Valentine's Day is one of the busiest of the year at many restaurants, second probably only to Mother's Day for dining out. So, if you're hoping to snag a romantic table for you and your sweetie on Cupid's big night in Salt Lake City, it's never too early to make a reservation, as many restaurants will sell out. Here's an array of V-Day dining options from the restaurants that provided information to me.
At Alamexo Mexican Kitchen (268 S. State, 801-779-4797, Alamexo.com) chef Matt Lake and his crew will celebrate Mexico's El Día del Amor y la Amistad (the day of love and friendship) with regional specialty dishes and drinks, including filete de res con recado negro: filet mignon seasoned with black chile paste, served with a handkerchief tamale, jalapeños rellenos and salsa de molcajete; and Halibut Veracruz-style, cooked in salsa with roasted tomatoes, sweet peppers, olives and capers, topped with crispy plantains. For dessert, there is dark chocolate cake soaked in raspberry purée, topped with sweet goat cheese mousse.
Current Fish & Oyster (279 E. 300 South, 801-326-3474, CurrentFishAndOyster.com) chef Logen Crew has created three dinner specials for Valentine's Day weekend (Feb. 12-14), to supplement his regular menu. V-Day specialty dishes at Current are fritto misto di mare: fried assorted seafood with chervil, beech mushroom and sultana mustard; fluke slivers with citrus, hearts of palm and Thai herbs; and red snapper en croute for two, with onion petals, endive, tarragon and Champagne sauce.
On Feb. 13 and 14, Finca (327 W. 200 South, 801-487-0699, FincaSLC.com) will offer lovers a six-course tasting menu with wine pairings ($65 plus $35/wine pairings), including dishes such as chilled strawberry soup; oysters with mignonette; chocolate mole duck breast; seared arctic char with yuzu-pomegranate sauce; and mandarin orange crème caramel. Each course is paired with a specially selected wine (optional).
At Fresco Italian Café (1513 S. 1500 East, 801-486-1300, FrescoItalianCafe.com), Valentine's Day will be celebrated Feb. 12-14 with a four-course menu ($60) from chef Adrian Harris. Oysters with Rosé mignonette kick things off, followed by a selection of appetizers: carpaccio with quail egg, leek tart, creamy polenta, calamari or a savory chèvre cheesecake. Entrée options feature seared sea bass, baked gnocchi, New York strip steak, bucatini with eggplant meatball, ravioli with lobster and chicken involtini. Pastry chef Alexa Norlin has created a chocolate raspberry cake with raspberry sorbet to finish.
Chef Andy Morrison compiled a romantic Valentine's Day menu ($50) for Feb. 13 and 14 at Caffe Niche (779 E. 300 South, 801-433-3380, CaffeNiche.com), beginning with a red-hot cinnamon-and-honey Jell-O shot. Diners will then choose between a baby greens salad with raspberries, walnuts and Champagne vinaigrette; or warm mushroom bisque with truffle cream. Entrées of rosemary-crusted lamb chops; lobster mac & cheese; stuffed quail with fig and blue cheese; or pappardelle with sage, wild mushroom and artichoke, are followed by dessert selections of a chocolate box filled with whipped cream and fresh mixed berries or a red velvet cupcake.
Oasis Café (151 S. 500 East, 801-322-0404, OasisCafeSLC.com) will offer a four-course, $40 menu for Valentine's Day weekend. Chef Efren Benitez' V-Day specials include smoked salmon and English cucumber with caviar, chives, sour cream and lemon zest; beef Wellington with Parmesan polenta, zucchini and rosemary demi-glace; shrimp bisque with chives and toasted baguette; and applewood-smoked bacon-wrapped Alaskan halibut with Gorgonzola mashed potatoes, mango and fig purée. Dessert options include red wine-poached pear and dark chocolate panna cotta.
For two nights, Feb. 13-14, Pago (878 S. 900 East, 801-532-0777, PagoSLC.com) will offer a five-course tasting menu ($85 plus $35/wine pairing) with highlights such as ahi tuna with blistered shishito peppers, smoked avocado, fried shallots, watercress and toasted sesame oil paired with Tablas Creek's Côtes de Tablas Blanc; and carne cruda with quail egg, pickled mushroom, house mustard and lavash.
The Paris (1500 S. 1500 East, 801-486-5585, TheParis.net) is taking reservations for "La St. Valentin à Paris," Feb. 13 & 14. Highlights from the weekend's five-course menu ($74.95) include Thai-spiced Alaskan king crab cake; pan-roasted Chilean sea bass and wild Sea of Cortez prawns with carrot orzo and lobster nage; and black Angus beef filet "Oscar" with roasted fingerling potatoes, asparagus, Alaskan king crab and tomato bearnaise. Nougat glace with chestnut honey and pomegranate seeds sounds like an amazing dessert.
Both Café Trio (TrioDining.com) locations have you covered for Valentine's Day weekend, Feb. 12-14. At Café Trio Downtown (680 S. 900 East, 801-533-8746), chef Tara Juhl, has created three enticing specials to complement her regular dinner menu: a starter course of Caputo's silky burrata salad, plus entrée selections of beet and goat cheese ravioli with brown butter and hazelnuts; and scallops with wild mushroom and Champagne risotto. Meanwhile, Café Trio Cottonwood (6405 S. 3000 East, 801-944-8746), new chef Mike Sparks has added three V-Day specials to his regular menu as well: a seared sea scallop appetizer, and main selections of house-made spinach linguine with mussels and clams, or pan-seared bass served with celery root purée.
Tucanos Brazilian Grill (162 S. 400 West, The Gateway, 801-456-2550, Tucanos.com) is closed on Valentine's Day but will offer lunch and dinner additions to its all-you-can-eat churrasco menu ($19.95, lunch; $29.95, dinner) from Feb. 11-13. Specials include rosemary herbed-salmon, roasted rib eye, grilled shrimp and Brazilian chocolate truffle. If that weren't enough, each couple will receive a complimentary rose to finish off their romantic dinner, Brazilian-style.
On Valentine's Day, Tuscany (2832 E. 6200 South, 801-277-9919, TuscanySLC.com) offers diners a special four-course menu ($65) with options that include seared crab cakes with raspberry-kale salad and spicy blood orange coulis; baked creamed spinach Asiago pie; savory dark cherry, balsamic vinegar and white chocolate soup; beef Wellington with truffle potatoes; pink peppercorn-crusted ahi tuna with black forbidden rice; slow-roasted Prime rib; and roasted beet ravioli. Dessert choices include Black Forest cake with Kirsch cherries and chocolate ganache or chocolate red-velvet cheesecake.
Happy Valentine's Day to all you hopeless romantics!