Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Valentine's Day Dining Specials

Chilly February brings warm hearts together on Valentine’s Day over a romantic meal for two, and DC has a variety of options for lovebirds to enjoy.  Valentine's Day is on a Friday this year, so impress your loved one with a romantic weekend! Book a Saturday night dinner and a cozy Sunday brunch at one of DC's many restaurants.  Specials are available February 14 - 16. For menus and details for restaurants in the DC area, be sure to check out this list. Here are a few places that stood out to me as great options to spend with my Valentine:

Ambar Roasted Mushroom Crepes
Ambar: Showcasing dishes from the Balkan Peninsula and prepared with a modern twist this Valentine’s Day. Couples can choose three dinner plates and dessert from the featured menu for $55 per person (tax and gratuity not included), or opt for dishes off the restaurant’s premium menu, which are highlighted with an asterisk, for $75 per person (tax and gratuity not included). Prepared by Serbian-born Restaurant Chef Ivan Zivkovic, standouts dishes include Grilled Chicken and Sausage Flatbread with ajvar, kajmak, pickled onion and homemade sausage; Cabbage Casuela, braised cabbage with dry pepper, yogurt and lepinja; Cheese Pie, crispy phyllo, cucumber, and roasted red pepper sauce; Roasted Mushroom Crepes with red pepper emulsion, béchamel and gouda; Lobster Spaghetti with onion, cherry, lobster juice and pecorino; Bacon and Peanut Pork Tenderloin with miso-mustard tarragon and mashed potatoes, as well as Veal Schnitzel, bread crust, kajmak, cucumber tartar and Yukon potato mash. For dessert, lovers can opt for The Four Chocolates, dark chocolate biscuit, dark chocolate mousse, almond crumble, milk chocolate Chantilly, passion fruit espuma and raspberry sorbet, or the Panna Cotta, white chocolate panna cotta, strawberry yogurt and hazelnut biscuit. In addition, guests can enjoy bottomless Champagne, for up to two-hours, at an additional $20 per person (the bottomless option must be ordered by the entire table). Ambar’s Valentine’s Day feast will be available from 4 p.m. to 12 Midnight on Friday, February 14. Dishes off Ambar’s Valentine’s Day menu will be available a la carte on Saturday, February 15 and Sunday, February 16.


OyamelEnjoy an enchanting Mexican Valentine’s Day from 11:30 a.m. to 12 Midnight on Friday, February 14. Couples can select one plate off the little bites menu, one antojitos frios, one antojitos calientes, one taco, one entrée and a dessert for sharing for $130 (excluding tax and gratuity) per couple. Highlights on this tempting menu include Bocolones de Higado de Pato, gorditas stuffed with foie gras torchon; Ensalada Noche Buena, traditional salad of beets, Jamaica celery and orange D’Aristi dressing; Camarones con Chile Seco, seared whole prawns with salsa Mexicana, salsa with ancho and mulato chiles and dried shrimp; Taco de Pulpo, braised baby octopus with sofrito and pomegranate pico de gallo, as well as Chamorro de Puerco en Cochinita, Shenandoah Valley pork shank braised with achiote and Mexican sour orange. Additionally, a selection of romantically themed cocktails will be featured and include Un Beso de Frambuesa, house-infused raspberry mezcal, jasmine, lemon and sparkling wine, and the Limonquila y Tonic, house-infused lemon tequila, lavender, ginger and Q Tonic. Cocktail prices range from $12 to $13 each.

Daikaya Grilled Avocado
Daikaya: Diners will have the option to choose a dish from the five-course selections followed by dessert. First, couples must choose their fun bite, which includes Oyster (2) with granny smith apple ice, wasabi oil and arbequina olive oil; Head on Shrimp seared on salt and kombu, or the Miso Marinated Mozzarella with Ritz crackers and rice crackers. Then they will select an “Aomono”, or green thing, from options such as Beet Karaage with kewpie- dill yogurt; Sautéed Edamame with shrimp and garlic, or the Grilled Avocado with ponzu, crab and passion fruit. Highlights from the “Kushi”, or skewers course include Shishamo with salt and bottarga; Wagyu Sirloin with sea urchin butter on a shiso leaf, and the Eringi with truffle butter. Next, dinners must choose from the meat, fish and veggie course: Red Miso and Red Wine Braised Beef Cheeks with (buttery dashi) potato puree; Braised Buri with daikon radish, or the Warm Tofu with seasonal mushrooms. Then, it is on to the rice course, which includes such options as Onigiri with kimchee and cheese; Mini Donburi with salmon and ikura, or the Grilled Onigiri with chasu and onions. For dessert, lovebirds can order Chocolate Cupcake with white-miso cream; Cookies with cold rice “milk”, or the Nama Choco (gold leaf) with rose tempura. Daikaya’s Valentine’s Day menu is priced at $45 per person, and is available exclusively during dinner service, from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday, February 14.

NoPa Kitchen + Bar: Offering a three-course, prix fixe menu for Valentine’s Day including an appetizer, entrée and dessert. The menu offers a selection of appetizing dishes prepared by Executive Chef Greg McCarty including starters such as Chicken Liver Toast with pecans and chives; Steak Tartar with Harissa mustard and parmesan toast, or the Parsnip Soup with hazelnuts and Muscat grapes. The main course selection offers something to please everyone including Butter Poached Lobster with mascarpone risotto, chestnuts and saffron; Roasted Duck with smoked maple syrup, grilled scallion and apple salad and soba crepes; Chilean Sea Bass with wasabi caramel and Japanese eggplant, as well as Soy Glazed Short Ribs with porcini puree, walnuts and sesame. For the perfect ending, guests will receive a trio of chocolate desserts prepared by Pastry Chef Jemil Gadea, which showcases Chocolate Pave with malted milk meringue; Chocolate Raspberry Parfait with cocoa nib nougatine, and a Walnut Gianduja Breton with mocha mousse. nopa Kitchen + Bar’s Valentine’s Day menu is priced at $85 per person (tax and gratuity not included), and is available exclusively during dinner service, from 5:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Friday, February 14. Valet parking begins at 5:30 p.m. and is priced at $10 per car.

El Centro Tacos
El Centro: Offering sweethearts a three-course, prix fixe menu priced at $45 per person (tax and gratuity not included) this Valentine’s Day. Appetizers include Crispy Oysters with masa breading, truffle-avocado puree, napa and chili oil; Charred Asparagus Salad with frisee, Serrano ham, roasted red pepper and a chili lime-Champagne vinaigrette, or the Nopal Empanada with cactus, roasted corn, Oaxaca and scallions. Next, guests can choose their entrée with standouts such as Carnitas, slow-roasted pork shoulder, pickled onion, charro beans, Mexican rice and habanero salsa; Roasted Vegetable Cazuela with roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnip, Brussels sprouts, celeriac puree and mole rojo; Carne Asada, marinated hanger steak, corn tamal, rajas and salsa morita, as well as Seared Peanut Crusted Tuna Loin with mole negro, crispy yucca, mojo and kale. For delicious, lovebirds can choose the Banana Empanada with walnuts, Mexican chocolate, chipotle cajeta, cinnamon sugar dusting and vanilla ice cream, or the Passion Fruit Tart with chocolate shell, passion fruit curd and meringue. El Centro’s Valentine’s Day feast will be available between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Friday, February 14. Dishes off El Centro D.F.’s Valentine’s Day menu will be available a la carte on Saturday, February 15 and Sunday, February 16.

Blue Duck Tavern: Executive Chef Sebastien Archambault and newly appointed Chef de Cuisine Daniel Singhofen will be showcasing a four-course, prix fixe menu (plus amuse bouche), priced at $85 per person (exclusive of beverage, tax and gratuity) or $145 with an optional wine pairing for each course (tax and gratuity not included). The menu begins with Seared Foie Gras with house made cocoa brioche, cherry preserve and broccoli rabe. Next is the Brandy-Vanilla Butter Poached Lobster with sweet potato pasta, Brussels sprouts and pecans, followed by Wood Oven-Fired Wagyu with crispy potatoes, leeks and red wine jus. For dessert, couples can indulge in Pastry Chef Naomi Gallego’s decadent Chocolate Caramel Ganache with cinnamon sponge, golden toffee, white coffee ice cream and mandarin. Blue Duck Tavern will be serving from 5:30 p.m. 11:30 p.m. on Friday, February 14.


701 Restaurant: Couples can enjoy a $85 three-course tasting menu with a choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert this Valentine’s Day. Executive Chef Tony Conte’s menu includes Roasted Beet Salad with sour cherry vinaigrette, goat cheese and mint; Chilled Nantucket Bay Scallops with cranberry, Asian pear and star anise; Vanilla Foie Gras Terrine with pineapple quince compote and brioche; Rockfish with dill infused broth, winter vegetables and olive oil; Chanterelle Tortellini with celery root and shaved white truffle, as well as Spiced Rubbed Duck with braised red cabbage, quince puree and rosemary. For the perfect ending, guests can choose from Chocolate Cherry Dome; Passion Fruit Vacherin, or the Champagne Cassis Terrine prepared by Pastry Chef Sally Roach. Valet parking is available for $8 per car after 5:30 p.m. 701 Restaurant will be serving their Valentine’s Day exclusively during dinner service from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, February 14. Guests can enjoy live jazz music from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Zengo Arepas
Zengo: Lovers can choose any four plates off the pre-selected menu for $55 per person (tax and gratuity not included). Couples can opt for dishes off the restaurant’s premium menu, which are highlighted with an asterisk, for $75 per person (tax and gratuity not included). Standout dishes include Salt & Pepper Shrimp Tacos with day boat shrimp, salsa verde, pickled cabbage, lemon-sake aioli on flour tortillas; Wok Seared Sea Scallops with sushi rice, house cured ancho bacon, roasted corn, yuzu-sriracha aioli and kabayaki; Wagyu Beef Shabu Shabu with kombu-chipotle broth, baby corn, shiitake mushrooms and baby bok choy; Fried Tofu and Curried Cream Spinach served with preserve lemon yogurt and crispy shallots, as well as Korean Fried Chicken with gochujang glaze, chayote slaw and corn-potato salad. For a sweet finish, all guests will receive a chocolate covered strawberry along with the choice of Lemon Yuzu Cake with five spice sauce, candied macadamia nuts and ginger ice cream; Mexican Chocolate Tart with ancho chile anglaze and cinnamon whipped cream, or the Passion Fruit Sorbet with Mexican wedding cookies. In addition, couples can enjoy bottomless Champagne, for up to two-hours, at an additional $20 per person (the bottomless option must be ordered by the entire table). Zengo will be serving their Valentine’s Day on Friday, February 14, from 5 p.m. to 12 Midnight. Dishes off Zengo’s Valentine’s Day menu will be available a la carte on Saturday, February 15 and Sunday, February 16.

Rasika West End: A four-course menu priced at $85 per person, or $130 with wine pairings (tax and gratuity not included) will be available from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The menu begins with an amuse bouche of Dahi Pakodi Chaat with lentil fritter, sweet yogurt and date tamarind chutney followed by a choice of First Course, Second Course, Entrée and Dessert. Standout dishes include Vanilla Chicken Tikka with Madagascar vanilla beans, ginger and garlic; Nimboo Grouper with kaffir lime leaves, ginger, garlic and lemon pickle; Paneer Badami Tikki with cottage cheese, almonds and black pepper; Duck Moilee with curry leaves, coconut milk and tomatoes, as well as the Chicken Dhaniwala with cashew nuts, cilantro and green cardamom. For dessert, couples will enjoy a sweet dessert sampler of Mango Honey Mille Feuille, White Chocolate Pudding and Strawberry Basil Sorbet. Valet parking is available for $8 per car.

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar: Offering a special Valentine’s Day menu with a Cuban twist from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15, and from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, February 16. Couples will receive two aperitivos designed for sharing as well as their own individual entrée and a duo of desserts for $80 per couple (beverages, tax and gratuity not included). Choices include Ostras Julio Lobos, baked oysters with bacon sauce, creamed spinach, and goat cheese; Guava St. Louis Style BBQ Ribs, slow cooked and glazed with guava BBQ sauce and served with a papaya-apple slaw; Ravioles Caseros, half moon ravioli filled with roasted West Indian calabaza squash, mascarpone and goat cheese served with caramelized pearl onions, baby spinach, sherry vinegar reduction sauce and toasted pumpkin seeds; Chuleta Puerco, almond adobo marinated grilled center cut rib pork chop with pineapple-smoked ham fried rice, as well as Suntanned North Atlantic Salmon with honey-mango glaze, giant yuca couscous, green squash and wilted greens with a star anise tomato sauce. For dessert, lovers will enjoy Chocolate Torte, fallen chocolate soufflé tart layered with dulce de leche, chocolate-orange sauce and blueberry compote, and a traditional Cuban Flan of vanilla custard served with a citrus salad. Valet parking is available for $12 per car.

Ardeo+Bardeo: Offers diners a chance to enjoy the best modern American cuisine crafted by Executive Chef Matt Kuhn from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. this Valentine’s Day. On Friday, February 14 guests can enjoy a three-course, prix fixe menu priced at $65 per person (tax and gratuity not included). Couples will begin their meal with an amuse bouche of Chilled Rappahannock Oysters with skuna caviar and agrumato before selecting their appetizer, entrée and dessert. Chef’s featured menu offers Anson Mills Polenta with egg 63, honey mushrooms, crispy gulf oyster and mustard jus; Grilled Octopus with chorizo, patatas bravas and pedro aioli; Roman –Style Gnocchi with turnip top pesto, pine nuts and sottocenere; Brick Oven Carolina Mountain Trout with house pancetta, mushroom duxelle and truffle-foie gras butter, as well as the Grilled Pork Porterhouse with hedgehog mushrooms, kale, yukon potato puree and bacon jam jus. For a sweet finish, dessert lovers will enjoy Nutella Cheesecake with snickers crumble, peanut butter mousse and banana brûlée. Valet parking is available daily after 6 p.m. for $8 per car.


Jaleo DC: Sweethearts can enjoy a variety of specials this Valentine’s Day, in addition to the regular a la carte menu, Spanish tapas not to miss on this special day include Esferas de Sangria de Cava y Rosas, sperified white sangria and rose petals; Ostras con Cava, Rappahannock Oysters with solid cava; Espuma de Patata con Pato Confitado y Caviar, potato foam with duck confit and caviar; Morcilla de Arroz con Piquillos Confitados, traditional fried blood sausage with rice and piquillo pepper confit, as well as Presa Ibérica de Bellota Cruda con Praline y Cebolla Confitada, acorn pork “presa” carpaccio with lemon dressing and pine nut praline. Prices range from $3 to $18 each. For the perfect ending, try a romantically themed dessert: Sopa de Frutas Rojas con Helado de Queso, wild red berry soup with cheese ice cream. . These Valentine’s Day specials will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 12 Midnight on Friday, February 14.

Zaytinya Lamb
Zaytinya: Menu highlights include Caviar Airbreads, crispy pita sphere, labneh espuma and California hackleback caviar; Lobster Kibbeh, crispy potato bulgur wheat shell, cold water hard shell lobster filling, bahar spiced labneh; Lamb Kleftico, spit-roasted Jamison Farm lamb, house-made phyllo, feta and dill yogurt, as well as Lamb Chop Moussaka for Two, grilled lamb rib chops, olive oil potato puree, roasted eggplant, tomato braised lamb shoulder, feta cream and kefalograviera cheese. Prices range from $7.50 to $26 each. A Chef’s Experience Menu will also be available for $65 per person (tax and gratuity not included), and includes a customizable, prix fixe menu showcasing dishes off Zaytinya’s regular a la carte menu. For the perfect pairing, Zaytinya will be pouring a featured cocktail, Eros' Arrow, named after the Greek god of love. Priced at $13, this seductive libation is made from Pisco Portón and French Combier pink grapefruit liqueur. Zaytinya will also be pouring three sparkling wines by the glass, priced from $13 to $28 each. Options include the Spiropoulos "Ode Panos" from Mantinia Greece; the Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose from Champagne, France, and the Couple's Bubbles Rose Duo- 1/2 glass of each to pair a little Greek and a little Classic. Zaytinya’s Valentine’s Day menu will be available Thursday, February 13 - Sunday, February 16 for dinner service only.


EatWell's Restaurants are also offering "Eat Your Heart Out" Valentine's Day pricing. Each restaurant will be offering a 3- or 4-course menu with a wine or beverage pairing option. There will be special menus as well as the option to "create your own" multi-course meal from the regular menus. Reservations are recommended (and reservations are still available at all locations):

Commissary: 3-courses, $32/person OR $45/person with bottle of wine
Grillfish: 3-courses, $45/person OR $60/person with bottle of wine
Logan Tavern: 3-courses, $39/person OR $55/person with bottle of wine
The Heights: 3-courses, $35/person OR $49/person with bottle of wine
The Pig: 4-courses, $49/person OR $69/person with bottle of wine or beer/wine pairing

Traveling for Valentine's weekend? Treat you and your sweetie to something savory.  Here are other dining specials across the nation

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