Many restaurants embrace Valentine’s Day as the ultimate couples’ night out, but some have developed strategies to draw solo guests to celebrate their freedom, mingle with other singles or revel in ironic self-pity.
While couples are eating in the dining room at The Daily Dish in Silver Spring, Md., its bar will serve anti-Valentine's specials. Cocktail offerings include a Bitter Betty Martini, made with local vodka, dry vermouth, orange bitters and an orange peel, and Love on the Rocks, with orange liqueur, lime juice, cranberry juice, bitters and raspberry syrup.
Dinner options include blood sausage with blood orange mustard sauce, served with “a very sharp knife;” a bitter greens salad of radicchio and watercress with blood orange vinaigrette; an anti-date plate of pickles with garlic cloves and onions; and a platter of stinky cheeses — Camembert, Limburger and Stilton — with dried cherries, apricots, baguettes and black sesame rice crackers.
Sugar Factory American Brasserie at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas is offering a similarly breath-destroying “I Love You … Me Neither” meal for $40, starting with garlic soup. That’s followed with a “Bleeding Heart,” arancini with a smoked salt beet gelée. The entrée, called The Separation, is cider-braised beef short ribs with grilled prawn, candied fennel and a crispy potato web.
Dessert is a “cold hearted” vanilla semifreddo with pistachio butter and burnt cherry compote.
Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen in San Francisco is celebrating its second annual anti-Valentine’s Day with two special cocktails. Dancing with the Devil is made with tequila, rum, hibiscus water, lime juice, Falernum and bitters, and Ron Burgundy has spiced pear vodka, Licor 43, hibiscus water, lime, bitters and soda.
The restaurant is also offering a $35 dinner-for-one: a grilled cheese sandwich, truffle fries and a bottle of sparkling wine, and will screen the popular Quentin Tarantino revenge film, Kill Bill.
Bookstore Bar in Seattle is serving dishes such as That Snake — a rattlesnake empanada with chipotle ketchup and lime crème fraîche; Revenge, comprised of two risotto balls served with roasted garlicky aïoli; and Satisfaction, a flourless dark chocolate cake with blackberry sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Burger chain Red Robin is bringing back its Girls’ Night Out celebration for Feb. 14. Special one-night-only offerings include a Gooey Chocolate Brownie Cake with hot fudge, vanilla ice cream and sweet strawberries for $1.99 with the purchase of a burger, entrée or salad. The casual-dining chain is also offering a 50-percent discount on wine bottles.
Five-unit Del Frisco’s Grille is trying to pair up singles on Feb. 14 with its $8 pair of Call Me Maybe shots, which combine equal parts whiskey and peach schnapps shaken with two parts cranberry juice. Guests are instructed to order the shots for themselves and someone else who has caught their attention.
The Pierre, a Taj Hotel in new York City, has turned its Two E Bar/Lounge into a singles bar with live jazz and guest author Laurie Davis, author of Love at First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating, and her “Tweetheart,” Thomas Edwards Jr., whom she met online. Guests could win a free online dating makeover.
Pilsener Haus & Biergarten in Hoboken, N.J., is also trying it hand at matchmaking on Feb. 14. Each guest is given half a playing card, and if he or she finds the other half the pair gets two complimentary beers. If that doesn’t work out they can sit at a communal table and meet others.
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