Not everyone's a fan of Valentine's Day, and past the innocent age of exchanging cutesy cards with grade school chums and secret adolescent crushes, the holiday can seem a little schmaltzy and a lot commercial.
But whether or not you've dismissed Valentine's Day as nothing more than a Hallmark holiday, a few creatively-crafted menus around JP might make you rethink your usual Tuesday night dinner plans for this Feb. 14.
Romantic intentions optional, here are a couple ways to express your love for our local food scene this holiday:
(763 Centre Street) Our favorite New American bistro (celebrating their fourth anniversary this month) has their love day menu on lockdown. Highlights include oyster stew with Maine shrimp toast, slow-cooked pork shoulder with polenta, ribeye with potato/beet gratin, and seared scallops with Brussels sprouts and pork belly. A mixed dessert plate for the table concludes the 3-course meal, $50/person.
(2 Perkins Street) The Scots know a thing or two about romance—Scotland's renowned bard Robert Burns practically pioneered the Romantic movement, after all. While the Haven's usual menu is typically heavy on hearty Scottish fare, they've lightened up on the haggis and present an elegant Valentine's Day menu running Feb. 10-17. Baked oysters with curry butter and caviar, or pork belly and apple-cabbage slaw are starter options—seared duck breast with sweet potato spaetle, or oven-roasted bass with cauliflower puree and raisin relish are the main offerings. Order a la carte or as a 3-course package with dessert for $35/person.
(284 Amory Street) Leave it to Bella Luna & the Milky Way to approach Valentine's Day with the same aplomb befitting their legendary New Year's Eve soirees. In other words, it's ON—and expect the dancing and reveling to continue well past midnight. Start the evening with a Prince-inspired "Diamond and Pearls" prix fixe dinner menu (4 courses for $38/person) including, well, what you'd expect a Prince-themed menu to propose; "Little Red Corvette" (baby beet salad with endive and blood oranges), "Purple Rain" (grilled ribeye with Peruvian purple potatoes and purple kale), "When Doves Cry" (pan-roasted duck breast with forbidden rice and parsnips), "Applonia's Apples" (roasted sweet potato and apple ravioli), and "Raspberry Beret" (raspberry Grand Marnier parfait) are the menu's most whimsical standouts. Legendary DJ Bruno will be spinning the sounds of His Royal Badness throughout the night. Purple and lace attire is strongly encouraged. Of course.
(597 Centre Street) Their expectedly indulgent 5-course holiday menu boasts a mushroom pâté amuse bouche, and continues to please the palette with choices of seared foie gras with pickled chanterelles, shrimp bisque with chorizo, ribeye with smoked marrow butter, and scallops with panisse, romesco and mustard greens. Abondance Fermier cow's milk cheese (Rhones-Alpes, France) is the evening's cheese course, and Meyer lemon panna cotta or chocolate truffle cake with blood orange sherbet are the meal's sweet finishing options. $75/person, $35 additional with , Ten Tables' down-to-earth wine buyer.
(3 Green Street, between Centre & Myrtle street) Pastry Chef , proprietor of tiny Blue Frog Bakery (and decidedly one of the nicest business owners in JP), is once again creating his decadent housemade chocolates for the holiday—four pieces for $5, and an elegant heart-shaped box of nine pieces for $15. Four flavors of pâtes de fruits (fruit jelly candies), Parisian macaroons, and almond cookies filled with raspberry ganache are also available. For the more irreverent-minded, the popular and hilarious "Not-So-Happy Valentine's Day" treats—chocolate sandwich cookies filled with chocolate buttercream and decorated with jokey inscriptions such as "bimbo", "I'm easy", and "boy toy"—are available for $2.50/each.
We suggest calling ahead of time to check out complete menu offerings, and to inquire about reservations and availability.