Procrastinator's Guide to Valentine's
Still need plans for Valentine’s Day? Don’t panic.
Yes, tables for two at popular options like Brennan’s, Hugo’s, Kata Robata, and State of Grace are either fully booked or available at unappealing times — at least, according to online reservation apps. The same situation applies to some of last year’s best new restaurants like Riel, Nancy’s Hustle, and Doris Metropolitan.
A determined couple might be able to walk in just about anywhere after 9 pm, but why take the risk when a range of last-minute options exist for celebrating with that special someone that still have tables available. Consider the 13 suggestions below before doing something desperate — like trying to bribe a maitre d' for the last table at Steak 48.
The new, new thing
Feeling experimental? Why not try a restaurant that just opened in the past few weeks? Sit down to ’Pashgettios and cocktails at BCK: Kitchen & Cocktail Adventures, soba salad and wine at Night Heron, or a rousing game of Hey, That’s My Fish and pizza at Coral Sword.
EaDo restaurant Leeland House hasn’t started dinner service yet, but chef Jennifer Hoffman has created a five-course, $75, Valentine's Day menu (includes gratuity, wine pairings available for an additional charge) that includes braised short rib ravioli, blood orange burrata salad, and stuffed quail. Reservations are required. Make them via Eventbrite.
Skip the wait
Restaurants that don’t take reservations offer another avenue for those who still need plans. Holiday diners typically like the certainty of a set seating time, which makes these popular places slower than they might be otherwise.
Roost chef Kevin Naderi tells CultureMap that waits at his six year-old Montrose restaurant never get that long on Valentine’s, and people who do choose to wait can enjoy a glass of wine or beer in the restaurant's upstairs lounge. In addition to its normal menu, Roost will feature a few special items for two.
It’s a similar story at Field & Tides, where chef Travis Lenig will be operating as normal. He promises some “nice features” in addition to F&T’s usual Southern-influenced fare.
Chef Martin Stayer will have a couple of features on the menu at Nobie’s, but it will otherwise be business as usual at the casual Montrose spot. Even better, all whiskeys are half-off on Wednesdays, and everyone knows that $6 pours of Weller 12 are always sexy.
For those who are feeling especially frugal, consider dinner at Paulie’s. The well-executed Italian-American fare, all Italian wine list, and friendly staff make any meal memorable. Afterwards, customers can walk next door to Camerata for a more traditionally romantic atmosphere and a glass of bubbles.
Even procrastinators deserve the ceremony of a multi-course prix fixe menu. Here’s a few establishments that still had tables available as of Sunday.
At FM Kitchen & Bar, chef Ryan Hildebrand has created a three-course menu for two ($88). Start with a salad, choose from one of three entrees (smoked, bone-in pork loin, roasted chicken, or a 30-ounce bone-in ribeye for $28 more), and finish with chocolate and fig bread pudding. The price even includes four champagne splits on ice.
Francophiles should flock to Maison Pucha Bistro in The Heights, where chef Manuel Pucha is offering a four-course, $85 dinner menu that features signature items like ponzu crab, wild mushroom-stuffed Texas quail, and pastry chef Victor Pucha’s white and dark chocolate souffle. Wine pairings are available for an additional $55.
Weights + Measures always makes a nice setting for a special evening. On Valentine’s Day, chef Richard Kaplan is offering a three-course, $69 menu ($99 with wine wine pairings) that starts with either grilled octopus or roasted lamb chops. For entrees, choose from seafood fettuccine (with lobster, shrimp, and scallops) or a 10-ounce filet before finishing with either white chocolate panna cotta or dark chocolate truffle cake.
Helen in the Heights is serving a four-course, $75 menu ($115 with pairings). Chef William Wright’s offerings include marinated beet salad, octopus terrine, and braised short rib. Vegan and gluten-free options are also available.
The presence of Maurizio Ferrarese has given Rice Village’s Sud Italia new gusto. On Valentine’s Day, the three-course, $49.50 menu consists of crab salad, cavatelli pasta with lobster and sea urchin sauce, and a duo of veal cheeks and scallops. Add dessert for $12 per couple.
Prefer to drink your Valentine's Day meal? Check out last week's suggestions of bars that are offering special deals.