If you still haven’t booked a reservation for Valentine’s Day because you were waiting something a little out of the ordinary to come along, this column may have just what you’re looking for.
Before getting down to particulars, I’d like to call your attention to something really unusual, and that’s Valentine’s Day at the Waffle House. No, I’m not talking about some trendy, offbeat pub in the East Village that borrows its name from the restaurant chain with the yellow block-letter signs you see along the interstate. I’m talking about that chain. Fox 5 in Atlanta reports, “200 [Waffle House] restaurants … will be dimming the lights, putting out nice white table cloths, and welcoming couples for a special dinner service.”
Assuming you have your sight set on something a little more — shall we say? — festive than that, let’s get down to business: Who’s up for a Valentine’s Day at the museum? Again, I’m not referring to a trendy bistro named “The Museum,” but the real museum — the Brooklyn Museum, to be exact. The Norm, the museum’s full-service restaurant, will be serving up a three-course Cupid’s Day dinner priced at $50 per person and including a signature cocktail. The menu is inspired by the works of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, whom the museum is currently celebrating with the largest exhibition of her works in the U.S. in more than a decade.
To eat: Open with, perhaps, coctel de camarones garnished with sour orange, avocado, cucumber, and cilantro: unlike any shrimp cocktail you’ve likely experienced. I’ll leave it to you to solve the mystery of pescado escondido, which translates to “hidden dish,” accompanied by achiote, tomato, onion, sweet plantain. Conclude your repast with either tres leches cake and strawberries or Horchata Flan with walnut streusel. The Norm at the Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, 718-230-0897.
Do the Brits celebrate Valentine’s Day? They do at the Upper East Side cozy, seductively candlelit gastropub Jones Wood Foundry. A three-course table d’hôte ranging from $48 to $62 a person begins with beetroot and goat cheese napoleon, accented with rose petal, mache, and hazel. Onto JWF’s lobster ravioli livened with sensual(!) spiced tomato, basil, and fennel. For pudding (which is what the Brits call dessert) tuck into a warm chocolate and kumquat lava cake garnished with passion fruit. Toast each and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, aka Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, with Sussex cocktail, created for the occasion and consisting of Chapel Down British fizz, elderflower, lemon, and thyme. Jones Wood Foundry, 401 E 76th Street, bet First and York Aves, 212-249-2700.