Valentine’s Day: Go Big or Go Home

Posted February 7, 2007 at 5:03pm

It’s becoming an annual ritual. Each year when Valentine’s Day rolls around, a line is drawn in the sand and people divide themselves into two camps: the haters and the lovers. If you’re on the lover side of the line, read on. [IMGCAP(1)]

Homebodies looking to celebrate can stop by Capitol Hill’s Marvelous Market (303 Seventh St. SE), which is offering a special four-course dinner for two, available for take-out. The meal includes a baby greens salad with poached pears, roasted pecans and blue cheese with a lemon vinaigrette dressing, lobster bisque, either salmon or filet mignon, and a heart-shaped chocolate torte with raspberry sauce. The salmon dinner for two costs $45.99; the beef $49.99. Chocolate-dipped strawberries ($2.79 each) also will be available.

If you prefer to get out of the house, go all out with a reservation at one of Washington, D.C.’s most classically romantic restaurants: Taberna del Alabardero (1776 I St. NW). The regal Spanish restaurant will offer a five-course dinner for $85 per person with dishes such as capon (or rooster) roulade with a truffle grape sauce and chilled white chocolate soup with a mixed berry compote.

On Capitol Hill, Belga Café (514 Eighth St. SE) will be serving a five-course menu for $65 per person. Menu items include celery root ravioli with pan-seared scallops, cauliflower coulis and a Syrah red wine reduction sauce, and basil-infused lamb filet confit with baby carrots, crushed fingerling potato with virgin olive oil and aged balsamic-lamb juice. And don’t overlook the “Belga love cocktail,” made with passion fruit sorbet, Pearl vodka and peach juice for $9.69.

For an Indian twist, Penn Quarter’s Rasika (633 D St. NW) will be offering an aphrodisiac four-course menu priced at $75 per person. Diners can order oysters served with lemon ginger and honey, crispy baby spinach with sweet yogurt, tamarind and date chutney (palak chaat) and a variety of entrees, including the restaurant’s signature black cod with fresh dill, honey and star anise.

Another Penn Quarter destination, PS 7’s (777 I St. NW), will offer a three-course menu for $45. Chef Peter Smith has included tempting options such as a chateaubriand for two and red beet filled tortellini in a seared foie gras emulsion. Finish off with a chocolate soufflé for two with cherry ice cream and Tasmanian pepper anglaise, baked Alaska with passion fruit sorbet and strawberry ice cream, or lemon meringue “pie” with prickly pear reduction and toasted almond granite. Pair wines with your meal for an additional $20.

And just steps from the White House, the Oval Room (800 Connecticut Ave. NW) is offering a three-course menu with an amuse-bouche and a glass of champagne with dessert for $75 per person. Chef Tony Conte will add romantic touches to the tasting menu, such as incorporating rose petals into a scallop dish.

Opening Update. The opening of Locanda, the restaurant that will fill the former Meyhane space at 633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, is now slated for early March. Owner Aykan Demiroglu is planning a menu of Italian food with Mediterranean touches, including antipasti and a selection of small plates. Also look for wines from boutique Italian vineyards and a revamped space. “You’re not going to recognize the place when you step in,” Demiroglu told Roll Call in September.

OYA Keeps the Deals Coming. OYA Restaurant and Lounge is planning to keep Restaurant Week-inspired prices around a little longer. The restaurant is now offering a three-course lunch menu for $20 and dinner for $35.50. The dinner price drops to $30 on Sundays. (These deals are not valid on Valentine’s Day.)

The fixed-price menus offer numerous choices for each course, such as tuna tempura rolls, Atlantic salmon with lentils and bacon, and banana bread pudding with rum raisin ice cream.

Also on Sundays, look for a selection of discounted wines. The restaurant’s wine director, Andrew Stover, said, “We want to be seen as a wine-friendly restaurant, especially for those diners seeking something out of the ordinary, something unique.”

OYA is located at 777 Ninth St. NW.