It's almost Valentine's Day. If you have a sweetheart, chances are you've (hopefully) already made dinner reservations. If not, remember that the best thing about the worst holiday of the year is not only eating lots and lots of cheap Russell Stover chocolates on your sofa, but also making fun of all the couples that are same-siding it at romantic restaurants around town. The fact remains, though, that Valentine's Day means lots of great restaurants are having specials, so even if you decide to take out your roommate or even your mom, we've rounded up some special dishes from local Italian and French restaurants that you'll want to try while chuckling at the couples feeding each other spaghetti.
The folks at Muse tucked away on Society Street are offering a prix-fixe menu for the holiday in addition to their regular menu. Diners can choose from menu items that include a shrimp ravioli served with citrus tomatoes, leeks, and a basil buerre blanc; braised lamb over herb gnudi (gnocchi made with ricotta), Swiss chard, and topped with a rosemary reduction; and a classic chocolate Napoleon served with an espresso anglaise. Three courses are $35, with wine pairings for an additional fee.
The folks at King Street's Il Cortile del Re are especially excited about their Valentine's dish — a savory lobster ravioli especially handmade for the restaurant by the local pasta geniuses at Rio Bertolini's. You'll get five large pieces, served in a creamy shrimp and scallop sauce, for $20.
Almost as romantic as a trip to Paris, dinner at 39 Rue de Jean offers all the pleasures of the city of light without the price of a plane ticket. Special appetizers this Valentine's day include truffle-scented diver scallops with a cauliflower bacon puree, accompanied by an almond pesto ($12) and a roasted beet napoleon with strawberry goat cheese mousse, local arugula, spiced pecans, and a cherry balsamic reduction ($8). In the spirit of the holiday, the menu offers a duo of 5 oz. filets complemented by an apple tarragon risotto and roasted parsnips. The steaks are served with a side of duck fat-poached asparagus and two sauces, a lobster fondue and a black berry bordelaise ($38). Finish the meal with Rue's heart-shaped chocolate torte garnished with vanilla ganache and fresh strawberries ($8.50), and you'll be feeling the love.
Italian restaurants Trattoria Lucca and Pane e Vino are both offering special additions to their menu this Valentine's Day. Lucca, known for its fresh handmade pastas, is offering a four-course tasting menu featuring four different pastas. The pastas range from an extruded pasta, or pasta that's forced through a die and dried slowly to give it more flavor, to a filled, ravioli-type pasta, to a dumpling pasta, and finally an egg noodle pasta. The prix fixe menu is $48 a person. Pane e Vino is doing things a bit more traditionally, offering a special 18 oz. ribeye to split right down its heart-shaped middle ($42).