G-SPOT: Restaurant and dining treats to help you sink your fork into Valentine's
By Robyn Johnson
Despite what you might hear from Dean Martin, it's not an empirical fact that everyone loves somebody sometime. It has, however, been proven that everyone needs to eat.
For the people that fit both categories, here's a list of dining opportunities and options for the upcoming grand romantic holiday — organized from expensive (or $$$$, in Yelpspeak) to recession-conscious.
A go-to place for the symphony and opera set, Jardinière talks the talk and walks the walk, serving some of the most highly regarded French-American food in the Bay. The Valentine's menu offers up tasty bits like duck breast with lentils and candied kumquats, frozen lemon soufflé with rose petals and milk chocolate sauce, and a whole host of delectables that guarantee to assuage any doubts about parting company with a few Benjamins.
300 Grove, SF. (415) 861-5555, www.jardiniere.com. $125 prix fixe
In my mind, dining at Supperclub must be like Eyes Wide Shut meets that Eurotrash club I drunkenly walked into while hostelling in Prague meets François Mitterrand's last meal. In other words, an absolutely decadent place. The Valentine's menu and entertainment is a surprise, but management promises an experience not for the "light of heart," as illustrated by the photo on the Web site of two dudes in collars making kissies with a sternly sexy-faced woman.
657 Harrison, SF. (415) 348-0900, www.supperclub.com. $100 prix fixe
Cozy ambience and an expansive California wine selection has made First Crush a date-spot favorite. On the five-course Valentine's menu, you'll find pistachio-crusted wild Hawaiian walu accompanied by goat cheese fondue and globe artichokes braised in barigoule. (In case you're wondering, walu is a fish similar to white tuna, known for its buttery flavor. Barigoule? According to Larousse Gastronomique, it's a fancy method of cooking stuffed and braised artichokes, usually involving pork.) Yum.
101 Cyril Magnin, SF. (415) 982-7874, www.firstcrush.com. $89 prix fixe
According to the Bella Trattoria calendar blog, the Valentine's meal will be a family-style affair during which the "waitstaff will be insistent that you feed each other." Luckily, you can look forward to airplaning with their much-loved and infallible gnocchi, to speak nothing of other highlights such as grilled hanger steak fillet with Sangiovese bone-marrow glaze and mango. When planning your dinner here, keep in mind that the pricing's a bit tricky: From 5 to 6 p.m., the prix fixe menu consists of three courses and costs $45; from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., it's up to five courses and $70; and from 10 to 11 p.m., it's back down to three courses and $50.
3854 Geary, SF. (415) 221-0305, www.bellatrattoriasf.com. $45-$70 prix fixe
Why do we love this tiny Duboce Triangle restaurant so? Might be the red walls, the simple and classic French cuisine, or the neighborhood quaintness. Or that dining here feels like being at a dinner party in Amelie's living room. Perhaps it's simply the rich and savory coq au vin or the tiger prawn raviole, both the height of patron adoration, along with the chocolate banana bread pudding. Or maybe it's that no single dish is more than $20. Parisian romance on a recession budget? Awesome.
151 Noe, SF. (415) 437-2600, www.lardoisesf.com. $15–<\d>$30