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Dine Newport Beach

Tasting Notes Blog

February 12, 2014

Valentine’s Day Menus

Valentine’s Day is the busiest day of the year for most restaurants, and also the day filled with the most pressure. Expectation are high for diners, who are looking for that perfect romantic evening, and for restaurateurs, who do everything they can do deliver on that expectation.

With so many Newport Beach restaurants offering Valentine’s Day menus it’s impossible to include them all, so here’s a sampling of some of the restaurants that are ready to offer a memorable dining experience:

The Resort at Pelican Hill
One of the most romantic locations in the OC is The Resort at Pelican Hill, which have won several accolades for its décor, architecture, and cuisine.

The Resort offers a handful of exceptional Valentine’s dining experiences, starting with Dinner of the Senses, an intimate and sensual dining experience that stimulates each of the five senses of sight, touch, taste, scent and sound. The seven-course menu for two features “his and hers” selections. Served in a private poolside cabana, each course is eaten by hand without the use of utensils, tapping into the desire to nourish one another and share cherished moments together. Customized music, flowers and décor are available upon request. The menu includes American caviar with fingerling potatoes and crème fraiche, truffled wild mushroom ragu in a puff pastry, fanny bay oyster, lobster bisque, endive and apple salad, chicken satay, lamb chop lollipop, and lemon berry roll. Cost is $170 per person, or $220 per person with wine pairings.

The Resort at Pelican Hill’s Andrea Ristorante presents a special Italian lovers’ menu, offering four courses with “his and hers” choices. Recognized as one of America’s Top 10 Most Romantic Restaurants by GAYOT, Andrea offers a casually elegant ambiance, heated ocean-view terrace, live guitarist and exquisite selection of Italian wines. Menu options include Wagyu beef carpaccio, chestnut gnocchi, risotto with lobster, arugula tagliolini with duck ragu, New Zealand snapper, and veal tenderloin. $120 per person, or $180 per person with wine pairings. Also served Feb. 15.

Valentine’s Day dining at Pelican Grill features a special three-course menu for two, with selections designed for him and for her. Spend an evening or afternoon on the ocean-view terrace, near the dining room fireplace or adjacent to the open-display kitchen, while tasting the best of quintessential California cuisine and wine. The menu includes sea urchin custard with caviar and champagne foam, Alaskan king crab ravioli, butternut squash gnocchi, poached main lobster, and beef wellington. $110 per person, or $150 per person with wine pairings (prices exclude tax and service charge). Also Feb. 15.

Valentine’s Day dining at Coliseum Pool & Grill features a three-course dinner menu highlighting Mediterranean cuisine. Dine amidst architectural splendor reminiscent of Italy’s iconic Coliseum, yet overlooking endless Pacific Ocean views and one of the world’s largest circular pools. Menu options include smoked trout, lobster bisque, grilled sturgeon with caviar cream sauce, jidori chicken, and filet of beef. $100 per person, or $130 per person with wine pairings.
Visit PelicanHill.com.

Lark Creek Newport Beach
Lark Creek Newport Beach celebrates Valentine’s Day in true couple’s fashion with a four-course prix fixe menu priced at $110 for two. Diners will delight in a dozen oysters on the half shell with horseradish granite; Dungeness crab cakes with shaved fennel and pickled papaya; 10oz. fillet mignon with Perigord black truffle potatoes and charred baby carrots; and indulge in a milk chocolate croissant bread pudding with white chocolate ice cream.
Visit larkcreeknb.com

Fig & Olive
Fig & Olive in Fashion Island offers a three-course prix-fixe dinner for $65 per person crated by Executive Chef Pascal Lorange. It’s a French Riviera inspired menu with ingredients from local purveyors, complemented by signature olive oils. The menu includes dishes such as seared scallops with chanterelle mushroom tapenade, Chilean sea bass, filet mignon, and roasted rack of lamb.  The menu is served from 5 to 11 p.m. on Feb. 14.
Visit figandolive.com.

Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Flemings in Fashion Island has designed a two-course prix fixe menu available Feb. 14 – 16 starting at 5 p.m. that begins with an amuse of pan-seared scallop served over a light goat cheese polenta with fresh chives and seared grape tomatoes. First course is choice of Fleming’s salad or modern Caesar. Entrees feature filet mignon paired with a choice of an 8 oz. lobster tail ($69.95) or pecan crusted salmon ($59.95). The traditional Fleming’s a la carte menu will also be available.
Visit flemingssteakhouse.com.

Bluewater Grill
“Foods of Love: Oysters and Champagne” is the title of Bluewater Grill’s special February menu that gives diners the chance to combine the reputed aphrodisiacal qualities of raw oysters with a number of sparkling wine varietals poured in honor of Valentine’s Day. The menu features parings of sustainably harvested raw oysters on the half shell from British Columbia and Washington State with a choice of Domain Ste. Michelle Brut or Mionetto Prosecco Italian sparkling wine. The cost of each pairing event is $29.95 per person. This year, participants can add 30 grams of Alverta White Sturgeon caviar and a 750 ml bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne for an additional $200 (48-hour advance reservations are required for the caviar add-on). The menu is available all month.
Visit bluewatergrill.com.

Back Bay Bistro
With views of Newport’s Back Bay, Back Bay Bistro has a four course prix fixe Valentine’s menu that begins with an amuse bouche (strawberry halves and duck confit with balsamic glaze paired with Perrier Jouet champagne) followed by a choice of appetizer (crab tower with citrus gastrique and micro green garnish or ahi poke martini with pickle radish curls) paired with 2010 Colomone Torrontes from Argentina. Up next is a salad with bibb lettuce, candied walnuts and champagne grapefruit dressing, paired with 2010 Louis Jadot Beaujolais. Entrée choices include aged angus filet of beef in a port wine truffle sauce, Chilean seabass with asparagus risotto and mango sauce, or pork prime rib with polenta cake and sundried cherry sauce. Those selections are paired with 2009 Conn Creek Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley and 2010 Numanthia Termes Tempranillo from Spain. Dessert features chocolate lovers cake paired with a 20 year old tawny port wine from Portugal. The dinner includes a long stem red rose. Wines are selected by the sommeliers from The Wine Elite, who will provide a guided experience tableside for you and your guests. Seatings start at 5 p.m. Last seating at 9 p.m. $95 per person includes wine pairings; $80 per person without wine pairings.
Visit newportdunes.com/back-bay-bistro

SOL Cocina
Known for authentic south-of-the-border cuisine and muddled margaritas, SOL Cocina offers Aphrodisiac Margaritas this Valentine’s Day. The cocktails are meant to be paired with Chef Deborah Schneider’s bold, modern interpretations of traditional Coastal Mexican cuisine.
Served from 11:30 a.m. to midnight on Feb. 14, the cocktails include Amor y Tequila (Guava Margarita with Corralejo Blanco shaken into a martini glass with Clase Azul La Pinta pomegranate-infused watermelon ice cubes), Copa de Amor (a frozen Margarita served in a Bulldog Schooner with choice of Chambord or Clase Azul La Pinta floater, and served with two straws), and Farmer’s Market Aphrodisiac Margarita “Bubbles & Berries” (muddled blackberries and strawberries, lime juice, agave nectar, Don Julio Tequila Blanco, and Cointreau, shaken and topped with champagne).
Visit solcocina.com

Written by Christopher Trela

For more articles on dining out in Newport Beach, see the Off the Menu column in the Newport Beach Independent at NewportBeachIndy.com

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