There’s something to be said for shelling out $100 plus per person for luxury ingredients and romance, but sometimes it’s better to just eat at home, for a number of reasons. A) It’s cost-effective and the economy sucks. B) You can control the setting and light as many candles and roses as you’d like. C) It’s a shorter distance to lead your date from the dinner table into bed. However, cooking a huge, impressive meal…well that could just be a disaster.
Instead of messing up your kitchen, make a few strategic stops and let New York’s restaurants do the heavy lifting this year. If your date digs panini, why not go the extra step and pick up a few from their favorite shop. Then top it off with a killer dessert, and maybe a well-curated glass of wine or two.
If this sounds like another big project, don’t worry. We’ve taken the guesswork out of creating a memorable meal. Whether it’s an Italian feast or Chinese dinner, we have a plan to help you out in this two-part VDay series. Just pick the feast of your choice, then hold your breath for tomorrow’s follow-up: beverage pairings hand-picked by a series of special guest wine aficionados, including L’Artusi’s Joe Campanale and Noble Media’s Jonathan Cristaldi.
Little Italy Amore:
Nothing says romance like a Lady and the Tramp-style spaghetti and meatballs meal. Now throw in some cured meats and Parm’s killer chicken francese and you’ve got yourself a table full of date-worthy food. Seal the deal with Ferraro’s cannoli.
Chinatown Chow Down:
This wallet-friendly menu steers clear of pomp and circumstance, favoring big flavors. At just 85 cents per pop, Mei Li Wah’s pork buns are clearly one of the best deals in the city. Turn the heat up with some spicy cumin lamb topped noodles, then bring it back down with a scoop of not-too-sweet ice cream.
Appetizer: Mei Li Wah pork buns
Entree: Hand-pulled noodles with cumin lamb from Xi’an Famous Foods
Dessert: Peanut butter-sesame, green tea, black sesame ice cream from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
Brooklyn BBQ Bounty:
Perhaps licking the barbecue sauce off your lover’s fingers makes your heart pitter-patter. Or maybe you just love meat. Either way, this Brooklyn menu goes down and dirty starting with a mac that’s studded with chunks of bacon and ending with a sweet peanut butter-chocolate concoction.
App: The Brooklyn Star Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Entree: Fette Sau BBQ with Burnt End Beans and German Potato Salad
Dessert: Pies N Thighs Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Pie
Midtown Japanese Meal:
Pair this meal with a gift of fancy chopsticks and you’ll be one step closer to the perfect Valentine’s day. It’s best to pick up your cake before heading to Katsuhama for perfectly fried pork cutlets and on to Yasuda.
App: Sashimi from Sushi Yasuda
Entree: Pork katsu from Katsuhama
Dessert: Green tea mille fueille from Lady M Cake Boutique
Greek Platters on the Upper West Side:
Sit down on the floor and eat with your hands for a fun Feb. 14 that takes all of the pressure off. Dig into some hummus before moving onto Kefi’s “souvlaki party” — Chicken Souvlaki, Vegetarian Souvlaki, Pork Souvlaki, Chips and Greek Salad, Tzatziki and Pita. Then top it off by feeding each other the gooey-est chocolate chips Manhattan has to offer.