Eat Your Heart Out

Restaurants Put a Lot of Love Into Their Valentine’s Day Menus

Posted February 9, 2005 at 3:40pm

[IMGCAP(2)]Time is running out to make dinner reservations for Valentine’s Day, but if you start dialing now, you just might get lucky. If you opt to celebrate this weekend, many restaurants will already be offering special love-inspired menus. [IMGCAP(1)]

At the hot new IndeBleu (707 G St. NW), Chef Vikram Garg has put together a suggestive multicourse menu inspired by the Kama Sutra. Risqué dishes include an oyster “quickie” with chile-lime sorbet, poached shrimp “in the sack” with champagne caviar foam, and an “intercourse” of basil and honey sorbet.

The main attraction is baked lobster tail, and for dessert, an “orgy” of chocolate is served over marinated strawberries and nuts. The menu is available Monday for $95.

Belga Café (514 Eighth St. SE) is normally closed Mondays, but the restaurant will open for four special dinner seatings on Valentine’s Day. Chef Bart Vandaele has created a multicourse menu of romantically named dishes, priced at $49.05. Dinner begins with a champagne cocktail flavored with violet syrup and either the Oriental love starter (Asian-style shrimp scampi) or the French love starter (terrine of duck liver). Wine peach sorbet, sprinkled with peach lambic beer, serves as a palate cleanser before the main course — a choice between ocean’s tenderness (pan-seared rockfish) or agneau d’amour (lamb loin).

Charlie Palmer Steak (101 Constitution Ave. NW) is getting in touch with its romantic side with a special tasting menu paired with six sparkling wines. Highlights include tuna sashimi, roasted Angus sirloin paired with braised short ribs with mustard greens and black winter truffles, and chilled strawberry soup with rose panna cotta and candied pistachios. Chocolate-dipped strawberries cap off the meal. The $95 menu is available Friday, Saturday and Monday.

You still have until Monday to enter Andale’s Valentine’s Day essay contest for a chance to win a four-night trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. Andale Chef Alison Swope is asking participants to dream up the perfect three-course menu to serve your beloved and explain in 100 words or less why the menu expresses your love. Pick up an entry form at Andale (401 Seventh St. NW) and return it by Valentine’s Day. The winner, who will be announced Feb. 21, receives a trip for two to Oaxaca, including air fare, accommodations, a dining allowance and restaurant tips from the chef.

Café Atlantico (405 Eighth St. NW) is pulling out all the stops for the holiday. Rose petals sprinkled on table tops, incense and candlelight will help set the stage for romance. Start out with a strawberry martini topped with rose petal air before opening the five-course menu, presented love letter-style in an aromatic envelope. Rose petal tempura drizzled with honey, lobster pico de gallo and stuffed quail with roses and chestnuts are among the creative offerings on the $75 menu. Couples will also receive complementary copies of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s “Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair.”

Bellydancers and complementary pomegranate champagne cocktails will spice things up at Zaytinya (701 Ninth St. NW) on Valentine’s Day. A $75 menu will feature a variety of mezzes, including lobster spanakopita, caviar, oysters on the half shell, tuna tartare and duck served with foie gras cream.

Score big brownie points by naming a martini after your date at Palette (15th and M streets Northwest). With 24 hours notice, Palette will provide a list of drinks to choose from, and the personalized martini will be presented once you’re seated. The restaurant’s five-course, “five senses” menu includes a salad with spicy popcorn and a crunchy corn nut cracker (sense of hearing), black truffle sweet potato soup (sense of smell) and a tower of chocolate Guinness cake (sense of sight). The special martinis and menu are available Friday, Saturday and Monday.