With all the Super Bowl hype — and corresponding post-Super Bowl hangover — you may have just turned the page on your calendar and noticed that Valentine's Day is next week.
Since the more calendar conscious romantics have snapped up the best reservations at the old familiar faves, why not paint the town red at one of the city’s hottest new restaurants? Dazzle your date with a feast at these five spots, all serving up insanely delicious dishes from watermelon-glazed seared duck to tandoor-roasted Cornish hen
Double your pleasure at casual eatery Agu Ramen where the $20 Valentine’s Day deal includes both the Hawaiian poke bowl (cubes of yellowfin tuna are tossed with green onions, sea salt and sesame seed oil) and a piping hot bowl of ramen.
Choose between the deliciously light shio ramen, made with chicken-based broth, hand-cut noodles and sea salt, or the rich shoyu tonkotsu featuring noodles and pork broth, plus house-made pork char siu, soft boiled egg, crunchy menma (a Japanese condiment made from bamboo shoots), fresh negi (leeks), and nori (seaweed). Yes, slurping is sexy (multiple locations).
Southern eats, along with local craft beer, are the focus at Ritual in the Heights. Several alluring specials supplement the regular menu on February 14. Choose from dishes like watermelon-glazed seared duck topped with smoked purple cauliflower and cranberries, red beet bisque with candied pecans and goat cheese, and powerhouse aphrodisiac, raw oysters. The libido boosters, available by the half dozen, come with Fresno chile, pomegranate and champagne sorbet, and lime juice (602 Studewood; 832-203-5180).
Wine and dine your date at Nobie’s in Montrose. The cozy spot is taking the holiday seriously by offering up five courses of delectable fare ($69 per person; add an additional $45 per person for wine pairings). Menu highlights include truffle pasta, crispy pork belly, and parsnip bisque. Sign us up (2048 Colquitt St.; 346-319-5919).
Impress your date with an evening at Kiran’s, which recently moved to a new address near Upper Kirby. The upscale eatery with inventive Indian fusion cuisine presents a six-course tasting menu ($95 per person) of stellar dishes including tandoor-roasted Cornish hen with spinach, kale, and apricot biryani (spicy mixed rice), Hudson Valley foie gras with fig chutney, and lamb t-bone with parmesan garlic new potatoes. Make the commitment and book your table now. It’s reservations only to this affair (2925 Richmond Ave.; 713 960-8472).
Brasserie du Parc
If you’re looking for a decadent option, look no further than French eatery Brasserie du Parc, the new restaurant near Discovery Green from Etoile chef-owner Philippe Verpiand. The Valentine’s Day menu boasts delicious creations like crevettes du golfe (gulf shrimp with crushed avocado, grapefruit and tarragon cocktail sauce), salade de chèvre (spring mix salad with warm goat cheese crouton, peppered honey and green apple), and baies rouges (crepe filled with homemade red berry preserve and vanilla chantilly). Pricing is a la carte. Bon appetit (1440 Lamar; 832-879-2802).