Maple Grove Restaurants: Dinner for Two
With the coming of Valentine’s Day, the time is now to start thinking about how to spice things up with your better half. What better way to do this than to plan a special dinner out with drinks, a leisurely meal and stimulating conversation. And why restrict the occasion to Valentine’s Day? We’re all about making date night a regular thing. No matter what you like to eat, from sushi to Italian-inspired pastas, there’s a local option to please your palate and your partner.
Braised Short Ribs
If you and your Valentine’s date have an enthusiasm for chef-driven menus, seasonally focused ingredients and the perfect wines to pair with them, then Nectar Wine Bar and Bistro is the place you should be making your date-night reservation, hands down. Chef-owner Kevin Nordeen changes the menu every two weeks, so you can be sure you’ll find something new on every visit, but some of his winter favorites include braised short ribs, pumpkin-squash soup, grilled quail with risotto, cioppino and lamb shank with creamy polenta. Entrees range from $14–$26. On Valentine’s Day, Nordeen will offer a fixed-price menu with wine pairings. The dining room is small and intimate, holding just 12 tables, but you can order off the menu in the bar and lounge area as well. Call the restaurant to make a reservation and get further details. If you’d rather keep your date night low-key and avoid the Valentine’s Day madness altogether, try Nectar on a Tuesday night for half-priced bottles of wine (not offered on Valentine’s Day), Wednesday night for all-night happy hour in the bar and dining room, or Thursday and Friday for live music in the dining room (closed Sunday and Monday). Not a wine drinker? No worries. Order up one of the house-infused vodka drinks with a house-made mixer (sour, lime cordial, bitters and fresh squeezed juices).
If sitting in close proximity to one another at the sushi bar to enjoy your favorite sushi rolls doesn’t set the scene for romance, then what will? At Kyoto Sushi, couples can count on the volcano roll—made with shrimp tempura and spicy tuna—to spice things up. At $24.99, the all-you-can-eat menu offers one of the cheapest nights out you can find. In addition to sushi, sashimi, and maki rolls, the selections include appetizers like edamame or chicken wings, tempura, teriyaki dishes, soba or udon noodles and a teppanyaki menu. And while you might fear that an all-you-can-eat doesn’t have much to offer in the ambiance department, Kyoto Sushi is actually rather nice inside, with dark wood accents, a cozy, fully-stocked bar and colorful tile throughout.
Seared Diver Scallops
Pittsburgh Blue is a go-to spot in Maple Grove for occasions like Valentine’s Day. Featuring deep booths and accented with dark woods and a fireplace, the interior lends itself to a romantic evening for two. On the menu, dry-aged steaks selected by master butchers, hand-trimmed chops and day-boat fresh fish, along with an extensive wine list, will have your mouth watering from the get-go. The special Valentine’s menu this year will include a pan-seared diver scallops appetizer with bourbon vanilla buerre blanc ($11.95), crab-stuffed jumbo shrimp ($24.95), and for the lion-sized appetites, a 22-ounce cowboy steak (bone-in ribeye) with roasted vegetables and an ancho espresso sauce ($48.95). In addition to the a la carte-style menu items, there will be two prix-fixe dinner-for-two options, crab cake chopped salad, surf and turf with a 6 oz. filet and sea bass plus dessert and champagne for $89.95 and shrimp cocktail with spinach and goat cheese salad, and surf and turf that includes a 5 oz. lobster tail and 16 oz. ribeye, plus dessert and champagne ($120). Call the restaurant for prices and further details, as the menu is subject to change. There’s no dress code, so you can choose to get gussied up for a night on the town or keep it casual and comfortable.
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