Dinner x 2 = ?
The perfect formula for a perfect Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is once again near and despite the economy you can still take your loved one on a romantic trip around the world without breaking the bank or leaving New York! First stop a quick trip to the land of romance, France.
Bagatelle (409 West 13th Street, btw. 9th Avenue & Washington Street, ph: 212-675-2400), the Southern French inspired restaurant will serve a five course pre-fixe menu, $85, that includes; Lobster Caesar Salad, romaine heart, poached eggs, shaved parmesan, and poached lobster; Homemade Foie Gras Terrine, apple chutney, and grilled bread; Grilled Tuna with Piperade Sauce, fennel salad and scallions; and for desert Strawberry and Chocolate Parfait.
Travel to Paris, it is recreated at Alain Ducasse’s Benoit (60 West 55th Street, btw. 5th & 6th Avenues, ph: 646-943-7373), offering two-for-one cocktails until 8pm. Parisian Mixologist Theirry Hernandez created the cocktail menu which includes unique edible cocktails such as La Fondue Pineapple, pineapple marshmallows to dip into a piña colada syrup (Malibu rum, coconut, pineapple) or French Toast Bellini, martini marmalade (vodka, peach liquor, peach purée) to spread on fresh mini baguettes.
During this Valentine’s season, Benoit has a special Love Snack Menu offered at a spectacular starting price of $1 – $12 per item, available only from the 12th of February through the 15th, returning to regular prices thereafter. Choose between Tartine of Salmon Tartare, honey, dill and mustard vinaigrette; Mini Croque Monsieur; Duck Foie Gras Terrine, toasted Parisienne brioche; Ricotta and Spinach Barbarjouan (9 pieces); or Egg Mayo at $1 each. A signature item not to be missed is Benoit’s Mini Boudin Slider, served with roasted apples and just the right amount of spice to keep the signature Alain Ducasse champagne flowing!
Cozy up with your lover in the sexy new Boudoir at New York’s newest French brasserie Perle (62 Pearl Street at Broad Street, 212-248-4848). Perle has an unbeatable recession friendly menu with dishes such as Filet de Boeuf Pomme Croquante, filet mignon, crispy potatoes and truffle juice ($7.50); Poulpe Grillé, succulent grilled octopus ($4); Bouchée au Suprème de Poulet, chicken with wild mushroom in crusty fillo ($3.50); Canard et Polenta aux Cepes a la Cuillere, duck breast and porcini mushroom with polenta ($6.50); Noix de St. Jacques, grilled scallops, pancetta, chives, olive oil ($6); Ravioli Maison aux Cepes, porcini mushroom ravioli with truffle essence ($4); tender Escargots in a warm garlic butter sauce ($9); Roasted Baby Striped Bass with citrus virgin olive oil ($7.50). Before heading home try one of Perle’s aphrodisiac cocktails like the French Kiss Cocktail, Dark Chocolate Martini, or even their Oyster Shooters.
For those who want to experience the splendor of Japan the journey is short. Head over to Megu New York (62 Thomas Street, btw. West Broadway and Church St, ph: 212-964-7777) or Megu Midtown (845 UN Plaza, at 47th St at 1st Ave, ph: 212-644-0777) who will be showering their guest in roses, roses, roses! The restaurant will be covered in rose petals and every lady will receive her very own rose upon arrival.
Megu’s Valentine’s menu for $125 per person will have diners falling in love with dishes such as Sakura Champagne with Foie Gras Lolipop; Roasted Tajima Kobe Beef with Fruit Salad; Chef’s Choice Sashimi; Ume Plum Granite; Tajima Kobe Beef Kagero Yaki; Omakase Nigiri Sushi served with Akadashi Miso Soup; and a special Valentine’s Day Dessert.
Megu has also created their own special cocktail exclusively for the Valentine’s weekend: the Megu Kiss, made with Godiva Dark Chocolate, Hennessy V.S, Grand Marnier, Banana Nectar and garnished with a heart shaped Strawberry in a Martini glass.
Escape to a far away land of sensual delights at the just-opened Casa La Femme (140 Charles Street at Washington Street, ph: 212-505-0005). Teeming with romantic atmosphere, this Northern Egyptian restaurant, which achieved popularity during its twelve-year occupation in SoHo and two years on the Upper East Side, is back and better than ever! For Valentine’s Day, the mood will be set by Casa’s striking and lavish interior, complete with intimate tables for two sheathed by flowing organza tents, large cushions for lounging on the floor of the sunken main dining area (nicknamed “Pacha’s Boudoir”), glowing fireplaces, private areas set off by lush greenery, belly dancing, and an abundance of rose petals and candlelight. A sumptuous prix-fixe Valentine’s menu will be offered at four seating times, at $100 per person for a private tent for two, $75/pp for cushion seating in the den, and $55/pp for a table in the über romantic lounge. Portions sized for sharing, and made to feed to your habibi by hand for the ultimate passionate experience, starting with freshly-baked Sesame Pita Bread with Mazzas (Hummus, Babagonoush and Tahini to name but a few) and moving on to an assortment of authentic Egyptian fare. Check please!
For a dining experience that is en pointe, try Jeffrey Chodorow’s latest steak concept, Center Cut (Empire Hotel, 44 West 63rd Street, Mezzanine, 212-956-1288), overlooking Lincoln Center. Whether or not opera or the ballet are on your menu this Valentine’s, Center Cut is a perfect choice for enjoying steak house “classics” and the grand style of a bygone era balanced with contemporary sensibility. Sink into a buttery leather banquette and bask in the candlelit warm mahogany tones that surround. Start your meal with Oysters, a time-tested aphrodisiac, or other delectable fresh selections from the Raw Bar. Move on to appetizers from Moulard Duck Foie Gras Terrine to Berkshire Bacon Wrapped Diver Scallops or choose a creamy Golden Potato and White Truffle or Inverted French Onion soup to warm the winter chill. Then indulge in traditional favorites like Steak Diane and Steak Oscar or choose from an array of luscious center cuts of Brandt Farms’ hormone and antibiotic free meats, paired with mouth-watering sauces. Innovative sides, portioned for sharing, include Roasted Corn & Manchego Gratin, Wild Mushroom Strudel and Creamed Spinach & Artichoke Pie. If your Valentine’s not a in the mood for a carnivorous feast, seafood and poultry entrées including Baked Ziti Lobster Thermidor, Duck Ellington and Chilean Sea Bass are also available. And just for Valentine’s Day, Center Cut adds a special $65 Surf ‘n Turf that includes a 6oz Brandt beef fillet with a 1 ¼ lb lobster, or choose to upgrade to Kobe beef for $10 more. For dessert, choose from romantic tableside flambés or Pastry Swans filled with Chocolate Covered Strawberries. Complimentary Petite Fours complete a marvelous meal.
For those who want to spend Valentine’s Day at home but are afraid their culinary skills won’t rise to the occasion, help and guidance is just a few clicks away. Kitchen Caravan (www.kitchencaravan.com), the burgeoning online food show created by two NYC foodies, has just the thing to make the night a memorable one. Fresh from a month long culinary tour of Mexico, Kitchen Caravan has assembled a special Valentine’s Day episode dedicated to Mole Pablano. Host and co-founder Sophia Brittan will demonstrate how to make a real mole, as well as quick tips on how to assemble this meal in a jiffy.
Or if you’re looking to wow your Valentine with a three course meal, here’s another option: Kitchen Caravan’s Valentine’s Day menu kicks off with a Passion Party Cocktail, made up of freshly squeezed grapefruit, limejuice, rum, and spices including cinnamon and cardamom. The first course features a Sexy Fennel Salad, with grapefruit, avocado and toasted pistachios. The main course is Casanova’s Risotto with Pistachio Oil and the night finishes off with an alternative to the typical chocolate dessert, instead they suggest their Halloumi Bundles of Love, which features delicious Halloumi cheese wrapped in dough and topped with jam.
Foodies and lovers: rejoice no matter what your mood or budget, these fine establishments have what it takes to make this Valentine’s Day heartfelt!