Tasting notes: Valentine edition

Need ideas for how to spend a romantic dinner with your sweetie? We got ’em

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Lots of restaurants are getting in the mood for romance, so you and your sweetie can choose from among these options — and many more:

La Duni — The Oak Lawn and McKinney avenue locations offer a four-course dinner for $50/person that includes a champagne toast. Don’t forget to pre-order a lovey-dovey cupcake. LaDuni.com.

The Mansion on Turtle Creek — A three-course meal, including dessert, runs you $125 on Feb. 14. Make it more romantic by booking a room for the weekend rate. 214-443-4747.

Nana — The Hilton Anatole is doing the same as The Mansion, offering a $99 four-course meal plus the option to book a guest room for as low as $79. 214-761-7470.

The Landmark — The restaurant inside the Warwick Melrose is really keeping it romantic, with a set price per couple. For $150, you can each put together the ideal four-course meal, served Feb. 12 and 14. Call 214-224-3152.

The Grape — The romantic bistro features a la carte choices Friday through Sunday, then a three-course tasting menu for $65/person. 214-828-1981.

Bijoux — Full disclosure: I spent Valentine’s Day here last year, and for good reason: The food is superb, and it really stands up as event dining. For $85/person, chef Scott Gottlich will whip up an exquisite four-course meal that includes lobster bisque, duo of veal and a filet, among other delectables. 214-350-6100.

The Second Floor — Over at Gottlich’s other restaurant, adorable chef J Chastain has something unusual in mind for a holiday dinner: You put it together. Rather than the traditional prix fixe menu, from Feb. 12–14 you can select from a range of popular and romantic items, from $9 to $34, for the ideal custom meal. Call 927-450-2978.

Salum — Chef Abraham Salum has a jazzy menu planned for Feb 14, that includes jazz music from singer Nadia Washington and a complimentary glass of champagne. The three-course meal costs $65. SalumRestaurant.com.

Sprinkles — Those demons at Sprinkles have taunted me again with new flavors, available for Valentine’s. You can choose from a red hot velvet (with spicy cinnamon aroma) or raspberry chocolate chip. Both are available through Feb. 14 in the Preston Center location.

On the heels of Valentine’s is a food and wine showcase to warm the blood. Bonne Sante features chefs including Scott Gottlich, Abraham Salum, Tony Bombaci (Nana), Dean Fearing (Fearing’s), Bruno Davilion (The Mansion) and Blaine Staniford (Grace), as well as several wineries. Individual tickets run $200 and benefit the National Kidney Foundation. It takes place at the Westin Galleria on Feb. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. 214-3512-2393.

Central 214 is instituting a “pick your plate” option, starting Feb. 15. For a flat price of $30, customers can choose one salad or soup, one entrée and one dessert from Blythe Beck’s menu. 214-443-9339.

We blogged recently about John Tesar’s new restaurant in the Cedars, Cedars Social, which officially opened this week. Well, he’s got more on his plate, including The Commissary, which will open in April in the space last occupied by Dali in One Arts Plaza. It will feature burgers, wine on tap and late night meals.

Fin Sushi, from the people responsible for Sushi Axiom on Henderson, has officially opened in the ilume. BEE, Monica Greene’s new enchiladaria, is open in Oak Cliff.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

Strap on the food bag: Beaujolais, Pyles, Dish

This is a foodie kinda season anyway, with Thanksgiving around the corner, but I gotta say, there are almost too many interesting eating opportunities going on this week even for me. Here are a few:

Beaujolais Festival. The French-American Chamber of Commerce for DFW hosts this event every year, on the Friday after the third Thursday in November — traditionally, the day in France when the beaujolais nouveau is first released. It’s a fun, huge event (back at the World Trade Center this year) that offers up not only 2010 beaujolais but some vintage French wines as well as some Texas-grown grape. It starts Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. and tickets are $60 at the door. Visit FACCDallas.com for info.

Stephan Pyles 5th Anniversary Festival. Pyles has been full of celebrations this week: On Tuesday his Samar cheered its naming by Esquire as one of the top 10 new restaurants in America (they didn’t hold a similar part last December, when it made my top 5, but let’s not linger). Now on Sunday, he’ll toast the fall harvest with live music, cooking demonstrations and of course food and drink. It’s Nov. 21 from 4 to 8 p.m.; the cost is $50. Visit StephanPyles.com for tickets.

Dish dinner and benefit. You can get a great meal for a good price ($45/$65 with wine pairings) and do something wonderful for the community on Wednesday — Thanksgiving Eve. Just stop by the ilume restaurant from 6 to 9 and order the special thee-course dinner and the restaurant will donate a week’s worth of groceries to a client of Resource Center Dallas for each dinner served. I mean think about that for a sec: You eat one meal, you feed someone else for a week. The dinner includes such options as mushroom risotto, herb roasted tenderloin and pecan brownie. Call 214-522-DISH to make a reservation.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones