Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Last-Minute Valentine's Day Restaurant Specials -- NYC

It’s the week before Valentine’s Day. You’ve called the babysitter, picked out the perfect gift, and bought the chocolates at Godiva. If the only missing part of your plans is a special place to eat, take your date to any of these NYC restaurants where the “specials of the day” are deals and romance with a little sugar on top.

Benoit. Nicely positioned to complement a culture-filled evening at Carnegie Hall or City Center, Alain Ducasse’s French brasserie will make you feel like you're celebrating Valentine’s Day in Paris. Chef Pierre Schaedelin’s three-course meal features seafood vol au vent and the restaurant’s signature profiteroles for $55. Make sure to have one of the pastry chef’s red candy apples. 60 W 55th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, (646) 943-7373

Bao Noodles. Celebrate Chinese New Year AND Valentine’s Day, Vietnamese style! Start the day with a Chinese New Year brunch from 12 noon-4pm with an authentic Southeast Asian-inspired special for only $9.99. Return for your Valentine’s Day dinner and enjoy a five-course tasting menu paired with Prosecco, sake, and a cocktail for $40. 391 Second Ave between 22nd and 23rd streets, (212) 725-7770

Puttanesca. Show your amore and bring your date to midtown West's Puttanesca for its three-course dinner at $39.95. Start with octopus carpaccio or sea scallops as your first course; then enjoy a grilled pork chop, heart-shaped ravioli, or filet of red snapper for your main. End on a sweet note with the mixed berry tart (with lemon sorbet) or the strawberry panna cotta. Ladies get a complimentary glass of Prosecco. 859 9th Avenue, (212) 581-4177

Gus & Gabriel. Chef Michael Psilakis’s G&G lets couples try the best of his Upper West Side gastropub menu with a Lonely Hearts Pub Valentine’s tasting for $34.95. This menu has all of my favorites, from the bone marrow and riblet starters to hearty pork shank or steak frites, and chocolate cake. For an additional $14.95, you can add beer pairings to stoke the Valentine’s warmth. 222 W. 79th Street, (212) 362-7470

Mari Vanna. For the perfect Valentine’s Day cocktail, take your sweetheart to this Russian Flatiron District gem for a chocolate-covered strawberry-infused vodka. Really treat her like a tsarina with a caviar presentation set in a Russian nesting doll. 41 E. 20th Street between Broadway & Park Avenue, (212) 777-1955

Nick & Stef's Steakhouse. Are you going to the afternoon Ranger's game? Have an early dinner at Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse. Chef Stephen Rosenbluth’s $59 three-course special includes chilled Beau Soleil oysters or wild mushroom risotto, followed by a 42-ounce Porterhouse for two or a two-pound lobster, and a Valrhona molten chocolate cake or a dessert tasting for two. 9 Penn Plaza, (212) 563-4444

Pampano. Make your evening sizzle at Placido Domingo’s midtown Modern Mexican restaurant with a six-course tasting menu for $70 featuring signature ceviches, tempura shrimp with Hawaiian papaya and mango, lobster tacos, seared scallops with flan, seared striped bass, grilled duck breast, and caramelized banana empanadas. 209 E. 49th between 2nd and 3rd avenues, (212) 751-4545

Mercadito. Mercadito will fire up the night with its spicy Mexican cuisine in the East Village. Until 10pm, you can enjoy a five-course menu for $45 with a guacamole tasting, two botanos or ceviches, four tacos, two side dishes, and dessert. Spice up your meal with either the Poción #9 cocktail Shot de la Passión. 179 Avenue B between 11th and 12th streets, (212) 529-6490

Geisha. After you’ve finished buying gifts at Bloomingdale’s, Barney’s or Bergdorf’s, indulge at the Franco-Japanese Geisha for a four-course lovers’ meal with wine pairing for $59. The special menu includes a black truffle tuna sandwich and mackerel tartare, miso-marinated Atlantic salmon with shitake mushrooms, miso-glazed or Korean barbeque organic chicken with Thai basil fried rice, and mochi ice cream. 33 E. 61st Street between Madison & Park avenues, (212) 813-1113

Bondi Road. It may be snowing outside, but inside this Aussie-style Lower East Sider, you’ll feel like you’re sitting on Bondi Beach. Between 11am and 5pm you can chow down at Cupid’s Brunch while enjoying their $20 all-you-can-drink happy hour special for two hours. 153 Rivington Street between Suffolk and Clinton streets, (212) 253-5311

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