By Marina Starkey
Whether you roll your eyes at the thought of it or get excited about receiving chocolates and flowers from your sweetie, Valentine’s Day is a holiday we all have to get through in one way or another. The good news is that we all have to eat on February 14th, so you might as well make sure whatever you indulge in is worth all the V-Day frills and thrills, and maybe even local and sustainable. Here’s a few spots in NYC doing it right and just think — you’ll actually be removing some of the guilt from eating all those chocolates.
Serving local and organic produce, hormone and antibiotic-free meats, even biodynamic and organic wine, Aurora is the best authentic Italian restaurant to charm your Valentine and your stomach. Their V-Day menu is only $65 per person, and it boasts the likes of Beausoleil oysters and Ravioli con Tartufo — foraged mushroom and burrata-filled pasta with black truffle. With all of these aphrodisiacs, you’ll both leave happy.
V-Note is an organic wine bar and vegan bistro that guarantees you’ll never miss the meat or dairy. And it’s perfect for all you indecisive couples; they have many varying kinds of cuisine, from lemon gnocchi to Seitan frites au pouvre. Their Valentine’s Day menu even comes with a glass of prosecco and the most mouthwatering dessert options on our list. Cheesecake with chocolate dipped strawberries, anyone?
This cozy little Greenpoint joint will easily stir up romance in your partner’s eyes, and that’s before the bread (served in a flowerpot) hits the table. This seasonally focused menu for the upcoming holiday is guaranteed to please. Kumamoto oysters, scallops in a blood orange beurre, and lobster ravioli pepper the menu as simple, comforting dishes that purposefully leave out the frills if you’re not feeling so adventurous. Their champagne Valentine’s cocktail is filed under “Anella’s secret recipe,” so try it for yourself and tell us how it is.
According to their website, The Place is one of the most romantic and intimate locations in the city. The candlelight and the fireplaces really do contribute to a feeling that warms you up inside. Their chef is dedicated to seasonal and a locally-focused menu, and that’s evident in their fresh and unique dishes. Specializing in Pan-European and New American cuisine, we were really impressed by the pumpkin-shiitake risotto, grass fed lamb meatballs, and the “3 Way Long Island Duck.” That includes a seared duck breast, a leg confit, and duck wontons. Nothing quite says love and romance like duck.
Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse
With several locations throughout the city and dubbed one of the best steakhouses in the city, Uncle Jack’s is a classic date night restaurant that is guaranteed to satisfy throughout the night. This year, they made their Valentine’s Day specials available all week, from February 9th through the 15th, just in case you want to beat all those lovey-dovey crowds on Saturday. For all you meat lovers, their a la carte menu will be available, sprinkled with some V-day specials. You can dine happily in love knowing that the cow you’re eating was pretty happy too.
This restaurant boasts a prix-fixe three course meal this Valentine’s Day, with a champagne toast for you and your loved one. Not only is their menu organic and local, but they also list all of the farms they affiliate with on their website, including which produce they get from where. Now you won’t have to spend your whole meal wondering where your chicken spent his formative years. Their romantic menu includes the most comforting dishes such as bouillabaisse or chicken pot pie for entrees, and apple crisp or cheesecake for dessert. Talk about crowd pleasers.
Why wait for a romantic dinner when you can have a romantic brunch? We all know breakfast foods are far superior anyway. Public’s “Lover’s Feast” will feature plates that are meant for sharing, including cast-iron baked sticky buns. That’s not the best part, however, as they will also have a hot chocolate bar equipped with every goodie you can dream up and more. You can even put some Schnapps in there. Looking for something a little more savory? May we suggest the tea-smoked salmon with poached eggs and yuzu hollandaise.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Marina is a student who finds most of her comfort in food and in cooking. She runs her own adventurous food blog, fondly called “Marinated” which you can explore at www.marinatedblog.com. While studying abroad in London, she realized that all she wants from life is to eat through all of the cities in the world and write about it. In between meals, Marina enjoys reading and writing poetry, playing her ukulele, and dreaming up the places she wants to travel to next. She’s currently finishing her degree in Writing, Literature, & Publishing at Emerson College and is pretending the future isn’t happening yet.
Couple dining photo via Shutterstock