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Valentine's Day - Dining Out
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Valentine’s Day – Dining Out

It’s getting down to the wire for Valentine’s Day and you can probably write off all the usual dining suspects.  Yes, they’re completely booked.  But there are still plenty of restaurants and some off-the-beaten path spots to celebrate the romantic occasion.  Without further ado…

Meskerem
124 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 777-8111

There’s nothing more sensual than eating with your hands.  This
dimly lit Ethiopian spot affords an exotic and lowbrow evening, where
couples can dine on wonderfully tangy flatbread as well as fiery stews
spiced with berbere pepper.  Round out the meal with the spongy rum
cake.

Saul
140 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 935-9844

This
intimate spot on Smith Street always manages to dazzle without a hint of pretension.  Chef Saul Bolton issues a refined, five-course meal ($100)
for lovers as well as their regular selection.
Valentine’s Day dining highlights pan-roasted sweetbreads and
chocolate cake with hot fondue.

Caffe on the Green
201-10 Cross Island Parkway
Bayside, NY 11360
(718) 423-7272

Tucked inside Rudolph Valentino’s former home, this old world Italian
celebrates Valentine’s Day with a “For Lovers Only Package” ($145 per
couple) that includes live piano music in the ballroom and ends with a
“Lover’s Duet” dessert.

Sripraphai
64-13 39th Avenue near 64th St.
Woodside, NY 11377
(718) 899-9599

Touted for its phenomenal Thai cuisine, Sripraphai not only excels at
fabulously spicy dishes, but also warm service and atmosphere. Our
favorite dishes include drunken noodles with chicken and the sautéed
vegetables with salted fish.  As for dessert, unusual marriages of
salty, sweet, and exotic flavors come together in coconut-laced
custards and mung bean jellies.

Tournesol
50-12 Vernon Blvd.
Queens, NY 11101
(718) 472-4355

This cozy French haunt is beloved for its varied selection of classic
bistro dishes.  Valentine’s delicacies include sautéed snails with
tarragon sauce and braised beef cheeks a la bordelaise.  As Valentine’s
Day serendipitously falls on Thursday, the special is also a favorite
here: grilled pork chops ($18).

The Water’s Edge
The East River at 44th Drive
Long Island City, NY 11101
(718) 482-0033

With a spectacular view of Manhattan, this American restaurant offers
an equally exceptional four-course dinner ($125.)  Beginning with an
amuse bouche of caviar, the meal touches upon plates of apricot stuffed
with foie gras, tea smoked duckling with candied kumquats and quinoa,
and “His and Hers” desserts.

Spicy and Tasty
39-07 Spring Street
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 359-1601

This
Szechuan gem is renowned for fare befitting of its name.  For an
atypically romantic evening, dine on “Luxurious Duck” or shrimp with
turnips in spicy sauce.  Little pockets of their signature, sweet fried
dough will end the meal nicely.

Jolie
320 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 488-0777

This quaint French eatery always manages to be effortlessly romantic.  The Valentine’s Day menu ($55) features grilled striped bass with a zucchini potato galette and a passion fruit mousse cake with Thai basil sauce.


Cendrillon

45 Mercer Street (btwn. Broome & Grand Sts.)
New York, NY 10013
(212) 343-9012

For
$60 a person, this charming, warm restaurant offers a Filipino feast.
Starters include various ceviche and crab heirloom rice, and are
followed up by dishes like quail relleno, and Sichuan beef short ribs.
For dessert, choices of chocolate praline soufflé and a decidedly
tropical kalamansi cheesecake make for a sweet and intense ending…

Chiles and Chocolate
54 7th Avenue at Lincoln Pl.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 230-7700

Oaxacan
cuisine is the specialty of this sincere, slip of a restaurant.  The
house sangria and moles are a must.  “Platillos Modernos” take the
traditional to the next level, with entrees such as shrimp tossed with
smoky chocolate, and guacamole with fried grasshoppers, both making for
an offbeat evening.

Cake Man Raven
708-a Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 694-CAKE

You
could just forget dinner and grab a few whopping slices of the decadent
red velvet cake that made this bakery famous.  With its red tint,
creamy cheese frosting and tangy buttermilk flavor, it’s a favorite and
somewhat foolproof formula for Valentine’s Day.

Toloache
251 W 50th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 581-1818

Named
after an aphrodisiacal plant, this midtown Mexican offers a
multi-course menu for ($99), which includes ceviche, chipotle-lobster
tacos as well as duck and dried fig enchiladas.

Metisse
239 W 105 Street
New York, NY
(212) 666-8825

This
romantic hideaway in Harlem offers authentic and unusually affordable
French fare, including burgundy-braised coq au vin, and orange crème
brulee.

Until we eat again,
Restaurant Girl
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