We think our eyes shall never feast/'Pon writing lovely as your press release, we often say to publicists, and it is a pleasure to present to you a bunch of ideas for things to do on Valentine's Day at fine restaurants of every kind. We've sorted them by category and will be doling them out today and tomorrow (when some of them start). We'll begin with the romance of dining at some glitzy place amid the glittering skyscrapers— in other words, where to have a romantic evening downtown. Follow the links in the listings for phone numbers, etc. at MenuPages.
• Sepia has a four-course dinner for $80, plus $55 for optional wine pairings, on Valentine’s Day, starting with oysters, roasted beet and leek soup, or testa carpaccio, and including spice crusted duck, pan-roasted tilefish or sirloin with crispy bone marrow as the entree course.
• The new South Loop stunner Acadia will have an $85 menu with $50 wine pairings on V-Day, featuring a coconut curry lobster veloute, cured Scottish salmon with winter beets, citrus and smoked steelhead roe, and wagyu shortrib with truffle and marshmallow.
• Here’s something we haven’t seen many of: Everest’s Chef Joho is cooking up not only a Tasting Menu but a Vegetarian Tasting Menu, both $145, served Friday, Saturday and Tuesday.
• Pelago near or in the Gold Coast has a six-course “red” tasting menu including red gnocchi with beets, red snapper and strawberry soup. It’s $125 per person.
• 312 Chicago has a special “Menu di San Valentino” of decadent Northern Italian options (where chef Luca Corazzina hails from). It’s $50 per person with $15 wine pairing.
• Atwood Cafe’s Valentine’s Day menu is inspired by the roaring 20s and inlcudes their take on classic dishes such as Oysters Rockefeller, lobster thermidor and tarte tatin. The three-course menu is $48 per person with $20 wine pairing.
• Cafe des Architectes in the Sofitel actually has a room option they call Magnifique Romance, and then Chef Greg Biggers and Pastry Chef Patrick Fahy have created a $79 “Magnifique Degustation” of three courses plus Fahy’s acclaimed desserts.
SINGLES AND LOVERS
• HUB 51 will be serving Love Punch for $6 a glass at its singles “Last Chance For Love” bash on Saturday. Everyone gets a heart tattoo, and if you’re still rocking it the next day, you get 20% off Sunday brunch.
• For singles, Mercadito offers an adult version of the high school game of notepassing (back then it probably didn’t involve tequila, though). Order a tequila shot for someone and the server will pass along your love note. For those already in couples, there will be a five-course sharing menu.
• MK has the raciest menu we’ve seen, calling theirs “a tasting lovers menu or a lovers tasting menu.” It starts with “glorious beets,” then “luscious lobster,” “kinky kobe,” and finally “dark & delicious.” It’s $79 per person, but we really hope you’re not having it alone.
• This is pretty charming: at deca in the Ritz-Carlton, you can start your evening with a class in the kitchen making whoopie pies, then proceed to a four-course romantic dinner in the dining room. (Any further whoopie will be made elsewhere in the hotel.) The classes and dinners are Saturday and Tuesday; classes are $25 for one or $40 for a couple, dinner is $79 per person.
• Okay, it's not downtown, but speaking of classes, Angel Food Bakery offers a Valentine Cookie Workshop on Sunday February 12, from 3:30 to 5:30. You’ll learn things like glazing and piping and leave with a dozen cookies.
DOWNTOWN ON A BUDGET
• Gino’s East (downtown and elsewhere) is serving heart-shaped pies with a portion of the proceeds going to Children’s Memorial Hospital, now through the end of the month.
• Mity Nice Grill has a shareable 1-lb. burger, two beers and fries for $25. We’d call that a test of true love, to see if the sharing thing actually works.