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Eat Your Heart Out: Valentine’s Day Restaurant Menus (Updated)
Whether you’re looking for roses and chocolates at the table, anti-love movies while dining, or an aphrodisiac attack, Washington restaurants have something for you and your date By Anna Spiegel
Comments () | Published January 14, 2011

>> Got a restaurant special you’d like to see included? E-mail aspiegel@washingtonian.com with details.

Acadiana
Love in the Big Easy: This Cajun-inspired restaurant is offering a relaxed version of the prix-fixe approach: Instead of limited options, you have the run of the whole dining-room menu.
Cost: Four courses, $56 to $64, depending on the entrée.
On the menu: Oysters and pearls are delivered to everyone as a lagniappe (a gift), followed by an appetizer, entrée, and dessert of your choice from the daily menu. Starters include such dishes as smoked-chicken-and-sausage gumbo, fried green tomatoes, and charbroiled oysters with garlic butter. Entrées include snapper almandine, crabcakes on creamed corn choux, sauteed veal medallion with jalapeño-and-cheese grits, and roasted duck with dirty rice and collards. For dessert, choose from chocolate cake for two with bourbon sauce, bourbon-vanilla crème brûlée, or warm vanilla bread pudding.
Availability: The prixe-fixe menu is available Friday, February 11, through Monday, February 14—when it’s mandatory.

Againn
Setting the mood—or not: Againn’s anti-Valentine’s Day lineup is for those who love to hate cupid. If a showing of The Break Up or I Married An Axe Murderer doesn’t put you off romance, seeing “spotted dick” on the menu might. If you give the restaurant your business card or sign up for the newsletter, you’ll get a free-movie voucher.
Cost: Three courses, $40 per person. À la carte menu also available.
On the menu: For the three-course prix-fixe menu: daily-changing soup or house-made black pudding; pan-seared salmon or mixed grill of Tamworth pork; and stout ice cream or that spotted dick—a British fruit-studded pudding.
Availability: Friday, February 11, through (un) Valentine’s Day.

Art and Soul
Two’s company: Chef Art Smith has designed a five-course menu with twosomes in mind, pairing a duo of items on a number of dishes. On February 12 and 13, there’s a list of “seven deadly sins” cocktails and special brunch items.
Cost: Five courses, $70.
On the menu: The first course is a duck rillette with foie gras and truffle amuse. For the second course, choose from six raw oysters (half with ginger-lime mignonette and basil gelée, half with blood-orange-mimosa granité); arugula salad with strawberries, cocoa-dusted pine nuts, and Champagne-strawberry vinaigrette; creamy parsnip soup with pumpkin-seed oil and cranberry conserve. For the third course, choices are surf-and-turf of seared rare tuna and beef tartare with winter radishes; lobster risotto with caviar crème and crispy leeks; and wild-mushroom fritter with chestnut purée and herb salad. The main courses are beef duo of grilled filet and braised short rib; rack of lamb with smoked spaetzle and carrot purée; snapper filet with broccolini, roasted onion, and chile-honey vinaigrette; or chicken confit with goat-cheese polenta, garlic greens, and lemon-pomegranate jus. Dessert choices are chocolate two ways (dark-chocolate malt and warm white-chocolate cake); fig tart with coriander cream and vanilla-port reduction; and grapefruit semifreddo with pine-nut cake. Red-velvet “babycakes” are included to take home.
Availability: Monday, February 14. 

Ba Bay
His and hers: Capitol Hill’s newest Vietnamese restaurant is offering two tasting menus—for him and her—with wine pairings and cocktails.
Cost: Four courses, $55 per person.
No matter your gender, choose either of these menus: “For Him”: beef-tartare summer roll with crispy shallots; egg-filled meatball en crepenette with cilantro purée; roasted beef with crispy cauliflower; and spiced bread pudding with brown-sugar ice cream. “For Her”: papaya-and-grilled-lobster salad with pickled banana blossoms; crispy tofu stuffed with pork and lemongrass sauce; grilled Arctic char with anchovy-braised eggplant; and a gingered dark-chocolate mousse with hazelnut purée and profiteroles.
Availability: Friday, February 11, through Sunday, February 13.

Bastille
Love is a journey: This intimate French bistro in Alexandria is offering a “journey and spices” menu, with inspirations from a variety of countries.
Cost: Four courses, $79; $119 with wine pairings.
On the menu: To start, guests choose between a ginger-and-shiitake-mushroom velouté with gingered-tempura shiitake; or curry-lobster salad with endive, treviso, and mango. The second course is either a Hudson Valley foie-gras duo with pomegranate gastrique; or goat-cheese terrine with dates, pistachios, and arugula. Entrée choices are turbot filet with chermoula and vegetable tajine; duck with mole sauce and roasted-pineapple-and-banana purée; slow-cooked veal loin with bagna cauda sauce, confit fennel, olives, and oranges; and stir-fry of winter vegetables with tempura mushrooms. Desserts are citrus-almond genoise cake with margarita semifreddo; or warm chocolate cake with chipotle-chocolate syrup.
Availability: Monday, February 14. 

Belga Café
Red, Hot & Naughty: Is the title of the Valentine’s Day menu at this Capitol Hill spot.
Cost: Four courses, $69.99.
On the menu: Start with an amuse of beef tartare with sourdough crisps and caviar cream; and a ginger soup with orange and carrot. The appetizer is marinated gravlax with asparagus, slow-cooked egg, and basil. Choose between two items for the entrée: Branzino filet with oysters, pasta, and wheat-beer sauce; or venison filet with pear gelée, red cabbage, and “stud muffin” orange bread crumbs. A selection of chocolate desserts finishes the meal.
Availability: Monday, February 14.

Bistro Bistro
The price is right: A free Champagne toast in this Dupont Circle brasserie sweetens the deal.
Cost: Four courses plus an amuse bouche, $45 per person.
On the menu: A trio of bruschetta starts the meal, followed by a choice of spinach salad with raspberry dressing; crab-stuffed mushrooms; four-cheese ravioli; and sauteed shellfish and mushrooms in tomato-cream sauce. For a second course, choose between shrimp bisque and French onion soup. Main courses are grilled pork chop with apples and brandy sauce, and grilled salmon with dill sauce. The dessert options are crème brûlée or chocolate soufflé.  
Availability: Monday, February 14.

Bistro Cacao
A rose for the lady: And the bill for the gentleman. That’s the theme—chivalry is not dead—at Bistro Cacao’s valentine’s dinner, set in a French bistro outfitted with red curtains.
Cost: Four courses, $65 per person.
On the menu: First-course choices are parsnip-crab soup or arugula salad with caramelized pear and blue cheese. That’s followed by a choice between foie-gras terrine with fig confit and a lobster purse with lobster-beet sauce. For the main course, choose from halibut with roasted artichokes and caviar-Champagne sauce, and filet mignon with foie-gras-and-chanterelle sauce with baby vegetables. A strawberry-coulis flute comes for dessert, as well as either pear tart with vanilla ice cream or chocolate cake with strawberries and raspberry-mango sauce.
Availability: Monday, February 14.

Black Market Bistro
All-American love: This quaint country house is the setting for a solid American menu.
Cost: Four courses, $85; $25 for wine pairings.
On the menu: First-course choices include a market salad with oranges, almonds, and goat cheese; oyster stew with caviar; lobster linguine with broccolini and shellfish butter; and braised pork belly with roasted beets and green lentils. For the second course, choose from monkfish osso buco with cockles and house-made sausage; wood-grilled Arctic char with cellophane noodles and soy vinaigrette; and pan-seared scallops with butternut squash, wild rice, and forest mushrooms. Third-course choices are barbecue-braised short rib with truffled potato salad and biscuit; filet-mignon tournedos with puff pastry, duxelles, and béarnaise; or roasted chicken with spicy cauliflower or lemon-and-green-olive sauce. Dessert offerings are chocolate-raspberry torte; lemon-hazelnut marjolaine; and warm French apple tart with caramel ice cream.
Availability: Friday, February 11, through Sunday, February 13. 

BlackSalt
Take me away: For lovers who’d like to dine alone, BlackSalt is offering a takeout dinner for two.
Cost: Three courses, $95 for two.
On the menu: Pick one option for each courses; portions feed two. For a starter, choose from baby arugula with caesar dressing, red onion, and toasted brioche; roasted-squash bisque with balsamic and spiced mascarpone; or a dozen shucked Wellfleet oysters with mignonette. Entrées include hickory-grilled salmon with red mole and plantain chips; split lobster topped with shellfish cream and stuffed with forest mushrooms, lobster knuckle, and cornbread; or wood-grilled ribeye with twice-baked potato, smoked bacon, and caramelized-onion jus. Dessert includes a chocolate-Chambord truffle cake with raspberry compote and whipped cream; chocolate-dipped strawberries; and two white-chocolate/pistachio shortbread cookies.
Availability: Orders are taken through Friday, February 11. Pickup is Monday, February 14. 

Blue Duck Tavern
Feeling anything but blue: Paint the town red after dining on chef Brian McBride’s set menu, or choose from à la carte offerings. 
Cost: Four courses, $70 per person.
On the menu: The first course is Virginia Olde Salt oysters and sweetbread crepinettes. The second course is foie-gras ravioli with fried sage and cherries. The entrée is roasted veal chop for two with winter vegetables. The dessert is milk-chocolate icebox cake with hazelnut brittle and poached kumquats.
Availability: Monday, February 14. 

Bourbon Steak
Love with a side of luxury: This steakhouse in the Four Seasons Hotel is pulling out all the stops with a set menu that features lobster, oysters, and black truffles.
The gifts of love: The restaurant has teamed up with M29 Lifestyle so that last-minute shoppers can buy a gift over the phone that's wrapped and presented at the table before the six-course tasting menu.
Cost: Six courses, $199 per couple; $60 per person for wine pairings.
On the menu:
Start with a chilled oyster with mignonette gelée, followed by tuna tartare with toasted sesame oil, ancho chile, and Asian pear. The third course is lobster risotto with black truffles. The entrée is a châteaubriand for two with steakhouse sides. Desserts are passion fruit panna cotta with exotic fruits and lemongrass consommé, and warm milk-chocolate fondant with Nutella ice cream.
Availability:
Monday, February 14

Brabo by Robert Weidmaier
A trip across the pond: The menu at this Old Town hotel restaurant features cooking techniques from all over Europe.
Cost: Five courses, $85; $130 with wine pairings
On the menu: The amuse bouche is a house-cured salmon Napoleon with crème fraîche and trout roe. The first course is either a pan-seared scallop with yellow-wax-bean risotto and oxtail reduction; or citrus and pepper-crusted tuna tataki with cauliflower purée, watermelon radish, and ginger vinaigrette. The second course is lobster ravioli with artichoke, sundried-tomato ragout, and lobster cream; or spaghetti à la chitarra with braised lamb, roasted mushrooms, and Parmesan cream. The third course is either herb-crusted filet of St. Pierre with rock shrimp, gnocchi, and shellfish butter; or beef short-rib roulade with potato purée, wilted spinach, and red-wine reduction. The cheese course is blu de bufala with quince, almonds, and frisée. The dessert is either lime semifreddo with herbed strawberry broth; or chocolate decadence with cherries, candied walnuts, and port-wine reduction. Finish with chocolate truffles.
Availability: Monday, February 14. 

Brix American Bistro
A toast to us: A glass of Champagne is included in the four-course menu.
Cost: Four courses, $60 per person.
On the menu: Appetizers are an artichoke stuffed with grilled vegetables and mascarpone; Blue Point oysters with Champagne mignonette; lobster parfait with hearts-of-palm and cilantro dressing; and grilled quail with artichoke and white-bean ragout. A salad course follows with the choice of grilled hearts of baby romaine with Caesar dressing; or assorted field greens with asparagus. For the entrée, choose from free-range chicken with mustard-mushroom sauce; surf-and-turf of filet mignon and jumbo shrimp with crabmeat beurre blanc; grilled swordfish with basil oil and tomato chutney; lamb chops with goat-cheese mashed potatoes; and grilled-vegetable lasagna. Pick between red-velvet cake and Champagne-strawberry sorbet for dessert.
Availability: Monday, February 14.

Café Saint-Ex
Virginia Logan Circle is for lovers: This 14th Street cafe is serving a set menu, as well as à la carte options. 
Cost: Five courses, $55; $20 for wine pairings.
On the set menu: Start off with a saffron-tea oyster shooter; followed by an appetizer of Humboldt Fog goat cheese with smoked mushrooms, pine nuts, and pumpkin jam. The third course is slow-roasted lamb with house-made tagliatelle, parsnips, and pomegranate; and the fourth is pan-roasted lobster with toasted-coconut risotto and curry nage. Dessert is a milk-chocolate-and-banana bombe with orange-rum anglaise and hazelnuts.
Availability: Monday, February 14.

Casa Nonna
Nonna knows best: Italian comfort food gone upscale is the theme at this sleek Dupont Circle restaurant.
Cost: Four courses, $50.
On the menu: Antipasti is either tuna tartare with beets, fennel, and blood-orange vinaigrette; or foie gras crème brûlée with moscato-poached pear. The pasta course is either taglierini with lobster, Meyer lemon, and chives; or heart-shaped ravioli with burrata, basil cream, and cherry tomato. The secondi is roasted scallops with grapefruit-caviar emulsion; or braised beef short rib with celery-root purée, Brussels sprouts, and mustard. Dessert is either warm chocolate crepes with wine-poached pear and caramel gelato; or panna cotta with passion fruit gelée.
Availability: Saturday, February 12, through Monday, February 14.

Co. Co. Sala
Better than a box of chocolates:
The cheese-and-chocolate-spiked menu includes a dozen aphrodisiac ingredients and finishes with a “chocolate seduction” dessert.
Cost: Five courses, $75 per person
On the menu: The first course is goat cheese and beets with pink-peppercorn cream. The second course is a blue-cheese-and-pear tart with greens, candied walnuts, and balsamic. The intermezzo is raspberry-and-clementine granité with tomato espuma. For the main course, choose from sage-and-Parmesan gnocchi with arugula, basil, and almond cream sauce; cocoa-nib tenderloin with cherry-tomato marmalade and potato gratin; or pineapple-ginger-glazed salmon with roasted cauliflower, almonds, and pomegranate. The dessert is warm chocolate soufflé with raspberry-rose panna cotta and hazelnut praline. A glass of brut rose Champagne accompanies dessert. 

Columbia Room
Drink love in: The mixologists at the Columbia Room are serving a tasting of elixirs, paired with light dishes.
Cost: Three cocktails and courses, $94 per person.
On the menu: First, sip the “sighs of love cocktail” (sparkling wine, cognac, and “sighs” syrup), paired with sweet potatoes, rose syrup, and ambergris. Next, the Copenhagen special (barrel-aged aquavit, Swedish punch, and lemon juice) is paired with beef carpaccio, roasted beets, arugula, and horseradish slaw. Finally, try chocolate wine with a selection of chocolate truffles.
Availability: Monday, February 14.

Commissary
Shoestring romance:
This neighborhood spot has a set menu, modestly priced for two, but diners can also choose from the regular menu or daily specials.
Cost: Three courses, $49.95 per couple.
On the menu: For a starter, choose between pepper-crusted-beef crudo with green-apple vinaigrette; or sesame tuna with cucumber, wasabi, and miso vinaigrette. Entrées are either roasted rack of lamb with rapini, figs, and port reduction; or sea bass with vegetables and whole-grain mustard sauce. Dessert is vanilla panna cotta with raspberry coulis.
Availability: Monday, February 14. 

Corduroy
For the picky date: Unlike more strictly set menus, chef Tom Power’s version offers five options per course.
Cost: Three courses, $69 per person.
On the menu: The first course includes a choice of parsnip soup; red Bordeaux spinach salad; wild-mushroom blintz with wine sauce; salad of local beets and goat cheese; and seared scallops with red-pepper sauce and truffled frisée. The second-course choices are crispy striped bass with saffron fettucini; peppered rare tuna with sushi rice and hijiki; roast venison with chestnut purée; prime striploin with rutabaga gratin; and braised pork belly with savoy cabbage. For dessert, choose from house-made ice cream; pistachio bread pudding; local-apple tarte tatin; pumpkin cheesecake; and Michel’s chocolate-hazelnut bars.
Availability: Monday, February 14, from 5 to 11.

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar
In it for the long run: The “everlasting lovers brunch” provides time to gaze amorously at your date, and you can bond over loosening your belt buckles after unlimited trips to the buffet spread.
Cost: All-you-can-eat brunch, $30 per person.
On the menu: A selection of 26 Cuban-inspired brunch items include chocolate waffles with banana-and-dried-cherry syrup; crab-and-potato cake with poached egg and avocado; cornmeal pancakes with bacon, rum-molasses syrup, and mango butter; omelets with chorizo; and grilled baby octopus with Haitan eggplant salad.
Availability: Saturdays and Sundays in February from 11 to 3.

Dino
Share the love: Dino’s “menu for lovers” is designed for couples who like to pick from the same plate—each two-person course is delivered on a single platter. On Valentine’s Day, every course in the “Festa di San Valentino” menu is individual. No one wants to fight over the last bite on the most romantic day of the year.
Cost: The menu for lovers (four courses) is $89 per couple. The Valentine’s Day menu (four courses) is $59 per person.
On the menu: For the sharing menu: Start with cicchetti, or small bites—Tuscan bânh mí, pork-potato croquettes, and eggs alla diavola—followed by pasta baked in foil with seafood. The entrée is a mixed grill of pork belly, lamb chops, and pancetta-wrapped scallops. The meal ends with a cheese course and chocolate truffled bacon. On Valentine’s Day, you’ll start with the essence-of-tomato soup. That’s followed by a choice of pancetta-wrapped scallops and dates; Tuscan bânh mí with a pickled and Sriracha-anchovy aïoli; pork-and-potato croquettes with smoked mozzarella; linguine with seafood meatballs; and cannelloni with mixed mushrooms, Grana, and buffalo-milk ricotta. Entrée choices include rack of lamb with salsa verde; pork roast with slow-braised onions; spicy fish-and-shellfish stew; and a farro-risotto cake on tomato sauce and bean stew with mushrooms and grilled squash. Dessert choices are bacon-and-olive-oil cake; flourless chocolate cake; tiramisu; and house-made gelato with chocolate and hazelnuts.
Availability: The menu for lovers is offered Friday, February 11, through 13. The Valentine’s Day menu is offered Monday, February 14, from 5 to 10.

Elizabeth’s Gone Raw
Pure love: All the cacao-accented dishes on this pre-Valentine’s Day special menu are vegetarian and raw. An after-party includes an organic-wine open bar and raw hors d’oeuvres. 
Cost: Five courses, $75; $40 for the after party.
On the menu: The first course is a rosemary-pear soup with chocolate crème fraîche. The second course is shaved-fennel salad with orange, spinach, chocolate-balsamic dressing, and a chocolate hemp cracker. The third course is sorbet made from chocolate and cold pressed Turkish coffee. The fourth course is a chocolate-coconut spring roll on spicy kelp noodles with chile paste and cilantro sauce. The fifth course is cacao cake with lavender.
Availability: Friday, February 11. 

Equinox
Meet me on the equinox:
Guests can choose between two set menus at Todd Gray’s seasonal restaurant.
Cost: Three courses, $70; $95 with wine pairing. Five courses, $90; $125 with wine pairing.
On the menu: Choose any three or five courses from this menu: For the first course, choose from creamy potato soup with lobster, lemon crème fraîche, and caviar; Dungeness-crab salad with apple gelée, avocado mousseline, and garlic tuille. The second course is calamari risotto with Iranian saffron and caramelized artichoke hearts; or sauteed Jerusalem-artichoke gnocchi with smoked-eggplant purée, red-wine butter, and pecorino. Next, choose between pan-roasted snapper with cabbage slaw, grilled oyster mushrooms, and coconut-snapper broth; and black-sesame-crusted arctic char with spinach, forest mushroom “cannelloni,” and vermouth-ginger cream. The fourth course is bacon-wrapped venison with Niçoise-olive jus; or rosemary-roasted veal with balsamic-glazed sweetbread, spinach “fonduta,” and pine-nut-raisin jus. The cheese course includes boutique cheeses with warm cashew-raisin bread. Desserts are either chocolate pudding with olive-oil ice cream and chocolate biscotti; or rose-mascarpone ice cream with broken raspberry macaron and lychee coulis.
Availability: Monday, February 14.

Estadio
Amor en Español:
This Logan Circle Spanish hot spot is taking reservations for Valentine’s Day only, meaning you won’t have to endure the typical hour-plus wait.
Cost: Price varies per order.
On the menu: Ladies get a glass of complimentary cava. The regular dinner menu is available.
Availability: Monday, February 14.

Evo Bistro
It’s all about timing: This intimate small-plates spot has different prices for each of its seating times.
Cost: Three courses, $45 for seatings at 5, 5:30, and 6; $55 for seatings at 7:30 and later.
On the menu: Appetizer choices include butternut-squash soup with goat cheese and serrano ham; six Blue Point oysters with Champagne mignonette; or crabmeat salad with baby arugula, beets, and orange segments. Main courses include a surf and turf (poached lobster tail, grilled filet, basil mashed potatoes, asparagus, lemon-butter sauce, and truffle sauce); horseradish-crusted sea bass with crispy leeks, chorizo oil, and Champagne-butter sauce; or lamb shank with couscous, chickpeas, and saffron broth. Desserts are either chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice cream, raspberry, and chocolate sauce; or house-made apple crumble with vanilla ice cream.
Availability: Monday, February 14.

Farmers & Fishers
No other fish in the sea:
Farmers & Fishers is offering a set menu that includes a glass of Riesling or Pinot Noir with dinner and sparkling wine with dessert.
Cost: Three courses, $58.
On the menu: Choose between a house salad or butternut-squash soup to start. Pick two main-course options, which are served with seasonal vegetables of the day and whipped potatoes: grilled Angus filet; Maryland crabcake; spice-grilled chicken; fresh catch of the day. Dessert choices include carrot cake or devil’s food chocolate cake. 
Availability: Saturday, February 12, through Monday, February 14. 

Georgia Brown’s
Aphrodisiac attack: With its aphrodisiac-inspired set menu, this low-country-cuisine kitchen is getting into the spirit.
Cost: Three courses, $55 per person.
On the menu: For the appetizer, pick from sherry-infused crab soup; “fire and ice” oysters (grilled with bacon and on the half shell); pimento-cheese flatbread; fried green tomatoes; romaine heart with watercress pesto dressing; grilled-asparagus salad with goat cheese and truffle honey; or green eggs and ham—deviled eggs with brown-sugar bacon and herb oil. Entrée selections include buttermilk fried chicken with truffle mashed potatoes; grilled salmon with caviar-butter sauce; coffee-rubbed lamb chops with fig mole; roasted scallops with burgundy risotto and bull’s-blood greens; truffled lobster mashed potatoes; devil shrimp with macaroni and cheese; or a New York strip with bacon-wrapped fried oysters. Dessert choices are cheesecake with Champagne-macerated strawberries; honey-and-pear crème brûlée; chocolate lava cake; cream puffs with cardamom-caramel drizzles; and a banana-pudding trifle.
Availability: Monday, February 14.

The Grille at Morrison House
Perfect pair: Chef Dennis Marron incorporates both seafood and meat into most of the courses.
Cost: Five courses, $85.
On the menu: The amuse is tea-smoked fluke sashimi with orange essence and a sesame-seed tuile. Next comes oyster cream with sturgeon caviar and pancetta, followed by a tartare trio with steak, tuna, and beet. There’s an intermezzo of tangerine sorbet with rose water and Champagne air. Entrées are a choice of surf-and-turf of roasted lobster tail with sea beans, miso aïoli, and braised Kurobuta-pork cheeks with truffled potato; or turf-and-surf  of pan-roasted petit filet mignon, fennel purée, and tomato jam with baked fresh-water prawn and day-boat scallop scampi. Dessert is honey-rose gelato with candied rose petals and almond cake. All guests will leave with a box of chocolates featuring an assortment of house-made sea-salt truffles in a heart-shaped box.
Availability: Friday, February 11, through Monday, February 14.

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