New Jersey Restaurants Offering Valentine’s Day Specials

Prix fixe menus, Galentine's Day dinners, chocolate classes for couples and more.

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Not all “sweetheart” deals are created equal. Most start with bubbly, and all of them (should) end with something chocolate, but what happens in between—the food, the service, the ambiance—can vary wildly. To help you and your special someone avoid the more heartbreaking pitfalls of last-minute decisions, and maybe open your horizons to the kinds of dinners out there (it’s not just steak and truffles), here’s a cross-section of seven very different Valentine’s Day dinners in the Garden State.

Sip Scotch on Galentine’s Day in Randolph

Mr. Crabby’s Sea & Smoke dinner is actually February 13, not the 14 (they have a special menu for that day, too), but for those of us celebrating Galentine’s Day (a day of women celebrating women), or if you just think every day’s a good day to celebrate Scotch, here you go. For $65 per person, you’ll nibble on everything from Blue Point oysters and pan-seared scallops to braised lamb with truffle potatoes (truffles aren’t just for Valentine’s Day, ahem). Throughout the meal, you’ll sip on drams like Talisker’s 10-year Single Malt, Oban’s 14 Year, and a nice smoky Lagavulin 16 Year Islay Scotch (Islay is where peat and sea salt air make Scotch sing). Enjoy chef LeVine’s cooking and his hydroponic kitchen garden. Mr. Crabby’s Craft Kitchen & Bar, 399 Route 10 East, Randolph; 973-343-7688

Wine Glass Class in Sea Bright

Another pre-Valentine’s Day event with another non-traditional take: “Explore the Difference a Glass Can Make” wine tasting class at Drifthouse by David Burke on February 13. The class is presented by Reidel, with an expert on hand to take you through different wines and glassware. You’ll come away with an understanding of how glass shape actually impacts (or impedes) your perception of a wine. Not to mention tasting a few wines isn’t the worst way to psychologically prep for Valentine’s Day, whether you’re single or taken. Tickets are $120, and include the night’s tastings and a set of four Reidel glasses (valued at $118). Email [email protected] to reserve. A light snack is served at 6:30pm, and class starts at 7 pm. Drifthouse by David Burke, 1485 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright; 732-530-9760

L’Amour Francais in Westfield

Going French for Valentine’s Day is an easy, fulfilling win—especially when you’re talking three courses for $85 from one of our 30 Best Restaurants of 2018, and said courses include things like Burgundy-style escargots, foie gras ganache with smoky spiced almonds, a classic table-side preparation of Dover sole meuniere, and filet mignon with a champignon mushroom truffle reduction. Desserts, bien sur, will abound: crème brulee, profiteroles, chocolate mousse, cheese cart, the list goes on. Chef Christine Migton’s at the helm of tout l’amour. Tickets are $85 plus a 20 percent gratuity, drinks not included. Call to reserve. Chez Catherine, 431 North Avenue West, Westfield; 908-654-4011

Community and Couples Truffles in Montclair

Cornerstone in Upper Montclair is a community center, workplace, and general store that fosters community and agency for people of all abilities. What better place to celebrate something sweet? This Valentine’s Day, Dolce Federica Artisan Chocolates of Montclair is stopping by to lead a Couple’s Chocolates Class. The event is BYO, so you can sip something cacao-friendly while learning all about chocolate. Costs $60 or $110 for a couple, 7:30–9 pm, Cornerstone, 198 Bellevue Avenue, Upper Montclair; 973-337-2388

Southern Sweethearts in Jersey City

The bonus of the Valentine’s prix fixe at Mathew’s in Jersey City is you can have an early bird kind of night (seating start at 5 pm) without sacrificing access to sophisticated food and drink. Speaking of, the night’s three-course menu showcases the full range of sophisticated, intricate flavors you’d expect at Mathew’s, whether it’s a baked oysters with tasso ham appetizer, a tomato tart with charred onion and braised baby fennel, or the surprisingly seductive vegetarian entrée (among lamb chops, prime filet, duck confit), roasted Japanese eggplant with harissa, tahini coulis, tomato compote, lemon silken tofu, and puffed forbidden rice. Dinners start at 5 pm, 7 pm, and 9 pm, at $65 per person, drinks not included. Mathew’s Food and Drink, 351 Grove Street, Jersey City; 201-333-1258

Forever Foodies at White Birch in Flanders

White Birch is doing its Valentine’s Day Tasting Menu through Saturday, so you have two more chances for some seriously good Valentine’s dining. Make reservations quickly, though, since Sam Freund’s cooking is rapidly garnering the Flanders restaurant some serious attention (including ours). The night’s four-course menu includes sophisticated options like sweetbreads with roasted sherry grapes and micro celery; short rib agnolotti with wild mushroom; and seafood bouillabaisse with fingerling potato, leek and fennel. Desserts from pastry chef Melissa Smith include crème brulee with blood orange and a lemon basil tart with almond. Costs $75, reserve online. White Birch, 380 Route 206 South, Flanders; 908-955-0443

Three Way Italian V-Day

Cucina Calandra, the Mediterranean Grill, and Il Vecchio Café of the Calandra’s family are all offering Valentine’s Day specials in Fairfield and Caldwell, respectfully. Cucina Calandra and the Mediterranean Grill will be offering specials for the day alongside their regular menus; Il Vecchio’s “Cupid’s Kitchen” is a $55 four-course menu with a glass of complimentary bubbly, Italian specials and at least one dessert option with “spicy chocolate fudge” on top (bonus points: kids can come share the love, and dinner, for $20 each). More info on reservations for each venue can be found here.

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