We ♥ Hou
The procrastinator's guide to Valentine's Day in Houston
Contrary to popular opinion around locker rooms and fraternity houses, Valentine's Day was not, in fact, invented by a cabal of greeting card companies, candy heart manufacturers and flower companies.
The legend of St. Valentine dates back to the Roman empire, when, according to legend, Emperor Claudius II forbid young Roman men from marrying in hopes of making them better soldiers. Valentine, a priest, defied the order and married young lovers in secret. Jailed for his crimes, Valentine reportedly fell in love with his jailer's daughter, sending her a love letter infamously signed "from your Valentine."
Feeling the pressure? Don't worry—your lover just wants some time, love and tenderness. Ready to up the ante? We've got the low-down on the most romantic spots in town.
Vive La French
Nothing says "special occasion" quite like a Continental feast. On Sunday, Brasserie Max & Julie will serve their famous brunch and a five-course menu ($52/person) starting at 4:30 p.m. Bistro Provence will offer a three-course menu Friday through Sunday, with courses themed "The Seduction," "The Passion," and "Happily Ever After" ($58/person). Humble's Chez Nous will offer a three-course dinner on Saturday and Sunday ($95/person) including champagne and a strolling accordian player for a classic French atmosphere.
Or dine at Au Petit Paris, where a charming converted house belies a strict focus on superb food, with a three-course menu ($59/person, $79/person with wine) offered for dinner Feb. 14. In the newly remodeled (but always stunning)La Colombe d'Or, choose from the regular menu and a prix fixe special. Charming Rice Village eatery Cafe Rabelais will open on Sunday for Valentine's, offering a three-course meal at 5:30 p.m. ($42/person) and five-course seatings at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ($52/person).
Ever since Lady and the Tramp shared a spaghetti noodle, Italian food has been the stuff of romance. Da Marco will be offering a four-course prix fixe menu ($95/person), the intimate Ristorante Cavour in Hotel Granduca sets the tone with roses for the ladies, piano music, and dinner off the full menu or the special five-course menu ($65/person). Quattro in the Four Seasons will have four and six-course dinners on Feb. 13 and 14 ($84 and $99 per person, respectively, without wine pairings; $130 and $160 per person with wine pairings) as well as a special Sunday brunch buffet ($62/person).
Or dine in the drama of Valentino with a five-course meal and a complimentary round of champagne ($89/person or $140/person with wine pairings). Facing spectacular waterfall views in the Texas Medical Center, Trevisio will offer special a la carte menu options. Take a detour to Sardinia at Arcodoro, serving a special four-course dinner all Valentine's weekend. At Tony's, which is actually Continental rather than Italian, go for the four-course dinner ($95/person) or three-course brunch ($45), or for a more casual approach folks can check out the latest Vallone creation, Ciao Bello, for a three-course brunch ($35/person) or four-course dinner ($55/person), both with open seating.
Red Hot American Supper
There's no need to venture across the pond for a top-notch Valentine's meal. Fleming's will offer a special sharing menu for two all weekend, with a $25 gift card included for a future visit. Mo's will have a $100 dinner of Australian lobster tail and a 12-oz. ribeye for two to share on Valentine's Day, and Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse is serving prix fixe meals of a starter, entrees, sides and dessert for two for $109 after 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday—but if you're heading to the theater, the same meal is offered before 6 p.m for only $89. Feb. 13-14 Alden-Houston's breathtaking *17 will offer an inventive four-course meal, with the dessert available to be enjoyed on the Veranda with jazz music and dancing ($70/person). Voice in the Hotel Icon will serve a four-course feast of aphrodisiacs including Pacific oysters, black truffle gnocchi and a dark chocolate hazelnut bombe ($75/person), and Monarch's special four-course meal is optional on Friday and Saturday and set on Sunday ($125/person). Both Benjy's locations will have a four-course menu ($65/person), or take in views of Discovery Green from The Grove, which will offer its regular a la carte menu plus a special three-course dinner ($38/person) and a filet/lobster special. Mockingbird Bistro will have a three-course dinner ($65/person), and Backstreet Cafe will serve patrons free half-bottles of prosecco with the three-course prix fixe meal all weekend ($59/person). Or indulge atThe Rockwood Room with their weekend-long "Lobster is for Lovers" special ($75/person).
Looking to bust out of the expected genres? Europeans and steakhouses don't have a monopoly on romance—or culinary delights. Head to Feast for three courses of British nose-to-tail specialties and a complimentary glass of champagne ($45/person), or to Indika for a three-course modern Indian dinner with champagne, truffles and flowers on Saturday ($60/person) or supercharged Sunday brunch ($40/person). Hugo's will serve three-course meals of upscale interior Mexican favorites in honor of San Valentin ($57/person), Straits will have a four-course dinner of Singaporean delights ($55/person), Sushi Raku will offer a six-course tasting ($52-$80/person) and RA Sushi will serve a special "Love Me RA" menu all weekend featuring themed cocktails, signature sushi and DJ-spun tunes.
True gastronomes can beg, plead and cajole for reservations in Textile for the genre-busting seven-course degustation menu.