Valentine's Day Dining 

Plan a secret rendezvous at Corbin’s Grille, Market Street Oyster Bar, Meditrina, Shabu or The Sun & Moon Café.

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Each year at this time, food writers gather their restaurant press releases and regurgitate them for a Valentine’s Day dining roundup. They are, inevitably, predictable. So, let’s dispense with the obvious. If you’re looking for romantic dining locales this Valentine’s Day, you’re probably already hip to no-brainers like Fresco, Grappa, Bambara, The Paris, Metropolitan, La Caille, Log Haven, The New Yorker, Pago and such. They may be already booked anyway.

But, don’t fret. I believe that anyplace can be romantic with the right partner. Spreading a blanket out on the living room floor and throwing an indoor “picnic” for Valentine’s Day can even work, as can slurping a bowl of pho with somebody special. But, if you want to eat out with your honey, here are a handful of restaurants—brimming with romantic potential—that maybe you haven’t considered as date spots.

Winding the way up Emigration Canyon is a mini-getaway in itself—a beautiful micro-environment conducive to romance. And, what’s better to unleash Cupid’s arrows than good food and good music in a friendly, rustic, casual setting? So, I give you The Sun & Moon Café, where talented guitarist Keith Taylor will be providing the sonorous soundtrack for lovebirds, who’ll enjoy a three-course dinner with beer- and wine-pairing options. The Sun & Moon is known for irresistible offerings like pomegranate goat-cheese salad (a slam-dunk for Valentine’s Day), duck ravioli with garlic-basil cream sauce, and pecan-crusted pork loin kissed with cranberry-bourbon sauce. It’s the sun, the moon, you and yours.

Up in Park City, the newly relocated Shabu is a great Valentine’s bet. Now situated downstairs in the space that was Bacchus Wine Bar, Shabu is a cozy yet vibrant eatery, specializing in “freestyle Asian cuisine” and tempting libations like saketinis (sake martinis) and their Black & Blue Lemonade, a cocktail—featuring raspberry vodka, mashed blueberries and lemonade—that’s sure to set the proper tone for the evening. Then, put some sizzle into your night by sharing shabu shabu (shabu literally means “sizzle”), a dish cooked right at your table, similar to fondue, and featuring either vegetarian, Thai coconut or traditional broth with choices of veggies, noodles, tofu, chicken, beef and seafood for dipping. Use chopsticks to offer your date nibbles of shabu shabu, and you’ll create your own hot and sensuous 9 1/2 Weeks-style scene. Just keep your hands where everyone can see ’em.

For romance in Layton, consider Corbin’s. Contemporary but warm, brimming with natural wood and soft lighting, Corbin’s Grille is Davis County’s best bet for a lusty dinner, particularly of a carnivorous sort. Steaks aged for 28 days are the main draw here and come with salad or soup and sides like baked potatoes, steak frites or mashers, so you won’t break the bank buying extras. In fact, you can get a USDA Prime Top Sirloin steak for as little as $18, with all the accouterments. Grilled items are cooked utilizing California white almond wood and mesquite charcoal, lending sweet and smoky flavors to steaks, chicken, ribs, burgers and delicious seafood dishes like five-spice salmon (grilled Atlantic salmon with jasmine rice and red curry reduction). An excellent wine selection and custom cocktails such as Nap on the Beach are sure to help put you in the right V-Day mood.

Sharing tapas and sampling interesting wines with someone special sounds like a Valentine’s Day recipe for success to me. And, since Valentine’s Day is on Monday, you can enjoy Meditrina Monday, featuring $3 sangria all day and $4 tapas from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Sharing tapas with your Valentine can, of course, lead to sharing much more—the possibilities are endless. So, order up some steamed mussels, grilled octopus, a charcuterie plate, scallops piccata, or one of the tasty vegetarian dishes like Cajun hot-and-sour green beans, curried cauliflower, patatas bravas, or yummy mac & cheese with Tillamook sharp cheddar, Grana Padano and topped, playfully, with Bugle crunch. Should you decide to stray from the housemade sangria, the wine list is brimming with goodies from Shramsberg bubbly and Matrot Burgundy to Ponzi Pinot and Cantelle Primitivo.

As you probably know, oysters are considered a culinary aphrodisiac. Personally, I can’t vouch for that claim because, you know, I’m always in the mood, oysters or not. But, since oysters and Valentine’s Day are a perfect pairing, how lucky it is that V-Day happens to be Oyster Monday at the Market Street Oyster Bars around town, with oysters half-price all day long. I’m particularly fond of the Cottonwood Oyster Bar, where you and your special someone can flirt with each other in a cozy Oyster Bar booth. Or, if you don’t have a date for Valentine’s Day, this is a good place to find one. Things get steamy around the big, bustling bar after work, with patrons checking each other out as they sip fine wine, cocktails or beer and nosh on iced king crab legs, clam chowder, steamed shrimp and the like. Locally renowned manager Fred Boutwell adds class and service excellence to the proceedings in Cottonwood.

Whether solo, duo, a ménage %uFFFD trois or with a gaggle of friends, here’s wishing you a deliciously decadent Valentine’s Day, wherever you choose to spend it. 

CORBIN'S GRILLE
748 Heritage Park Boulevard, Layton
801-825-2502
CorbinsGrille.com

MARKET STREET OYSTER BAR
2985 E. 6580 South
801-942-8860
GINC.com

MEDITRINA
1394 S. West Temple
801-485-2055
MeditrinaSLC.com

SHABU
442 Main Street, Park City
435-645-7253
ShabuPC.com

THE SUN AND MOON CAFE
6281 Emigration Canyon
801-583-8331
TheSunandMoonCafe.com

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