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Make a Date With Your Valentine at One of These Next-Level NJ Restaurants

These restos have specially curated prix-fixe menus to celebrate with your sweetie.


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All photos courtesy of respective restaurants 
 

When was the last time you actually did something special for Valentine’s Day with your honey? Here’s the thing: A nice dinner never gets old, especially at one the super acclaimed restaurants we’ve rounded up here. Call ASAP for a rezzy since they fill up quickly. Prices listed below for prix-fixe V-Day menus don’t include tax and gratuity.

Agricola Eatery

11 Witherspoon St., Princeton
609-921-2798, Feb. 14
3-course prix fixe, $60/ea.

If farm-to-table is your thing, it doesn’t get fresher or more local than Agricola. Know your meal is as seasonal and sustainable as can be, thanks to the restaurant-owned Great Road Farm in Skillman. Start with potato leek soup with caviar, organic kale salad with a poached egg and pumpkin seeds or Fulper Farms ricotta gnocchi with lamb, arugula and leek. Try the rabbit confit for your main, served with cavatelli, woodear mushroom, black garlic and cocoa nibs. Vegetarian? Go for the local winter squashes with wild rice, lentils, pomegranate and pecans. Finish the evening with cheesecake parfait with gingerbread crisp and rum caramel.

Avenue

23 Ocean Ave., Long Branch
732-759-2900, Feb. 14
Four-course prix fixe, $42/ea.

While this upscale French bistro on the beach is open year-round, many come out to hang at its beach club, nightclub and bar open in warmer weather. Tease your senses with gougeres with truffled cream, then an appetizer of your choice. Opt for the seared sea scallop with sea beans, blood orange and pickled jalapeno, or splurge on the foie gras. Main course options range from branzino cassoulet with kale and duck confit to lobster ravioli with creole lobster beurre blanc. And then there’s a lover’s sampler of dessert to cap off the night: a chocolate truffle taste, white chocolate passionfruit panna cotta and petit strawberry shortcake.

Bernards Inn

27 Mine Brook Rd., Bernardsville
908-766-0002, Feb. 14
3-course prix-fixe, $119/ea; Silver Vault 7-course tasting dinner $380/couple

This boutique historic hotel not only boasts a great restaurant, but tons of getaway packages for two. Start with a fresh app like salt-roasted beets, Spanish octopus or beausoleil oysters. Entrees range from pheasant with butternut squash and tomatillo to cervena venison with red cabbage and chestnuts to crab cavatelli with asparagus and madras curry. If you go all out and try the 7-course tasting menu, Executive Chef Todd Mark Miller will choose for you. Feel pampered from the dungeness crab salad with ginger and green melon to the surf and turf to the vanilla creme brulee and champagne-soaked strawberries.

The Brother’s Moon

7 W. Broad St., Hopewell
609-333-1330, Feb. 14
Five-course prix fixe Aphrodisiac XVII menu, $82/ea.

This was one of the first spots to promote farm to table and farm to fork dining, so you know the fare is seasonal and fresh. Mussels with saffron cream, asparagus and red onion will leave you with plenty of room for four more courses. Choose between grilled asparagus with red-wine prosciutto, shaved parmesan and red pepper vinaigrette or lobster bisque with rosemary roasted butternut squash and crab claw salad. Follow up with roasted scallops or farfalle, then mushroom-braids beef short rib with polenta and tomato jam, salmon stuffed with capers and sun-dried tomato or rosemary roast chicken. Finish the night with a sampler that has everything from honey ice cream to lemon coconut cheesecake dip.

Cafe Matisse

167 Park Ave., Rutherford
201-935-2995, Feb. 14
Four-course prix-fixe, $110/ea.

An artsy spot named after Henri Matisse, this upscale resto that’s all about the tasting menu was once a horse and buggy firehouse. Choose between pan-seared scallop and panko-crusted fried artichoke to start, then indulge in spicy panko-crusted crab cake with cheddar glazed shrimp, grilled corn relish, short rib chili and fried onion strips or imported burrata cheese-salted beet tartare with maple pepper-glazed apples. For your main, keep it light(er) with crispy halibut with honey cumin baby carrots, French onion creme and caviar lemon aioli, or go heavy with peppered Piedmontese grass-fed flat iron steak, complete with gorgonzola mousse and ancho chili red onion jam. Treat your sweet tooth with vanilla cheesecake with sour cherry marmalade or a brownie with peanut butter banana creme.

Photo courtesy of Yelper David L.
 

City Perch

2023 Hudson St., Fort Lee
201-582-7101; Feb. 9-14
3-course prix fixe, $60/ea.

This resto is the concept of Chef Sherry Yard, a three-time James Beard Award winner (you might recognize her from Food Network), and is just downstairs from the super lux iPic movie theater, where you can sip in signature cocktails and apps during the film. During V-Day week, start with potato aligot popovers with osetra caviar, or perhaps beet cured smoked salmon instead. Filet mignon and lobster make for a serious treat-yourself entree. Savor grilled petit filet, butter-poached lobster tail with crisping fingerling potatoes and a truffle bearnaise. And make sure to leave room for dessert: infinity cake with raspberry sauce, fresh berries and whipped creme fraiche not to mention “a hug of chocolate” consisting of truffles, cookies and candies. Splurge on special Piper-Heidsieck champagne pairings.

Delta’s

19 Dennis St., New Brunswick
732-249-1551, Feb. 14
Three-course prix fixe, $58.95 or $61.95/ea. with the short rib entree

Live entertainment is huge here, from comedy to live band karaoke to jazz nights. This spot is all about comfort and soul food. Start off with gumbo, collard green dip, cajun calamari or catfish fingers for authentic signature flavors. Fill up on special V-Day menu items like pecan and cornbread-crusted salmon with wild rice and wilted garlic spinach, or beef short ribs with mashed cauliflower and roasted brussels sprouts. Choose from sides like candied yams, baked mac and cheese and black-eyed peas with rice. And trust us, you’ll want to make space for the Lover’s Lane banana-strawberry pudding.

Dog and Cask

55 Rte. 17 S., Rochelle Park
201-845-5101, Feb. 14
Four-course prix fixe, $45/ea., including champagne toast

Calling all craft beer nerds: you’ll be all about what’s on tap at this spot. Your super-intimate meal starts off with Ahi tuna tartare with roasted garlic and nori puree, Maryland crab cakes with honey/chive oil and dijon aioli, foie gras mousse with baguette and spiced apple-berry compote or warm wild mushrooms with goat cheese and sherry gastrique. After your salad, try the  8 oz. filet with whipped potatoes in a caramelized shallot demi glace, seared red snapper over wild rice, crab-stuffed shrimp with creamy orzo or butternut squash risotto with pecans, craisins and gremolata. Get your sugar fix with cinnamon sugar bread pudding, molten chocolate cake, blackberry clafoutis or berries and cream.

The Frog and the Peach

29 Dennis St. at Hiram Sq., New Brunswick
732-846-3216, Feb. 14
Three-course prix-fixe, $88/ea., $40 wine pairing

Any Scarlet Knights in the house? This upscale New Brunswick fave  was founded by two Rutgers grads. Start off with a complex amuse, chilled wild Carolina shrimp with pumpkin seed sauce and tortilla crumble, then move onto apps like cream of parsnip and leek soup, black truffle ricotta gnocchi and stuffed crimini mushrooms. Follow up with dayboat cod with snow cap beans and smoked pork, braised grass-fed lamb shank with grilled eggplant puree or pan-roasted chicken breast with mushroom farrotto, blistered shishito peppers and smoked soy molasses. For dessert, keep it classic (valrhona chocolate molten cake), bold (poppy seed financier with apple butter and spiced meringue) or light (trio of rose’, strawberry mint and blood orange sorbets).

Grain House Restaurant at the Olde Mill Inn

225 Rte. 202, Basking Ridge
908-221-1150, Feb. 14
Four-course prix-fixe, $68/ea.

This restaurant has a ton of history--it’s been around since the 18th century. Try  a range of flavors with a diverse selection of appetizers like crab cake with fried green tomato, pineapple bacon salsa and chipotle aioli, warm baby brie with sea salted caramel apples, pistachio, apple blossoms and thyme or applewood bacon beignets with maple chive creme fraiche. Choose between Caesar salad with brioche croutons and the winter harvest salad with pear, cranberries, butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, feta and maple vinaigrette. Beef up your meal with an 8 oz. prime filet with porcini demi glace and grilled asparagus, chicken out with cider-brined Griggstown chicken with brussel sprouts, cranberry, fennel and walnuts or keep it veg with homemade beet ravioli complete with sweet potato, pecans, endive and roquefort sauce. For dessert: Go for flourless chocolate cake with 63 percent dark chocolate, ganache and strawberries, Oreo-crust cheesecake with sea salt and caramel or deep dish pecan pie with white chocolate gelato.

Haven

2 Main St., Edgewater
201-943-1900, Feb. 14
3-course prix fixe, $85/ea.

Boasting New York City views, Haven is known for its contemporary American fare by Chef Ibrahim Sanz. Start the night with an around-the-world aphrodisiac of Atlantic, Pacific and kumamoto oysters, or try the pan-seared sea scallops with chorizo, potato foam, salsa verde and paprika. Follow up with rosemary crusted filet mignon with red bliss potatoes, champagne scampi sauce and shrimp, or the seafood risotto with heirloom black rice, lobster, shrimp, scallops, octopus, Atlantic cod and sweetie drop peppers. Leave room for a  decadent chocolate croissant bread pudding, complete with vanilla sabayon and Kentucky bourbon sauce.

Stone House

50 Stirling Rd., Warren
908-754-1222, Feb. 14
Four-course prix-fixe, $95/ea.

This spot has the same owners as Liberty House Restaurant (Jersey City), votes best date night spot by our readers, Ryland Inn (Whitehouse Station) and Hotel du Village (New Hope, PA). Start your meal with a  red pear salad, chicken liver toast or black bass crudo with smoked trout roe. Move on to goat cheese ravioli with pickled red beets and dill sauce or red wine braised short rib and rigatoni, before deciding on an entree like pork osso bucco or rare tuna steak. As for dessert, it’s all about red. Savor red velvet ice cream with a matching crouton, red creme brulee or molten chocolate cake with red sauce and berries.

Whispers

200 Monmouth Ave., Spring Lake
732-974-9755, Feb. 14
Three-course prix-fixe, $79/ea., 20 percent tip required

Seafood is the star of this V-Day menu. Take in lobster bisque with lobster meat and brandy cream, grilled ancho jump shrimp with lemon basil aioli or yellowfin tuna encrusted with black pepper and topped with wasabi drizzle as an appetizer. Follow up with seared salmon fillet over couscous, black sea bass roasted with baby zucchini, squash and potatoes in champagne cream sauce or a 1 ½-pound lobster with crab cake, spinach, mashed potato and saffron beurre blanc. For dessert, enjoy everything from chocolate ganache cake to apple bread pudding to fig and walnut gelato.

 

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