Let's be honest. With three days to go before Valentine's Day, the best reservation times at the highest profile restaurants are gone.
Want to treat that special someone to dinner at a hotspot like State of Grace or an institution like Brennan's? Better luck next year. Or, you know, next week — after all, who says love should only be celebrated one day or weekend each year?
The following restaurants are confirmed to have tables available on both Saturday and Sunday as of Wednesday afternoon. They're a mix of recently opened places that are too new to be Valentine's destinations or more established restaurants that are flying a little under the radar. Of course, available tables are likely to go quickly. Act fast.
If discretion is the better part of valor, then perhaps staying out of a restaurant entirely is the better part of romance on Valentine's. The Washington Ave steakhouse is fully booked, but its companion butcher shop is offering a to-go package that's hard to beat. For only $130, choose from two appetizers (lobster bisque, Caesar salad or shrimp cocktail), a shared entree (Chateaubriand, beef Wellington, or two, 10-ounce filets), sides, and dessert. For an additional fee, add one of three floral arrangements from John Friedman Flowers.
The Durham House
Recently hired chef Mike McElroy is offering a four-course, $60 menu Friday through Sunday. Dishes include appetizers like smoked beef tartare and lamb headcheese roulade as well as entrees like pheasant with parsnips and heirloom carrots and lobster tagliatelle. Finish with dark chocolate pot de creme or cranberry citrus semifreddo. The regular menu will also be available Friday and Saturday.
The Northern Thai restaurant will be open for brunch and dinner all weekend. A menu of shareable dishes like fried herbs, laap, and Isaan grilled chicken will stimulate the palate. Pair the meal with the restaurant's creative cocktails or extensive wine list.
This Midtown restaurant breaks the trend of marked-up prix fixe menus by not only serving its regular menu of Japanese-inspired, elevated pub fare all weekend but will also sell all bottles of wine for half-price all weekend. Yes, a discount on Valentine's Day weekend! In addition, the bar will serve three, $7 cocktails on Sunday.
French food certainly connotes romance. With Artisans charging a $140 per person and Etoile fully booked all weekend, why not consider this intimate Montrose restaurant from former Tony's chef Olivier Ciesielski? The four-course menu ($75, $120 with wine) starts with choices like shrimp cocktail and lobster bisque. The five entree choices include truffle seabass, roasted shrimp, and duck leg confit. Finish with chocolate or floating island.
Recently relocated to downtown, the Mexican seafood restaurant is serving a reasonably priced three-course menu that's only $39.99 for lunch or $49.99 at dinner but includes wine pairings. Start with an order of ceviche or a tostada. The three entree options include braised short ribs and a catch of the day. Finish with tres leches.
For Valentine's weekend, the Upper Kirby restaurant is serving a special four-course, $65 menu that's inspired by Parisian bistro fare ($100 with wine pairing). Start with asparagus salad or truffled brie then choose from quail and lobster salad or gingerbread-crusted foie gras with spiced red wine reduction. Entree choices consist of beef filet with olive oil mashed potatoese, mille feuille of rock shrimp and black mussels, and duck breast with roasted baby turnips. For dessert, choose from a chocolate tart or keep it seasonal with strawberry shortcake. The restaurant will also be open for brunch on Sunday with an extensive buffet for only $29 per person.
Chef Greg Lowry's three-course sharing menu at this Memorial-area gastropub starts with grilled Gulf oysters with charred jalapeno and scallion butter then moves on to a smoked ribeye with sides of lobster spoonbread and Brussels sprouts and etoufée cream. For dessert, the menu features adult milk and cookies with iced Bailey's and almond coffee. Available all weekend for $99 per couple, it's also a good value.
Although it's typically closed on Sunday, this Montrose favorite will be open for Valentine's. Best of all, it's accepting reservations only for parties of six or more. Choose from its regular menu of shareable dishes or opt for a special, three-course Valentine's menu ($85) that includes dishes like fried green tomatoes or gumbo to start, duck two ways or tandoori salmon for entrees, and banana split with brown butter ice cream for dessert.
Believe it or not, one of Houston's premier dining destinations is not only open for a rare Sunday service on Valentine's, but the restaurant confirmed it still has tables available for Sunday night. The restaurant has three seatings: 5:30 pm ($85 per person), 7:15 ($135 per person, includes a live band), and 9:30 ($85). The four-course menu features lots of tempting choices including short rib-stuffed raviolini, burrata pugliese, snapper Francese, and 55-day dry-aged prime ribeye ($17 supplement). Those looking for a real splurge can indulge with Japanese beef or caviar.