ideas for wine lovers. You can always visit OpenTable.com for more possibilities and to book a table.
Under $50 per person
It's rare that "cheap" and "romantic" are both used describe the same restaurant, but Old Town's Fontaine Caffe & Creperie fits both criteria. The charming bistro serves sweet and savory pancakes, including a few that are hearty enough to fill up guys who balk at the idea of eating crepes for a special occasion. The three-course prix-fixe menu ($34.95 per person) goes beyond crepes with items like leek-and-potato soup.
For French fare that isn't wrapped in a shell, check out Bastille, also in Old Town. From Feb. 12 through 14, the restaurant offers three courses for $45 (wine pairings are an additional $25). Pan-roasted duck and two preparations of veal are among the entrees, along with a root-vegetable tagine. Red velvet cheesecake is one of the desserts. (Menu)
Early and late reservations are still available for Valentine's Day at Masa 14, the hot Latin-Asian fusion restaurant on 14th Street NW. The three-course prix-fixe menu ($49 per person) includes foie gras torchon with chocolate, coffee-rubbed Wagyu sirloin and Yucatan lobster with quail egg, achiote, capers and raisins.
Between $50 and $75 per person
For dinner on Feb. 12 through 14, Addie's in Rockville presents its usual a la carte menu and Nate Waugaman's special four-course tasting menu featuring rabbit consomme, seared day-boat scallops, pan-roasted pheasant and zinfandel-braised pork cheeks ($55 per person). The restaurant doesn't usually offer brunch, but it's opening from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. just for Feb. 14. (Dinner menu).
Chef Mark Furstenberg lent his considerable talents to Perrys this year for its Valentine's menu. From Feb. 12 through 14, you'll find dishes like braised pork belly with orange and anise broth and Alaskan black cod with baby leeks and sweet potato mash and for dessert, chocolate cake with black cherry brandy sauce. The price for the four-course meal ($55 per person) includes a glass of sparkling wine. (Menu)
Beloved local chef Roberto Donna helped A La Lucia create its $70-per-person Valentine's menu. Beef tenderloin and lobster risotto make up the main attractions, and a wine pairing is available for $25.
From Feb. 12 through 14, the W Hotel's chic meat market, J&G Steakhouse, offers a four-course meal that clocks in at $70 per person. Dishes include a crab cake with a ginger-lime vinaigrette, parmesan risotto with mushrooms and herbs and an 8-ounce filet mignon, of course. The regular menu will be available as well. (Menu - PDF)
More than $75 per person
Chef Terri Cutrino of Cafe Atlantico looked to Brazil's Carnaval for her Valentine's Day inspiration. The six-course meal includes a hearts of palm salad with passion fruit, orange, chayote, quinoa and almonds; crab soup with okra and curry and entrees like braised oxtail and beef tongue and a stew of lobster, monkfish and coconut risotto. The meal begins with one of beverage director Jill Zimorski's creations: a mini passion fruit martini called the "Carnaval Love Potion." (Menu - PDF)
Want pure indulgence for Valentine's? Bourbon Steak wouldn't have it any other way; its five-course meal was designed with sharing in mind. Couples nosh on oysters and champagne to start, moving on to ahi tuna tartare with toasted sesame oil, ancho chile, Asian pear and mint. Entrees include lobster risotto with black truffles and chateaubriand for two. Dessert is equally posh: passion fruit panna cotta with a lemongrass consomme and a warm milk chocolate fondant with Nutella ice cream. The meal is available for dinner on Feb. 13 and 14 for $199 per couple. (Menu - PDF)
A focus on wine
Northern Virginia wineries could be a pastoral option for lovebirds. Notaviva Vineyards partnered with a caterer to provide a three-course meal in its tasting room with entrees such as beef tenderloin and stuffed cod. A bottle of the vineyard's wine is included in the $160-per-couple purchase price, and a live jazz band provides entertainment. The dinner will be held on Feb. 13 and 14; there is only one seating each night, at 6:30 p.m. (Menu/more information)
Lost Creek Winery will host a more low-key daytime affair. From 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 and 14, lovebirds can stop into the winery for lasagna, wine and bread. The cost ($10 per person) includes entertainment by local singer-guitarist David Davol. Make a reservation by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 703-443-9836.
Wine lovers can indulge in a bouquet of rose wines at Poste Moderne Brasserie over Valentine's weekend. The regular a la carte menu is in effect, but diners can sample two-ounce pours of three sparkling roses for $20 or three four-ounce pours for $35. At fellow Kimpton restaurant Urbana, which offers a $65 prix-fixe menu, take advantage of the usual half-price wine night on Sundays.
Keep in mind that Valentine's Day is to restaurants what St. Patrick's Day is to Irish bars. Looking for a low-key dining affair? Opt for going to your favorite casual joint or nibbling on bar food.
-- Julia Beizer
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