|Chocolate Love Affair Frozen Yogurt. at 16 Handles.|
by Erin Frankel
Dinner for two on Valentine's Day. It's a big decision and I'm here to help. So, how do you decide where to go? Below is a short list of the most interesting Valentine's Day menus around town. And you can still get a table!:
355 Greenwich Street
Menu Highlights: A selection of East and West Coast oysters with with lemon and chili magnonette; ricotta cavatelli with duck confit, eggplant, tomato, and chevre; salmon tartare with truffle, shallot, micro salad, and potato gaufrettes; day boat sea scallops topped with a truffle soy vinaigrette and accompanied by a crispy shiitake salad; lobster thermidor topped with parmigiano reggiano, fine herbs, and baby portabellas; skillet roasted chicken with brussels sprouts, bacon, and butternut squash puree; and grilled sweet potato topped with a leek vinaigrette, oyster mushrooms, and organic kale.
Appeal Factor: For the sophisticated woman who appreciates the best and brightest of old-school American chefs (aka Jimmy Bradley) in a timelessly ambitious, first-rate restaurant (10 years and counting) and opts for seasonally-driven, rustic yet fine cuisine. And, if she is well-attuned to wine varietals, the 300-label wine list here should impress her as well.
153 Elizabeth Street
Menu Highlights: A mixed greens salad with champagne vinaigrette; mustard crusted diver scallops; grilled pork loin with kabocha squash and peanuts; steamed halibut drizzled with ginger broth and accompanied by napa cabbage; lamb chops topped with blue cheese and roasted winter vegetables; cranberry cheesecake topped with poached cranberries and pistachio tuile; and bananas foster chocolate mousse.
Appeal Factor: For the hip, downtown denizen craving a warm, cozy, yet modern space complemented by seasonally-inspired American Nouveau cuisine and a killer cocktail menu. If she's a Southern gal, this is your spot.
|Close quarters at Ellabess.|
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Menu Highlights: Heart-shaped chocolate brownies with four chocolate covered strawberries and strawberry sauce served over whipped cream and a raspberry mouse heart with raspberry sauce.
Appeal Factor: For the abundantly hearty foodie who favors copious portions in a festive atmosphere. After dinner, you can seduce her with the Valentine's Day Kiss, a lover's concoction made with Grey Goose Vodka, Creme Cacao White, and smooth Godiva white liqueur topped with shaved chocolate.
|Socarrat Paella Bar
259 W. 19th St.
Menu Highlights: Paella Especial for two, with prawns, red snapper, bonita flakes, and artichokes, followed by heart-shaped churros with chocolate dipping sauce.
Appeal Factor: For the unpretentious and authentic paella aficionado with a penchant for small, intimate and sexy quarters. The whiff of garlic, pork fat and prawn sauce makes for a truly bona fide Iberian experience.
|Socarrat Paella Bar.|
|Neely's Barbecue Parlor
Neighborhood: Upper East Side
1125 First Avenue
Menu Highlights: Wild mushrooms in a puff pastry heart with shallot cream sauce; heart-shaped lobster ravioli in a rich lobster bourbon broth; and raspberry mouse heart in a sweet raspberry sauce.
Appeal Factor: For the Memphis transplant who loves her ribs, pulled pork, and mac and cheese as much as her man. Neely's is Memphis-themed honky-tonk meets the Upper East Side. Your date will be left in an oh-my-god meat coma by the end of the night. Maybe not such a good thing!
|Neely's Barbecue Parlor.|
Neighborhood: Meatpacking District
69 Gansevoort Street
Menu Highlights: Foie gras terrine with red wine gelee; portobello mushroom duxcelle; oil poached Artic Char on parsnip puree; apple parsnip chip lamb rib chop with basil pesto confit potato; and a complimentary glass of champagne and an oyster with champagne foam.
Appeal Factor: For the lady who loves the gritty glitz of the Meatpacking District sans the table dancing and velvet ropes. Here's to the decadent and dapper couple.
|The Red Cat
227 10th Avenue
Menu Highlights: Roasted red pepper and tomato soup with garlic croutons and fresh basil; country pate with cornichons, chives, and sliced bread; burrata with eggplant caponata, sliced prosciutto, and roasted peppers; lobster salad with a cilantro caesar dressing, parmesan, and old bay chips; sauted snapped complemented by sauteed asparagus and fennel over an orange emulsion; oven roasted halibut with sauteed bok choy and snow peas under a mango chili vinaigrette; grilled filet mignon complemented by buttermilk mashed potatoes, spicy escarole, and wild mushrooms; and pappardelle pasta with black pepper, fresh ricotta, and wild mushrooms.
Appeal Factor: For the artsy chick, a West Chelsea neighborhood staple that offers refined American cuisine in a no frills, comfortable and casual setting.
Neighborhood: Union Square/West Village
498 Sixth Avenue
Menu Highlights: A special Chocolate Love Affair Frozen Yogurt.
Appeal Factor: If you introduce your Valentine to them, you get a $5 gift card. What's sweeter than that?