Where you have your Valentine's Day dinner is just as important as what you're eating. These restaurants will set the tone for the rest of your romantic night, but you better make those reservations now.
265 Elizabeth St., Nolita
Soft lighting, dark woods and no cramped tables, so your sweet nothings won’t be overheard. Dial up the romance with Michelin-starred chef Matt Lambert’s six-course aphrodisiac-themed menu ($150) that begins with truffled mushroom soup, then moves on to Ora King salmon with satsuma and a kiss of vanilla. Mains offer a choice of cod or beef, then to rev things up toward the end of the meal, there’s a ginger and banana course.
206 W. 118th St., Harlem
Harlem’s jazz supper club is turning Valentine’s Day into Valentine’s Weekend with a special menu and unique performances Feb. 12-14. First up is Queen Esther, who brings the Deep South to NYC with classic blues and “country jazz.” On Saturday, Harlem native and longtime stage performer Alyson Williams will share soul ballads and jazz standards; and saxophonist/flautist T.K. Blue will warm up the special night with Afro-Caribbean jazz. On chef Joseph Johnson’s four-course prix fixe ($175 per person) is mackerel crudo, venison in harissa with sweet apple chutney and strip steak with rutabaga smash. Share a his & hers flask for two ($25) filled with one of three special cocktails.
132 Fourth Ave., Union Square
Just below 14th Street (literally) is a restaurant that is as lively and sexy as the streets of Brazil. Take your Valentine to a tropical paradise with a prix fixe ($75 per person) that starts with a selection of pastelzinhos (a flaky pastry pocket), then moves onto three courses with options like wild striped bass and prawns in a tomato-coconut broth, and suckling pig. There’s a choice of desserts as well, but we like the brigadeiros. The special menu will be served Feb. 13 and 14 beginning at 5 p.m.
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse
447 Lexington Ave., Midtown
The cosmopolitan atmosphere and gorgeous desserts make Davio’s more than a straight-up steakhouse. For Valentine’s Day, they’re showing their softer side with a pink-themed prix fixe ($69 per person) that includes a course of red, heart-shaped ravioli with goat cheese in butter herb sauce. The meal starts off with tuna and black bass carpaccio, then a pan-seared halibut in bay scallop sauce and caviar — no extra charge for the good stuff here — and ends on a light note of pavlova with strawberries and chocolate sorbet. The menu is available Feb. 12-14.
13 E. 12th St., 15 W. 44th St.
Though the name of this steakhouse may be a little on the nose, if you’re more bordello than boudoir then be sure to reserve your own red banquette amid the framed burlesque photos that cover the walls. For Valentine’s Day, they’re serving a risque and decadent 50 Shaves of Truffle menu ($200 per person). Over seven courses, chef Michael Vignola will seduce your palate with dishes like truffled chestnut veloute, truffle-crusted scallops, aged Long Island duck with seared foie gras in truffle madeira jus and black truffle cheesecake with almond crumble. The menu will be served Feb. 12-14, 5-11 p.m.
60 Greenpoint Ave., Brooklyn
The food may be casual, but the ambiance at Paulie Gee’s is all Italian wine barn, which is not a thing but should be, with soaring ceilings, lots of candlelight and exposed brick walls. For the dad joke lovers of the world, the Neapolitan-style pizzas are all amusingly named, like the Ricotta Be Kiddin’ Me (mozzarella, Canadian bacon, sweet Italian fennel sausage and basil finished with dollops of ricotta) and the special that people wanted so much it became a regular, Cherry Jones (mozzarella, Gorgonzola, dried Bing cherries, prosciutto, orange blossom honey). Vegans are in for a treat — there’s a special pizza and dessert menu just for you.