Valentine’s Day Dining

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Valentine’s Day-it’s not just the most romantic day of the year, it’s also one of the busiest restaurant days of the year. Last year, a full one third of Americans dined out on Valentine’s Day. Kansas Citians have no lack of choices for their Valentine’s Day dinner experience. However, a word to the wise-make your reservations early because restaurants tend to fill up quickly. What follows here is not meant to be a guide to area restaurants and their Valentine’s Day menus, but a highlight of some of the special menus that caught my eye.

At Soiree Steak & Oyster House, chef-owner Anita Moore is crafting an experience she’s calling “Intercourses-An Aphrodisiac Dinner.” The meal consists of four courses and a take home gift. Starting with a choice of mussels and scallops, featuring a main course of either a grilled lobster tail or lamb chops, and finishing with a caramel chocolate waffle sandwich with rose ice cream and raspberry chocolate ganache, Soiree’s Valentine’s Day menu promises to be memorable. Moore says she wants people to enjoy but not overindulge. “I want people to eat well, but also feel well afterwards,” Moore shared.

Soiree’s Valentine’s Day menu is priced at $45 per person.

They’re also playing on the romantic theme at Affare with their “Affair of the Heart” Valentine’s Day menu. Standouts for me at Affare are the seared diver scallop in a Maltaise Campari tomato sauce and a tabbouleh salad, and the seared seabass filet with tomato jam, chive emulsion, a roasted garlic Peruvian potato crisp, with a savoy cabbage heart, and the chocolate tartelette with strawberry-passionfruit mousse quince and cassis compote.  “I try to inspire a lust for flavor, textures, and combinations that stimulate and satisfy the palate. Everything we serve at Affare has attention to detail,” Executive Chef and co-owner Martin Heuser said.

“An Affare of the Heart” can be had for $80 per person with optional wine pairings selected by co-owner and certified sommelier, Katrin Heuser, for $30.

I’ve long been a fan of Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar which is hosting a “Saying I Love You Never Tasted So Good” Valentine’s Day dinner. Diners can start with brandade, whipped goat cheese, or a baked shrimp and crab dip lavash before heading into seabass carpaccio or roasted pumpkin soup, then “main up” with a smoked rack of lamb, risotto, or a filet mignon. For dessert, there’s a choice of a chocolate tort or a blackberry souffle. Chef Bryan Sparks is hitting all the high notes for me. “Our Valentine’s Day menu was designed to be luxurious but also comfortable and approachable,” Sparks shared.

Jax is pricing its Valentine’s Day celebration at $75 per person with wine pairings available for $35.

Tannin Wine Bar and Kitchen is inviting you to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the one you love and “an incredible dinner menu, romantic ambiance, and, the best selection of Champagne and sparkling wine in the city.”

Tannin is offering its special Valentine’s Day menu on Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15.  The regular a la carte menu will also be available, but honestly, when you get a look at the Valentine’s Day offerings, they will be difficult to resist.  Tannin’s menu is three courses and gives diners ten separate choices-everything from mixed greens, ceviche, and chicken, to lamb chops, duck, and salmon, to cheesecake, chocolate mousse, and a fudge stuffed peanut butter cookie. Oh my.

The menu is being offered for $65 per guest with half glass wine pairing for $35 and full glass wine pairings for $70. 

If beer is more you jam than wine, Crane Brewing has a great option for you-a Valentine’s Beer Dinner in Crane’s barrel room featuring the cuisine of chef Brett Atkinson.  The dinner, priced at $50, features four courses, each paired to a Crane brew, plus a welcome beer.  How does a lobster-stuffed pork chop matched with a Phaze Hazy IPA sound to you? I thought so.

To close, a mention of the Valentine’s Day happenings at some of area restaurants I’ve always enjoyed. 

Porto do Sul, is open all Valentine’s Day Weekend for lunch and dinner. Diners can sample the full Porto Rodizio experience through the weekend and receive a gift card good for 50-percent off their next regularly priced Rodizio meal.

Café Trio is offering a special four-course prix fixe dinner at $59.99 per person with wine pairings available.

KC Hopps is getting in the Valentine’s Day spirit with special menus at five of its area restaurants. The metro’s three Blue Moose and two Barley Kitchen + Tap locations will offer diners a three-course prix fixe dinner on Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15 starting at 4 p.m. Regular dinner menus will also be available.

And, finally, if you want some great fried chicken to celebrate the special day, but don’t feel like messing with the crowds, Stroud’s in Overland Park is offering an online carryout special: $5 off any order of at least $25, and $10 off orders of $50 or more! I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me happier on Valentine’s Day, or any other day, than saving money.

Happy Valentine’s Day Everybody!

Story by Dave Eckert

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