Valentine’s Day, the most stressful holiday of the year, is nearly upon us. Whether you’re newly coupled, living together, married, single or "it's complicated," dining options on February 14 abound. From ritzy tasting menus to dinner and drunk karaoke, here are 10 reservations worth your while, no matter your relationship status.
Austria may not elicit romantic notions in the same vein of Italy or Paris. (It probably should, but that’s another story.) Until that transition takes hold, cozy up in this East Village tavern from Michelin-starred chefs Eduard Frauneder and Wolfgang Ban. For Valentine’s Day, the place is offering three courses for $65 per person, with picks including coconut pumpkin velouté, beef carpaccio with crispy artichokes, capers and lemon aïoli and duck with sangria-marinated figs, blood oranges and farro. It’s served along with cocktails from the team of sister cocktail bar The Third Man.
102 Avenue C; 212-598-1040
Recently appointed a Michelin star for the second year in a row, this West Village New American restaurant is serving a $175 tasting menu with optional cocktail pairings for another $75. Symbols of ardor are incorporated into the dishes and titles such as Roses & Pearls (Shigoku oyster, beet liquor, rose mignonette), Black & Red (sustainable Spanish bluefin, beets in red wine, black sesame) and Excitement (chocolate fondant, passion fruit caramel and smoked vanilla bean). Seatings are available at 5 PM, 5:30 PM, 7 PM, 7:30 PM, 9 PM and 9:30 PM.
430 Hudson St.; 212-960-3801
One of the hottest restaurants in NYC, this modern Israeli eatery is featuring its regular à la carte menu along with a five-course prix fixe for $75. Executive chef Nir Mesika is offering paramours dishes like beet carpaccio (with tuna tartare, licorice jelly and bok choy), lobster carbonara (poached lobster, Persian-lemon-infused pappardelle, artichokes à la barigoule, egg yolk and grana padano) and chocolate brûlée with cotton candy and a popcorn shake.
109 St. Marks Place; 646-964-5181
This new Gowanus Korean barbecue joint is a unique way to spend V-day whether you are single or coupled up. Nosh on soondae (blood sausage), tteokbokki (spicy rice cake) and yuk hwe (beef tartare), before serenading your sweetheart in one of the private karaoke rooms. They suggest slurping on spicy, garlicky dishes like yukgaejang (spicy beef soup) and yachae mandu (vegetable and kimchi dumplings).
328 Douglass St., Brooklyn; 718-855-2620
The name Jean-Georges Vongerichten is synonymous with special occasions. Any restaurant in his empire is sure to impress (Jean-Georges Restaurant, Nougatine, Perry St., The Inn at Pound Ridge, The Mercer Kitchen and the Mark also are offering holiday menus). Set in an Upper East Side townhouse, JoJo is as charming as it gets. All weekend long, this intimate place is offering an $88 tasting menu to go along with the ardor-inducing surrounds, starting with tuna tartare with American caviar and toasted brioche, followed by roasted black sea bass plated with steamed artichoke heart and mushroom-yuzu vinaigrette. The main is beef tenderloin, lemon braised potatoes, crunchy garnishes and herbs, culminating with a special sweet treat for dessert. The à la carte menu is also available.
160 E. 64th St.; 212-223-5656
Bouley is a perennial fine-dining favorite in NYC. Its test kitchen (appropriately titled Bouley Test Kitchen) is pulling out all the stops for V-Day. The special event starts with a 45-minute reception with passed canapés, champagne and a mixologist demonstration of Bouley’s signature Elderflower Champagne Apéritif. It moves on to an artisanal chocolate seminar, in which guests get to make their own treats with master chocolatier Sarah Bouley. That is followed by a six-course tasting menu with paired wines. At the end, everyone gets to take home a special black truffle gift from La Rustichella Truffles USA along with Bouley Test Kitchen recipes to create at home, and their chocolate creations from earlier. The cost to attend is $430. The reception starts at 7 PM on February 13 and 6 PM on February 14. Bouley restaurant also is offering various menus ranging from $105 per person to $995 per couple.
88 W. Broadway; 917-237-3205
Take dinner and a movie up a notch at this new Bushwick theater and restaurant. In addition to the regular dinner menu, executive chef Bret Macris is offering sweetheart special including Royal Miyagi oysters ($15 for six) with blood orange mignonette and buttered marbled rye; braised short rib ($26) with chanterelles, potatoes and horseradish cream; and desserts like red-velvet donuts ($6) and chocolate bread pudding ($6). A film- and holiday-inspired cocktail is also on the docket: My Bloody Valentine ($12) with jalapeño-infused Lunazul tequila with tomato water, Fresno chile and pickled horseradish. The theater is showing an array of movies from the romantic Once (screenings 5 PM, 7 PM, 9 PM) to campy V-Day horror flick My Bloody Valentine (1981) at 11 PM on Sunday, February 14. Singles can imagine erasing memories of exes Friday and Saturday nights with double features of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, part of Syndicated’s Hi/Low pairings series.
40 Bogart St., Brooklyn, 718-386-3399
One of the Sexiest Restaurants in the U.S., this Flatiron spot opened last fall by El Bulli and Momofuku alum Paras Shah is offering a luxe six-course dinner for the holiday of love. It starts with an East Coast oyster amuse with sturgeon caviar and beets, followed by foie gras torchon finished with orange and rose syrup, then lavender-poached lobster with potato, gnocchi and lobster "fricassee." The third course is beef cheek "pot au feu" with local vegetables, succeeded by two dessert courses prepared by pastry chef Serena Chow: candied rose panna cotta with champagne gelée and roasted strawberry as well as chocolate fudge cake with cremeux and pomegranate. Dinner for two costs $150.
5 W. 21st St.; 212-380-1950
Chef Maria Loi’s namesake eatery is offering a special menu of upscale Greek cuisine with complimentary champagne for $85 per person on Valentine's Day. Expect to see healthier options like beet salad, lavraki (grilled branzino with seasonal greens, lemon and olive oil), rack of lamb with vegetables and P.E.I. mussels with saffron, white wine, lemon, olive oil and chive. For dessert, pick from flourless chocolate cake, yogurt mousse and orange cake.
The historic dining room of the Plaza Hotel, now run by Geoffrey Zakarian, is offering two lavish options for lovers (or friends) through Valentine’s Day weekend. For $120 per person, enjoy a regal tea for two with champagne. From 12 PM to 5 PM, the menu includes classic sandwiches and savories, pastries and sweets as well as scones with double Devonshire cream, lemon curd and preserves. In the evening, it’s offering a three-level tier for two with sweet and savory snacks paired with a cocktail for two. For the latter, The Kat Gang Band is performing live jazz.