February 26, 2010

Treat your sweetie from sweet Valentine's Day menus

— A number of restaurants in southern Maine will be offering dinners in the key of love on Feb. 14. Here's a selection:

PORTLAND

Back Bay Grill, 772-8833

65 Portland St.

www.backbaygrill.com

Back Bay Grill is usually closed on Sundays, but will be open Feb. 14 with an a la carte menu created by Chef Larry Matthews Jr.

Bar Lola, 775-5652

100 Congress St.

www.barlola.net

Chef Guy Hernandez will be preparing a five-course prix fixe dinner with three choices per course, including a vegetarian option. Cost is $45 per person. Seating is limited, so call for reservations. There's also a waiting list.

Bibo's Madd Apple Cafe, 774-9698

23 Forest Ave.

www.bibosportland.com

Normally closed Sunday nights, Bibo's will be open on Feb. 14, serving its regular menu but adding Valentine's-inspired specials. These specials also will be available Friday and Saturday night. Dinner will be served 5:30 to 9 p.m. each evening, and brunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cinque Terre, 347-6154

36 Wharf St.

www.cinqueterremaine.com

Chef Lee Skawinski has created a multi-course menu. Begin your Valentine's Day dinner with Winter Point oysters with pomegranate mignonette, followed by chilled winter lobster and Pio Tosini prosciutto. Following a course of hand-rolled gnocchi, choose from filet of Maine sole, Sunset Acres rabbit loin and boar braised in the Tuscan style. Finish with a special selection of Valentine's desserts.

Emilitsa, 221-0245

547 Congress St.

www.emilitsa.com

Emilitsa, normally closed on Sundays, will be open for dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 14 . The restaurant will be serving a four-course, prix fixe menu for $60 per person, or $85 for dinner with pairings of Greek wines.

Five Fifty-Five, 761-0555

555 Congress St.

fivefifty-five.com

Chef Steve Corry will be preparing a five-course tasting menu for $75 per person, alcohol and gratuity not included. Wine pairings will be available. A three-course menu will be served at the bar for $55 per person.

Gauchos Churrascaria Brazilian Steakhouse, 774-9460

100 Commercial St.

gauchosbraziliansteakhouse.com

Gauchos is another spot that's normally closed on Sundays, but will be open Feb. 14. Couples looking for something different can go to Gauchos any night during Valentine's weekend for the $29.95 per person Rodizzio-style dinner. Call for reservations, or e-mail info@braziliansteak house.com.

Grace, 828-4422

15 Chestnut St.

www.restaurantgrace.com

Grace, the restaurant in a renovated church, will open at 5 p.m. Feb. 14, and will be serving the regular menu as well as a variety of specials designed for two. The restaurant is also offering a package deal that includes flowers, a bottle of wine on the table, and/or housemade chocolates.

Hugo's, 774-8538

88 Middle St.

www.hugos.net

Hugo's, normally closed on Sunday, will be open Feb. 14. Chef Rob Evans will be preparing a five-course, $75 prix fixe menu with choices. Reservations are required. The restaurant will also be open Friday and Saturday, offering its regular a la carte and tasting menus.

The Inn on Peaks Island, 766-5100

33 Island Ave., Peaks Island

www.innonpeaks.com

Add a little adventure to your Valentine's Day dinner by hopping the 5:35 p.m. Casco Bay Lines ferry to Peaks Island for a 6 p.m. dinner seating (one seating only) at the Inn on Peaks Island.

Dinner is $55 per couple and includes oysters or bruschetta for the first course; insalata caprese or kale soup with linquica for a second course; and beef wellington or horseradish scallops served with rosemary fingerlings and asparagus.

Dinner includes dessert -- choice of strawberry shortcake or chocolate raspberry terrine -- and a champagne toast. Return ferries leave the dock at 8:15 and 10 p.m.

Vignola, 772-1330

10 Dana St.

www.vignolamaine.com

Chef Lee Skawinski has created a multi-course menu that begins with carne crudo, carpaccio, tartare, mushroom parm salad and baby spinach, and grilled shrimp. After a course of lobster ravioli with leek and basil sauce, choose from braised pork short rib with polenta, rabbit leg or grilled scallops. Special Valentine's Day desserts will also be available.

GRAY

DiSanto's Restaurant, 428-4300

322 West Gray Road/Route 202

www.disantosrestaurant.com

Chef Mark Pariano's Valentine's specials will be available Friday and Saturday night as well as Sunday. Specials include an appetizer of puff pastry lobster pie for two for $12 or an oyster and shrimp mignonette for $14. Entree specials include tenderloin beef giovanni and poached Atlantic salmon, both $28. Try a Good Night Kiss cocktail or a Flirtini from the bar. Top it off with dessert: warm chocolate hazelnut purse for $9 or rose mascarpone macaroons for $8. Reservations are suggested.

WESTBROOK

The Frog and Turtle, 591-4185

3 Bridge St.

The restaurant will serve its Valentine's Day dinner on Feb. 13. The cost is $60 per couple for a four-course dinner. Start off with a cheese plate, then enjoy your choice of four appetizers and five entrees. The meal ends with a shared dessert. Serenade your sweetie with live, romantic music by Adam Waxman and Damian on sax.

On Valentine's Day, the restaurant will serve its regular brunch menu along with some special Valentine's dishes and lots of champagne. Dinner Sunday night will include some Valentine's Day specials.

EAST WATERBORO

Raven Hill Orchard, 247-4455

255 Ossipee Hill Road

www.ravenhillorchard.com

Chef Sebastian Carosi, founder of the New England Farm 2 Fork Project, will host a candlelit Valentine's Day dinner at 5 p.m. Feb. 14 at Raven Hill Orchard. The menu will include bleeding heart mimosas; Maine she-crab bisque with chives; Kennebunkport lobster mac 'n cheese with farmstead local cheddar; organic baby greens and herbs with orchard applewood-smoked mountain trout, Maine sea salt-roasted heirloom beets, house-cured bacon bits and a lemonade vinaigrette; pepper-seared, grass-fed beef tenderloin with wilted spinach, lobster mashed potatoes and orchard-smoked onion gravy; and artisan chocolate lava cake for two with chocolate-covered cherry hot chocolate and frozen Smiling Hill Farn creme fraiche mousse.

CAMDEN

Natalie's, 236-7008

Camden Harbour Inn

83 Bay View St.

www.camdenharbourinn.com

Chef Lawrence Klang will be preparing a Valentine's Day dinner for $69 per person, but the restaurant's regular menu will also be available. This fine dining Valentine's menu includes everything from caviar and foie gras to sous vide lobster and a saute of frog legs. Other courses include olive oil roasted filet of John Dory, radish and cress, and grapefruit emulsion; veal porterhouse, caramelized stuffed onion and black truffle jus; and slow sole, mussels, crème fraiche Yukon gnocchi, leeks and white mushroom sabayon.

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