Smile Politely

Here’s your guide for Valentine’s Day dining

Valentine’s Day: A day to celebrate your love and desire. A day to roll your eyes at the bag of $10 candy, only to buy it for $2 the next day. Despite some early connections to the Christian church, the day has been mostly marketed as secular. Strong connections to proclamations of romantic love began as early as the 15th century, but became more mainstream in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the early 20th century, the Hallmark Company provided an opportunity to show and share your love through greeting cards, and of course, here we are a century later booking tables for two at expensive restaurants, and offering gifts of flowers and chocolate.

Here, in the 21st century, Valentine’s Day can be more than a performance of heteronormativity and sentimentality — it can be an opportunity to share a delicious meal with a person you care about, romantically or otherwise.

And so, I’ve put together a bit of a guide for you to consider for this week’s event. Be sure to call ahead for a reservation, and consider Fleurish for your floral needs. And, just for the record, Valentine’s Day is this Wednesday, February 14th.

Perhaps the quintessential fine dining restaurant in C-U, bacaro is the place to go for all of your special occasions. The winter menu looks incredible; if you can’t decide, consider the tasting menu ($85/person). Photo of buffalo cauliflower, celery salad, pine nuts, blue cheese from Facebook

Baxter’s American Grill
Baxter’s gave a solid performance during Restaurant Week, so if you missed it and still want an excuse to try the restaurant, here’s your chance. Items are a la carte, and extra bonus — the specials run all week.

Bentley’s Anti-Valentine’s Day
This is the event for the cranky and non-conforming. There will be four DJs spinning goth, new wave, punk, and metal. Drink specials include $4 Caipiroskas and $3 Fireballs, but no one should willingly drink Fireball, so choose something else. Doors are at 8 p.m., and there’s no cover.

Casablanca at The Art Theater
There are a lot people who love Casablanca and find it deeply romantic. That’s cool. It’s playing at The Art at 7:30 p.m., and you can grab dinner before or after the show; consider Sushi Kame or Miga.

Crane Alley 
Crane is offering several different dishes on special for Valentine’s Day. All dishes are a la carte.

~Course 1~
-Beet Chips with Goat Cheese Cream
-Prince Edward Island Mussels with garlic, onion, celery, bloody mary mix, worcestershire, and garlic toast

~Course 2~
-Butternut Squash soup with toasted almonds
-Beer braised pork belly with  russels sprout puree and fried onions

~Course 3~
-Filet Mignon Wellington with puff pastry, caramelized shallots, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and peppercorn sauce
-Salmon en Papillote with asparagus, long grain wild rice, herbed compound butter, and lemon
-Eggplant Parmesan with sun dried tomato marinara, angel hair pasta, and garlic toast

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle for 2 ♥
Amaretto Spumoni Cheesecake

Have a glass of wine before going to dinner, or have a glass of wine after dinner. You could even pair your wine with a cupcake from Cream & Flutter next door.

Hamilton Walker’s
While there isn’t a special menu being served up at Hamilton Walker’s, they are doing this collaboration with Christopher’s with a bunch of giveaways.

Kohinoor is celebrating Valentine’s Day at the same time it celebrates its first birthday. The restuarant will feature some special desserts, and have a special Valentine’s Day menu available for dine-in. 

We posted a little while ago that Maize’s would offer a four-course Valentine’s Day menu. If you haven’t already, go ahead and make your reservations. Dinner will be delicious, no matter what is being served.

Miga is offering their usual specials Wednesday-Saturday, which includes a heart shaped Valentine Roll and a 5 course tasting menu. Pictured left, courtesy of Miga.

Nando Milano 
Nando doesn’t have a special Valentine’s Day menu, but the restaurant screams “special occasion.” The atmosphere in the restaurant lends itself to romance — it’s dimly lit, with intimate tables. There’s an extensive wine list, and I’m sure your server will recommend several bottles that pair well with your food. You can check out SP’s most recent review of Nando’s here.

Silvercreek’s special menu includes several different appetizers, soups, salads, and entrées. There are at least a couple of options for vegetarians, as well as filet mignon, lamb, and prime rib. Dessert can be for one or two.

V. Picasso 
This prix fixe menu looks really tasty. At $60 per person, it’s not cheap. The four-course menu has a carnivore and a vegetarian option at each course, though I think $60 is a little steep for a full-on vegetarian meal. You’ll need to make a reservation, and they’re filling up quickly, so don’t wait too long.

The WheelHouse
If you venture over to St. Joe, there’s a Valentine’s week menu that they’ve been utilizing since the end of last week. Check that menu out here. The WheelHouse is quite good, if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, you should. Duck breast pictured below. 

Photos by Jessica Hammie, except where noted

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