Dining out on the town or whipping up a fancy dinner for two at home was how couples typically celebrated Valentine’s Day — pre-pandemic, that is.
One of those options is not in everyone’s comfort zone and the other is, well, to borrow a cooking pun, overdone. Thankfully, many local restaurants offer special one-night-only food events to celebrate this holiday of lovers that you won’t want to miss.
But don’t wait too long to pre-order. Meals are in limited quantities and by early February some were close to being sold out.
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FONDUE FOR TWO
Is there anything more romantic than sharing a pot of fondue? Fondue for Two — with all the cheeses you need, plus a how-to video, to whip up gooey, delicious fondue at home — is one of Village Cheese Shop’s two Valentine’s Day specials. (The other special is a cheese board with five cheeses, three meats, accompaniments, a bottle of Rosé and chocolates; $65.) Include a bottle of wine ($14.99-$18.99) with the fondue fixings if you wish.
$40 for 2-3. Pre-order and pick up on Fri. Feb. 12 or Sat. Feb. 13 between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
2. Lazy Susan
VALENTINE’S DAY DATE NIGHT COOKING CLASS
If the idea of not cooking on Valentine’s Day makes you squirm, Lazy Susan’s Valentine’s Day Date Night Cooking Class is a nice compromise. Included are supplies for butternut-squash crostini with caramelized shallot jam, kale salad and seared scallops with blood-orange salsas ad white-chocolate parsnip puree. The Bay View eatery’s offering thoughtfully includes a bottle of wine and pre-made flourless chocolate cake (one less item to make!). This can be made gluten-free upon request.
$90 for two. Pre-order then pick up Sun. Feb. 14, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. or opt for local delivery, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Bay View, Walker’s Point and St. Francis only).
FOUR-COURSE VALENTINE’S DAY DINNER
True to its reputation, Sanford Restaurant provides an upscale supper — even without dining in. The four-course Valentine’s Day dinner (pre-made and available cold, for quick heating at home) begins with seared scallops “Rockefeller” and eases into curried pumpkin bisque and striploin dusted with mushrooms and a side of maple mascarpone polenta, before winding down on a sweet note: chocolate dried-cherry espresso cake topped with cherry preserves and hot fudge.
$120 for two. Pre-order then pick up Fri. Feb. 12, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; or Sat. Feb. 13, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
TWO TO-GO PACKAGES
Charles E. Fromage (French for Chuck E. Cheese, get it?) quietly opened in Washington Heights in 2019 and, despite being slammed with the pandemic, the wine bar continues to win locals over. In honor of Valentine’s Day are two to-go packages: Le Bistro des Amoureux (includes Tabal chocolate, olive salad, “cheese glop” and stuffed artichokes) and La Famille de L’Amour (the above package plus items kids like to eat, such as finger Jello with whipped cream). There’s an option to add a bottle of wine onto any order.
Prices vary. For two. Pre-orders due Thurs. Feb. 11. Pick up Sat. Feb. 13, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., or Sun. Feb. 14, noon to 3 p.m.
REHEAT AT HOME MEAL
Much of Ardent owner Justin Carlisle’s meat is sourced from his family’s farm and among the menu highlights. Bring the goodness to your home kitchen with Ardent, for reheating at home. It includes Ardent reserve caviar, a New York strips steak, King crab and sunchoke porridge, celeriac and black-truffle tart, and flourless chocolate cake. Also: five gourmet snacks to kick off the holiday that include foie-gras bon bon with Minus 8 ice wine.
$150 for two. Pre-order then pick up Sat. Feb. 13.
6. Odd Duck
VALENTINE’S DAY DATE-IN-A-BOX
Everything you need for a cozy Valentine’s Day drinking and eating at home is in Odd Duck’s Valentine’s Day Date-In-A-Box where nearly everything is, as the menu states, “almost complete.” All you have to do is heat and plate. Alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) beverage pairings are included. Salad Laitue (lettuce, apple, blue cheese, pickled onion, croutons, hazelnut and sherry vinaigrette) is a tasty prelude to lobster thermidor and dark-chocolate orange truffles end the meal.
$130 for two. Pre-order then pick up Sun. Feb. 14 between 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
MAKE-YOUR-OWN LOBSTER RAVIOLI
The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar’s intimate, Old World-style dining room is a hot spot on Valentine’s Day but this year you can enjoy the menu at home, thanks to the Valentine’s Day Make Your Own Lobster Ravioli Take and Bake Meal. First up, chocolate martinis (as you put on an apron and start cooking, using ingredients in the kit). Two pancetta-wrapped beef tenderloins, tiramisu and arugula fennel salad are also included. The meal also features a bottle of Prosecco, biscotti and a pound of The Pasta Tree Lovers Special Blend Coffee.
$150 for two. Pre-order by Thurs. Feb. 11 and pick up between Fri. Feb. 12 and Sun. Feb. 14.
VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME WITH EDDIE’S
Eddie Martini’s Valentine’s Day at Home With Eddie’s is a prix-fixe experience where you choose what type of steak you want (the restaurant’s specialty) from among 10 options (such as 6-ounce Wagyu and beef filet mignon or 18-ounce 45-day dry-aged bone-in ribeye). All feature the same sides: salad, twin 6-ounce lobster tails, chocolate-covered strawberries and a chocolate dessert.
$94-$141 per person. Pre-order 24 hours before pick-up time (Fri. Feb 12, Sat. Feb. 13 or Sun. Feb. 14 at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8:25 p.m.)
Some of The Bartolotta Restaurants’ eateries have created special take-home feasts for Valentine’s Day. This includes:
- Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro’s Valentine’s Meal Package For Two, with options to select from two choices for each of the three courses (filet or chicken breast for the main course, salad or soup as the opener, and Crème Cuit or Gâteau au Chocolat for dessert). Tack on a bottle of French wine for $40.
($120 for two, pre-order by Wed., Feb. 10 and pick up Fri. Feb. 12 through Sun. Feb. 14)
- Ristorante Bartolotta dal 1993’s Valentine’s Meal Package for Two’s four-course Italian meal might make you yearn for a trip to Italy in 2022. The meal includes a field-greens salad, Pappardelle pasta with duck ragu, Venetian-style spiced braised beef and — for dessert — tiramisu. Upgrade with a bottle of Italian wine
(+$18-$60). ($120 for two, pre-order by Wed. Feb. 10 and pick up Fri. Feb. 12 through Sun. Feb. 14)
- Harbor House’s Valentine’s Weekend Three-Course Dinner Package is a self-designed dinner that includes a starter (such as lobster bisque or shrimp cocktail), decadent entrée (lobster tail is one option) and dessert (from key-lime pie to Alisha Tyler’s Chocolate Cherry Chunk Bar).
($65 per person, pre-order by 4 p.m. the day prior and pick up Fri. Feb. 12 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.)
- Bacchus’ Valentine’s Meal Package spans three courses and is designed to be put together at home, via step-by-step instructions. If you’re the type of person who can’t decide what to order, all the decisions are made: shellfish bisque, seared 8-ounce beef filet (with broccolini) and triple-chocolate raspberry mousse cake.
($65 per person, pre-order by Wed. Feb. 10 and pick up Fri. Feb. 12 through Sun. Feb. 14)