Ah, Valentine’s Day. The day of expensive chocolates, hallmark cards, and high expectations (oh yeah, and love). If you’ll be spending the evening out and about in New York, you have endless options for a fun and fancy night. And while there are no shortage of pricey options, there are also plenty of choices for a romantic meal on any budget. Check out our picks for the best prix-fixe “bang” for your buck this Valentine’s Day (get it?). Whether you’re on a budget or not, we’ve got some great suggestions for the most romantic meal of the year. And if you save a few pennies in the process, even better –you’ll need them for beer and whiskey come St. Patrick’s day.
Located in Harlem, The Cecil offers a menu of Afro/Asian/American fusion cuisine, utilizing the best of each culinary culture. They expertly incorporate African spices with traditional Asian dishes in a way distinct to the American melting-pot culture. Their Valentine’s Day prix-fixe, which they’ve appropriately named the “Aphrodisiac Menu,” is decently priced at $65 ($100 with wine pairings) and includes a three-course menu of butter-poached lobster, duck breast, and Nyagbo chocolate. Best of all, you can make your own Valentines at your table! This is a great choice for that rare couple who wants both a romantic night out with remarkable cuisine, but is also really under a time crunch to make enough Valentines for their whole second grade class. But seriously, it’s an adorable idea –food and fun!
If you’re looking to shell out some serious buckage, but also want to know you’re getting your money’s worth –check out Del Posto. With opulent surroundings, refined Italian menu, and awards as far as the eye can see, Del Posto is a great place to bring someone special if you’re seriously trying to impress. But here’s where the “bang for your buck” comes in –the five course menu clocks in at $245 per person. However, for $295, you get eight courses. It’s basically the luxury equivalent of super-sizing. So go ahead, size up.
Who says Valentine’s Day is only for couples? Why not stick it to Cupid this year and enjoy a night out with friends. If you’re looking for a fun 14th with a group, Momofuku Ssam Bar is the way to go. For parties of four or more, they offer a five-course family-style menu for $75-85 a head (depending on your choice of whole rotisserie duck, bossam, or rib eye). For smaller groups (Don’t worry, that includes couples; Momofuku isn’t totally anti V day), they offer a six-course tasting menu for $75. They also offer optional beverage pairings for $55 and $75.
If you’re planning to spend your evening in Brooklyn, check out MyMoon. The space is a fun mix of urban and rustic decor, giving the place a modern look with cool vintage elements. A popular spot for weddings, they must know how to do food and romance right. Right? Their Valentine’s Day menu features an extensive list of tantalizing tapas for $65.
Not only known for its vast array of cheeses, Artisanal boasts a fabulous menu of French bistro cuisine along with craft beer and dessert wine. As impressive as their menu usually is, they are really pulling out all the stops for Valentine’s Day. Not only will they be serving up an $88 prix-fixe menu with selections such as Foie Gras Parfait with Duck Maigre Salad & Homemade Brioche, Wagyu Beef Ribeye, and Marscapone Tart with Basil Sauce; they will also be hosting an after-dinner party with dancing and specialty cocktails. There have also been rumors of something like 3,000 balloons decorating the place. All in all, it sounds like an evening well worth the price tag.
If you try any of these top-notch prix-fixe, let us know. We’d love to hear what you thought!
Lauren is a New York based actor/singer/writer. She is a graduate of the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University as well as the College of the Holy Cross. She’s a fan of beer, pasta, and academic establishments with unnecessarily long titles. Find her on stage, or online– she’s there often.