When was the last time you actually went out for Valentine’s Day dinner? Here’s the thing: A nice meal never gets old, especially at one of these restaurants that have crafted special prix-fixe menus just for the occasion. Call ASAP to reserve. Prices listed below for prix-fixe V-Day menus don’t include tax and gratuity.
1 Alstede Farms Ln., Chester
908-879-7189, February 14
Four-course prix fixe, $40
Have a charming, rustic Valentine’s Day dinner on the farm grounds starting with fondue and a salad demo. Afterwards, dig into a main course and dessert. Add a wine tasting to your meal courtesy of Tomasello Winery, too.
23 Ocean Ave., Long Branch
732-759-2900, February 14
Four-course prix fixe, $50
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 a lump crab and avocado creme starter, then an appetizer of goat cheese-filled beets and port ravioli or steak tartare. Opt for the Barnegat sea scallops with sea beans, chowder foam and cockles, Berkshire pork chop with apple raisin compote or branzino with cauliflower, grapes and hazelnuts. Cap off the night with the lover’s sampler: chocolate gateau, lemon curd tart and pistachio coconut cake.
502 Washington Blvd., Jersey City
201-798-1798, February 14
Three-course prix fixe, $95
Take in views of the Hudson while listening to live acoustic covers and savoring an Instaworthy meal. This resto specializes in seafood, so the East Coast Oyster with horseradish crema and the red snapper crudo with asian pear and brown butter are sure to please. For your entree, try dry aged strip steak with sunchokes and swiss chard, duck with black butter parsnip puree or prawn scampi. For dessert, savor strawberry shortcake with white chocolate strawberry mousse and balsamic reduction or limoncello sorbet. Splurge on a $30 wine pairing, or go all out and sip reserve vino pairings for $50. Valet is complimentary for the night.
27 Mine Brook Rd., Bernardsville
908-766-0002, February 14
3-course prix-fixe, $85
This boutique historic hotel not only boasts a great restaurant, but tons of getaway packages for two. Start with a fresh app like shaved heirloom apple salad or butter poached lobster with honeynut squash. Entrees range from day boat scallops to veal short rib with parisian gnocchi to Scottish steelhead trout. Feel pampered at dessert with vanilla rosa panna cotta, lemon cheesecake with brown butter shortbread or passion fruit and almond sable with white chocolate and kumquats.
167 Park Ave., Rutherford
201-935-2995, February 14
Four-course prix-fixe, $115
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 scallops and toasted flatbread with Taleggio cheese and other charcuterie to start. Then, indulge in spicy panko-crusted crab cake with cheddar glazed shrimp or pan seared peppered sirloin with wild mushroom risotto. For your main, savor shrimp, scallops, mussels and fried calamari with tomato jus and gnocchi, or splurge on pan seared venison loin and foie gras. Treat your sweet tooth to cherry vanilla cheesecake or a brownie.
2023 Hudson St., Fort Lee
201-582-7101; February 14-16
3-course prix fixe, $90/couple
This resto is the concept of Chef Sherry Yard, a James Beard Award winning chef (you might recognize her from Food Network), and is just downstairs from the super lux iPic movie theater, where you can savor signature cocktails and apps during a film. Start with crispy Brussels sprouts in miso-tahini dressing, tuna crudo with tempura avocado or blue crab salad in meyer lemon brown butter vinaigrette. For your main, keep it lighter with herb roasted chicken with charred cauliflower or grilled miso-honey salmon, or treat yourself to crispy roast duck or filet mignon and butter-poached lobster. Make room for desserts like deep dark chocolate donuts, black berry blueberry pot pie or lemon icebox cake with elderflower pound cake, plus a flute of Piper-Heidsieck champagne.
19 Dennis St., New Brunswick
732-249-1551, February 14-15
Three-course prix fixe plus a bottle of Prosecco or Cabernet, $85/couple
Live entertainment is huge here, from comedy to jazz nights. This spot is all about comfort and soul food. Best part? Every Friday and Saturday night is Date Night. Get two apps, two entrees, dessert and a bottle of vino. Start with Southern specialties like fried alligator (seasonal), peach BBQ ribs or collard green dip. For your main, try bourbon oxtail, pecan and cornbread crusted salmon or herb roasted chicken on a sweet potato waffle. Share dessert and toast to an evening well spent.
201 16th St., Union City
201-590-8355, February 14
Three-course prix fixe, $49
This spot is BYOB and uses locally-harvested ingredients to craft casual modern American food. Start with pork dumplings, bluefin tuna crudo or spaghetti squash in coconut milk. Fill up on beet pasta with ricotta, pan roasted scallops with curry and root veggies or braised lamb with sides of leeks and creamy polenta. End with sweets like red velvet cake, poached pears with honey comb and creme anglaise or churros with chocolate and caramel.
19 Valley St., South Orange
973-419-6773, February 14
Four-course prix-fixe, $65
This romantic Valentine’s Day dinner boasts live jazz and next-level eats. Optional $35 wine pairing available. Start lite with bibb lettuce salad with red wine vinaigrette or steamed mussels and focaccia. For the pasta course, choose between butternut squash gnocchi in brown butter chili sauce or crab ravioli with jalapeño aioli. Mains range from pork shank ossobucco to arctic char with parsnip chowder and prime ribeye for two. Finish the night with flourless chocolate cake or a sampler of petit fours including yuzu curd cream puffs and mini caramel tart.
225 River St., Hoboken
201-253-2500; February 14-15
Four-course prix fixe, $84
Feel the romance on the Hoboken waterfront while savoring the chef’s four-course tasting menu. Start with fresh king crab and white sturgeon caviar over warm custard, followed by savory NJ duck terrine and goat cheese agnolotti. For your main, choose between filet of beef with mushroom puree and black sea bass in a Maine mussels cream. Dessert stars a lemon chocolate chiffon cake with strawberry mousse. There’s also a vegetarian menu if you or your dinner date don’t eat meat. Splurge on the sommelier’s wine pairings for an additional $34.
777 Harrah’s Blvd., Atlantic City
609-441-5000, February 14
Prices and offerings vary by restaurant
There are tons of dining opportunities for Valentine’s Day dinner at this oceanside casino and hotel. Head to Gordon Ramsay Steak for a three-course prix fixe starring a 45-day aged New York Strip, Scottish salmon and Griggstown Farm chicken ($176/couple). Snag a table at Martorano’s instead for entrees like seafood ravioli, lamb chop and Surf and Turf with a half-lobster and filet mignon ($160/couple, includes two glasses of La Marca Prosecco). Head to Veracruz for pan roasted sea scallops, roasted honey lime salmon or blue cheese NY strip ($49/person), or Coastal Craft for a four-course prix fixe with highlights like veal osso buco and Chilean sea bass ($50/person).
2 Main St., Ste. G, Edgewater
201-943-1900, February 14-15
3-course prix fixe, $85
Boasting New York City views, Haven is known for its contemporary American fare. Start the night with the pan-seared sea scallops with chorizo, potato foam, salsa verde and paprika, or burrata and heirloom tomato salad with arugula and medjool dates. Follow up with a steak seasoned with the house eight-spice rub and served with heirloom baby carrots and cherry tomatoes, or the famous seafood risotto with heirloom black rice, lobster, shrimp, scallops, octopus, Atlantic cod and sweety drop peppers. Leave room for a savory creme caramel flan served with Tahitian vanilla cream, Bavarian milk chocolate mousse with sticky toffee caramel or the dessert tasting for two, complete with white chocolate cheesecake, caramel apple tartlets, hazelnut chocolate mousse and key lime pie.
500 Jersey Ave., Jersey City
201-721-6115, February 14
Five-course prix-fixe, $85
This stunning bistro is located in the Historic Van Vorst District of JC, and offers modern American eats, plus next-level drinks. Start with stuffed mushrooms or oyster caviar in vodka tarragon mignonette. Savor silky bucatini with house bacon and leeks in bechamel or torchio pasta with mushroom bolognese. Vegetarians will love the sweet potato “steak” with toasted quinoa and chestnut puree, while meat eaters can opt for dry aged strip steak or grilled sea bass. End the night with chocolate mousse, rum cake with coconut caramel or a cheese plate complete with apple butter and whole grain mustard. Sip on couples cocktails ($12/each) or wine pairings ($45) while you eat.
149 Polito Ave., Lyndhurst
888-935-6878, February 3-17
Take your honey back to 11th-century Spain for Valentine’s Day dinner and a show. This package includes tickets to the show, which runs the gamut from falconry to jousting, two champagne flutes, a framed photo and a light-up rose. Dinner includes tomato bisque, roast chicken, corn, garlic bread, herb potatoes and a house dessert.
225 Rte. 202, Basking Ridge
908-221-1150, February 14-15
Four-course prix-fixe, $64/ea.
This restaurant has a ton of history—it’s been around since the 18th century. Savor classic apps like shrimp cocktail or lobster bisque, go light with farro and veggies or indulge in hearty short rib beignets. For the second course, try roasted red beets with crispy goat cheese and honey-glazed almonds or the organic winter hearts salad with pumpkin seeds, pear and feta. Mains include New Zealand rack of lamb with ratatouille and fingerling potatoes, blackened steak with apple bacon fritters and local halibut with leek and bacon risotto. Sweets run the gamut from bourbon vanilla cheesecake to lemon tart with raspberry sorbet to honey crisp apple pie with butter pecan gelato.
1200 Morris Tpke., Short Hills
862-309-9210, February 14
A la carte
NJ eaters know a thing or two about fresh Italian food. This spot will impress, from the handmade pasta and gourmet pizza laboratory to the massive wine selection and authentic baked goods. Hit The Mall at Short Hills for Valentine’s Day dinner dishes like seared scallops and cauliflower puree, lobster risotto, tomatoes with pesto and bufala mozzarella, orange glazed duck with romanesco broccoli and ricotta spinach ravioli in truffle mushroom sauce. End the night with sweets like passion fruit panna cotta or strawberry mouse with hazelnut praline.
84 Audrey Zapp Dr., Jersey City
201-413-0050, February 14-15
Three-course prix-fixe, $85
Nothing beats the views at this waterfront restaurant and event venue. Appetizer options include brussel sprout leaf salad with pistachio vinaigrette, potato leek soup with truffle oil and chive puree and oysters with smoked salmon and dill. Seafood fans can’t go wrong with the red snapper in chorizo sauce with braised leeks, or the sea scallops with celery root puree, while meat lovers will love the muscovy duck with rye risotto and ginger gastrique or ribeye in bordelaise with fingerling potatoes. Round out the meal with neapolitan cake with burnt honey ice cream, orange pavlova or blood orange granita. Wine pairing available for $45/each.
70 Kingsland Rd., Clifton
973-661-2435, February 7-16
Five-course prix-fixe, $50/ea.
Couples love this spot for its small plates and modern Italian fare. The meal starts with torched salmon crudo in a blood orange ginger vinaigrette, then grilled romaine with Caesar, cheese and a poached egg. Warm up with savory lobster ravioli in a saffron cream and beef tenderloin in a Chianti reduction with buttered leeks and Gorgonzola polenta. End the night with a semisweet chocolate ganache topped with whipped cream, sea salt and Amarena Toschi cherries. Spend an extra $25/person to add wine pairings to your meal.
50 Stirling Rd., Warren
908-754-1222, February 14
Three-course prix-fixe, $70/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 grilled octopus with smoked paprika aioli, burrata with delicata squash or crab crostini on grilled sourdough. Move on to mains like agnolotti in sweet potato cream with fried sage and pecan crumble, braised short rib over polenta or East Coast halibut in herb beurre blanc. Save room for decadent desserts like three cheese cheesecake with a cranberry reduction, chocolate marquise cake a la mode or red poached bosc pear with star anise ice cream. Celebrate at Stone House early on February 6 at a V-Day Love Potions cocktail class.
200 Monmouth Ave., Spring Lake
732-974-9755, February 14
Three-course prix-fixe, $85/ea., 20 percent gratuity
Seafood is the star of this Valentine’s Day dinner menu. Take in lobster bisque with creme fraiche, grilled ancho jumbo shrimp with lemon basil aioli or crab cakes with chickpeas and roasted peppers as an appetizer. Follow up with seared salmon in dill cream sauce over potatoes, red snapper with cauliflower and a white wine caper sauce or a 1 ½-pound lobster in an egg roll basket over crab cake, spinach, mashed potatoes and saffron beurre blanc. For dessert, treat yourself to chocolate ganache cake, French toast bread pudding, blackberry peach tart or fig and walnut gelato.
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