Taking your sweetie out for a romantic Valentine dinner is the sweetest thing ever. So make sure you don’t screw it up.
Valentine’s Day (Wed, Feb. 14) is the second most popular holiday for dining out, according to the National Restaurant Association (Mother’s Day is first). But not all Valentine dinners are created equal. With most of you heading out for a romantic evening to get those passionate engines revving over a glass of wine and a tasty meal, we’ve collected a handful of restaurants to check out.
Sante Restaurant at the Sonoma Mission Inn: Four courses with Maine Lobster bisque, scallops with pork belly, beef filet with glazed vegetables and Valrhona chocolate souffle. $115 per person, 100 Boyes Blvd., Sonoma, 707-938-9000, fairmont.com/sonoma.
Valette: Five-course tasting menu includes Marin oysters and caviar, truffles and Kobe beef carpaccio, seaweed roasted Maine lobster, butter roasted filet mignon and dark chocolate and peanut nougatine. $85 per person, wine pairings available for $55. 344 Center St., Healdsburg, 707-473-0946, valettehealdsburg.com.
Madrona Manor: Four-course luxury menu with hamachi crudo and Dungeness crab, truffle risotto, salmon with chanterelles or prime beef loin with rice and mustard greens. $110 per person, $55 wine pairing. 1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 707-433-4231, madronamanor.com.
Dry Creek Kitchen: Six-course dinner with asparagus and farro salad, lamb tartare with Thai basil, veal pierogi with butter-braised mushrooms, sea bass with pickled cabbage, pistachio crusted filet mignon or stuffed Maine lobster for two, strawberry mousse. $105 per person, $75 for additional wine pairings.
Couples’ Night Out
Zazu: Three-course dinner featuring fried green tomatoes, tombo tuna crudo, tamarind baby back ribs, Bellwether ricotta raviolo with white truffle, bourbon ice cream sandwiches and creme brulee. Three courses for $79, 4 courses for $89, 6770 McKinley St #150, Sebastopol, 523-4814, zazukitchen.com.
Franchetti’s Woodfire Kitchen: Three-course German-inspired menu includes roasted asparagus gratin with ham and gruyere, venison with pea shoot spaetzle, chocolate ganache with raspberry glaze, German berry pudding. $39 per person, served through Saturday, Feb. 17.1229 N. Dutton, Santa Rosa, 707-526-1229, franchettis.com.
Lowell’s Restaurant: Four courses include Romanesco salad with green goddess dressing, beef tartare, sacchetti (pasta) with sheeps milk ricotta, black butter, lemon, duck with baby carrots, black cod with fennel salad, blood orange upside down cake. Vegan options available. 7385 Healdsburg Ave., Sebastopol, 707-829-1077.
Spoonbar: Four-course menu includes warm asparagus with Parmesan and truffle “caviar”, bay scallops with uni emulsion, chicken with smoked wild mushrooms, NY strip steak with pickled kumquat and black truffle Bordelaise and double chocolate tart. $75 per person, 219 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, spoonbar.com. The restaurant is also featuring two special cocktails through February. Aphrodite’s Decoction: Cognac, red wine + honey + fig shrub, blood orange juice, Peychaud bitters. Force carbonated, served long in a Collins glass, a small bunch of grapes as garnish; and Chocolate and Flowers: Aged tequila, Crispin Rose liqueur, Tempus Fugit Crem de Cacao, Rosehip syrup, lemon juice. Served in a rocks glass with a sliver of edible gold leaf stuck to the side of the glass to imitate chocolate candy wrapping and a single red rose petal floating on top. Sounds delightful.
Breakaway Cafe: Endive salad, sauteed lemon sold with cauliflower puree or grilled New York strip steak with potato strudel. 19101 Sonoma Hwy, Sonoma, 707-996-5949.
Something a Little Different
Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate: Chocolate and wine pairings include Grand Reserve Rose with strawberries ’n cream white chocolate ganache, Grand Reserve port with dark chocolate ganache. A screaming deal at $25, since their pastry chef is one of the world’s best. 5007 Fulton Rd, Fulton, kj.com.
Did you know that yes, we do in fact have a Dunkin Donuts in Sonoma County now? It’s in Petaluma, and they’ll be doing up Valentine’s Day right with a Vanilla Truffle Donut, brownie batter crumble donut, “Cupid’s Choice”, filled with Bavarian creme and frosted with strawberry icing along with Munchkin mini donut holes covered with pink and white sprinkles. 435 N. McDowell, Petaluma.
Did we miss a favorite? Let us know.