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Valentine's Day in MSP

b
BatMan Jan 14, 2008 09:03 AM

Looking for the perfect V-Day dinner in the Twin Cities - preferably a multi-course with wine pairing. Already been to the following for V-Day:

20:21
Chambers
Cosmos
Vincent
La Belle Vie
Dakota

All other recommendations greatly appreciated!

  1. pm1013 Jan 28, 2008 09:26 PM

    I'm with MSPD - "don't do fine dining on a holiday/special day." I've done all the usual suspects too and honestly, the most fun & surprising meal I had on Valentine's Day was at the Modern Cafe in NE Mpls. My husband & I hadn't really made plans & decided to try it spur-of-the-moment & loved it. I know people might consider it fairly "down-market", but I just loved the completely un-pretentious atmosphere & the price points are great. (someone please explain why we have reservations at B.A.N.K. this year). You can't go wrong with boutique pot roast! Zander in St.P is great too - and you can shop for wine next door at Solo Vino.

    4 Replies
    1. re: pm1013
      k
      karykat Feb 16, 2008 01:01 PM

      Oops. No more Zander. But Solo Vino is still open and a great place for wine. I love the staff -- they can "read" what you want and guide you to great choices.

      1. re: karykat
        pm1013 Feb 20, 2008 01:47 PM

        What?! Awwww - when did that happen? I guess I'm out of the loop since I moved from St. Paul last year. Bummer..... The same thing happened to me when I pulled into The Vintage parking lot, only to find that it had changed to Il Vesco Vino. What's up with Selby Ave? I'll die if that happens to MOTH... (thanks for the update though)

        1. re: pm1013
          The Dairy Queen Feb 20, 2008 02:33 PM

          You're not too far out of the loop--Zander closed in the last month, I'd say. And, I hope/suspect Moscow on the Hill will be fine. Zander was a victim, I think, of uneven food (sometimes very good, sometimes, not great and then confused created when it closed for remodeling--people never knew what its status was.

          ~TDQ

          1. re: The Dairy Queen
            pm1013 Feb 22, 2008 09:50 AM

            Thanks for the info TDQ. I agree - while I've enjoyed Zander, I have read many mixed reviews so I guess I'm not totally shocked but it's always sad to see a business go down.

    2. cleanyerplate Jan 28, 2008 01:39 PM

      White Castle has candle-lit dinners on V-Day.

      1. aliasvivian Jan 27, 2008 08:27 AM

        Had my first Fugaise experience last night. Granted, I was expecting broom closet, but the room wasn't bad, and improved as it filled (of course). Comfortable, cozy, light but not bright. Their web site gives you a "tour" of the room that's fairly accurate. Also, they were deliciously accomodating of a vegetarian request.

        To me, Chambers and 20:21 ONLY have atmosphere to recommend them so go for a pre-drink if you must. My meals have been no better than OK at either.

        1. l
          LeGrandFromage Jan 20, 2008 09:13 AM

          It may be a bit cliche, but I recently had an exceedingly pleasant meal at Cafe Barbette. The menu changes regularly, but this evening my date and I enjoyed an onion and chevre tart, bison carpaccio, and beautiful steaks served over braised endives. The wine and beer list was extensive, but quite reasonably priced. Reminds me oh-so much of the bistros in France in terms of ambiance.

          1. m
            mplsmike Jan 18, 2008 07:52 AM

            What about Heartland? Or the always delicious JP Bistro (they tend to pull out a tasting menu on the romantic holidays)

            2 Replies
            1. re: mplsmike
              m
              middyboo Jan 31, 2008 07:28 AM

              Second Heartland. I LOVE the amuse bouche and wine lists. Their saucier is a genius. I hope my guy takes me there.

              1. re: middyboo
                The Dairy Queen Feb 16, 2008 12:46 PM

                We dined at Heartland just recently and I have to say, every time I go there, I wish I went there more often. I ordered off tasting menu (three courses: rainbow trout, wild boar roast, and chocolate-hazelnut-cake) and he ordered the rack of lamb that came with an awesome parmesan root vegetable gratin . We ordered a glorious side of fingerling potatoes cooked in goat fat that was just incredible. It's not a big place, and you do end up sitting pretty close to the other tables, yet, it somehow manages to feel warm and intimate. And you can easily carry on a conversation. I love it when I get a view of the kitchen. I will say, though, middyboo, the only thing I didn't love was the amuse bouche, which was some kind of maple-syrup fried ravioli (squash filled I think)--I just think think it didn't taste that great cold. My dining companion loved it, though. I love the rolls they bring around, where you always get your choice. Lovely experience overall. No wine pairing, though, though they have an extensive wine list.

                ~TDQ

            2. a
              ashii Jan 16, 2008 05:36 PM

              My vote it for La belle vie... by far the best...
              But i also like cafe lurcat. I like the interior, and have never had anything but wonderful meal there

              1. m
                marykate Jan 15, 2008 08:09 AM

                Have you been to Pazzaluna in St. Paul?

                I find it to be incredibly romantic without trying too hard, and your BatGirl might too!

                Your other choices suggest that you enjoy Italian, so thought I'd chime-in.

                3 Replies
                1. re: marykate
                  d
                  debbie421 Jan 17, 2008 10:36 AM

                  I think I must be the only person on here who doesn't like Pazzaluna. We went there last Valentine's and found the food to be lacking. marykate is right though, seriously romantic atmosphere.

                  1. re: debbie421
                    h
                    Haricotsv2 Jan 17, 2008 02:59 PM

                    I think the best part of Pazzaluna is pizza in the bar.

                    1. re: Haricotsv2
                      r
                      reannd Jan 18, 2008 06:48 AM

                      went there for NYE & most people i was with found their food mediocre.
                      i have throughly enjoyed the bbq chix pizza w.cheese curds (super yum) , the parsnip soup, and their rendition on a beet salad.

                      no one that had pasta there thought it was great.. in fact they called the gnocchi just plain bad.

                2. h
                  Haricotsv2 Jan 14, 2008 02:52 PM

                  D'Amico Cuchina--was there the other night for the tasting dinner. With wine flight it's pricey, but I love it for special occasions.

                  1. s
                    St Paul Susie Jan 14, 2008 01:36 PM

                    I second the alma recommendation.

                    I was at Chambers with chowhubby right after the holidays and while the food was good, the bill was huge.

                    What about D'Amico Cucina? I've visited 2x in the past few months and the food and service were both outstanding.

                    1. k
                      karykat Jan 14, 2008 10:26 AM

                      How about Restaurant Alma? Top notch multi-course food. Very attentive experienced service.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: karykat
                        MSPD Jan 16, 2008 01:37 PM

                        I did Alma on Valentine's Day two years ago (I think). They had a prix fixe and you could choose from a couple of items for each course.

                        My problem (and this visit supported my "don't do fine dining on a holiday/special day" policy that we made an exception to) is that if I don't like the options on the prix fixe (or tasting menus), I like to be able to bail out and go with the standard menu. I wasn't all that intrigued with what was offered but was stuck as all they offered was the prix fixe.

                        Maybe this is OK, but I wouldn't personally do it again if they still go with that format. Few things are as disappointing as going to a great restaurant and not being able to find anything you really want to eat. I would find a place that isn't doing anything different for the day and just enjoy a great restaurant as it always is.

                        1. re: MSPD
                          b
                          BatMan Jan 17, 2008 07:08 AM

                          You're right, that is the gamble with a pre-set menu. My take is a bit different. I'm a creature of habit and tend to order the same types of dishes, rarely venturing beyond my comfort zone. The pre-set menu forces me eat things I normally wouldn't order. While there have been times this approach didn't pan out the greatest, most of the time I am quite surprised and amazed at food that doesn't sound good on paper but translates very well to the palate.

                      2. bob s Jan 14, 2008 10:06 AM

                        I'll also refer you to this thread about tasting menus: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/476505
                        Admittedly, it's mostly my one post, but it's easier than retyping. Since it looks like you are willing to go high end, I'd suggest Fugaise, which definitely has a tasting menu.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: bob s
                          b
                          BatMan Jan 14, 2008 11:09 AM

                          I'm considering Fugaise but am worried about the lack of atmosphere - someone compared it to a broom closet. Considering it's Valentine's Day, atmosphere is somewhat important. Does the quality of the food make-up for the lack of ambience?

                          1. re: BatMan
                            Jordan Jan 14, 2008 12:17 PM

                            "Broom closet" isn't really fair. The room is of a decent size, and the tables have linen and nice silverware. The main drawback is the lack of windows. The subdued color scheme doesn't help. Otherwise, it's a comfortable enough place, reasonably elegant, and the food is topnotch.

                            1. re: BatMan
                              s
                              soupkitten Jan 15, 2008 08:20 AM

                              the space is not ideal but it is a pleasant room w high ceilings, beautiful tables and glassware, good service, spectacular food. no windows. . . go visit & check out the space before making a res. i think it's nice at fugaise but can take, leave or torch the artwork.

                              the other big no-brainer would be alma. gosh i unabashedly love alma for all special occasions & given your nice list of past v-day dinners, Batman, would have to say you should not consider your list complete w/o alma.

                              i will be working v-day, but if i were to go out for romantic dinner that night, i'd go to alma. if alma was full-up i'd go to fugaise, if it was my pick.

                          2. The Dairy Queen Jan 14, 2008 09:47 AM

                            Not an identical request, but a similar one, with lots of replies here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/473288 May or may not be helpful to you. I thought I'd point it out in case you hadn't seen it.

                            ~TDQ

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