Romance is in the Air on Valentine’s Day in Midtown Houston

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” – Judy Garland

These romantic words from iconic actress Judy Garland will be on the minds of couples young and old this Valentine’s Day, February 14th. And Midtown Houston is laying the groundwork for love to blossom.

Whether your status is “single” or “in a relationship,” be sure to head out to Bagby Park at 415 Gray St. to join in the Valentine’s Day edition of Game Night, sponsored by Rico’s Morning + Noon + Night. The free event will include a variety of fun games on the lawn, and a chance for singles to mingle.

Meanwhile, some top-notch Midtown Houston restaurants are rolling out the red carpet with menus designed to bring out the amorous nature of the evening.

“We really enjoy our customers during Valentine’s,” said Johnny B. Mandola, general manager and co-owner of Damian’s Cucina Italiana at 3011 Smith St. “Couples come in happy, they have a romantic dinner and when they leave their love shows – and that’s a good thing.

“If they come in angry, they’re going to leave in love,” Mandola said with a laugh.

Damian’s Cucina Italiana will serve a three-course dinner from 5pm – 10 pm. The cost is $59.95 person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 713.522.0439.

The Valentine’s Day menu includes:
Milo Hamilton’s Pasta e Fagioli
Italian soup with ditali rigati pasta, cannellini beans, pancetta, potatoes and vegetables
Sweet Potato Ravioli
Sweet potato stuffed ravioli in sage butter sauce
Caesar Salad
Crisp romaine lettuce tossed with Caesar dressing, parmesan cheese and croutons
Verde Gorgonzola
Romaine lettuce tossed in a walnut dressing with gorgonzola cheese

Pappardelle Alla Cinghiale
Ribbon pasta with wild boar ragu
Snapper Dievole
Sautéed snapper served over arugula with roasted fennel cherry tomatoes drizzled with a caper basil butter sauce
Pollo Caprese
Breaded chicken breast topped with fontina cheese, basil pesto, tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts served with sautéed vegetables
Filetto con Madeira
8 oz. center-cut filet mignon topped with shiitake mushroom madeira demi glaze served with gorgonzola mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus

Chocolate Raspberry Tart
Chocolate wafer crust filled with white and dark chocolate ganache topped with raspberries
Tuscan Bread Pudding
Served with Jack Daniel’s bourbon sauce
A traditional Italian dessert.  Layers of house made ladyfingers soaked in espresso and rum flavored mascarpone cheese topped with chocolate shavings
* * *

Charivari Restaurant at 2521 Bagby plans to unveil a romantic menu designed to kick start a romantic evening. The cost is $95 per person, plus tax and gratuity. No menu substitutions or mixing from items on menu is allowed.

The Valentine’s Day menu includes:
American Sturgeon Caviar Canapis
Lobster Bisque Charivari
Wild Mushroom Truffle Ravioli, Verjus – Dark Chocolate reduction
Champagne Sorbet
Dover Sole a la Grenobloise, served with Lemon Butter, Capers and Parsley, Ana Potatoes.
Grilled Filet Mignon Tournedos, Foie Gras topped over Rosti Potatoes, Verjus reduction and Bartlett Pear
Tiramisu con Amor and Chocolate Coulis
Fancy Vermont Maple Syrup Panna Cotta, Wild Berries and Raspberry Coulis.
* * *

Brennan’s of Houston at 3300 Smith invites lovers and revelers alike to partake in a celebratory three-course dinner. The cost is $75 per person, and reservations may be made by calling 713-522-9711. Dinner will be served at 5:45 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

“Brennan’s of Houston’s upscale yet comfortable ambiance makes it the ideal spot to cozy up with one’s Valentine this year,” said Fern Casio, marketing manager at Brennan’s. “Alongside classics such as Turtle Soup and Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, Executive Chef Danny Trace will serve exclusive dishes for the occasion including Lobster & Cognac Bisque, Moonshine Cured Hudson Valley Foie Gras, and Grand Marnier Crème Brulee.”

The Valentine’s Day menu includes:

Snapping Turtle Soup
A Brennan’s Tradition with a Touch of Sherry
Lobster & Cognac Bisque
XO Splashed and Crowned with Crispy Pastry
Froberg Farm Strawberry Salad
Spiced pecans, black pepper biscotti, Lone Star Goat Cheese Baby Spinach and Balsamic Limonato Vinaigrette
Louisiana Crawfish Enchilada
Fire Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, Pepper Jack Cheese, and Mirliton Pico De Gallo
Wild Shrimp Remoulade
Shrimp Boil Vegetables, Baby Arugula, Preserved Lemon, and Chilled Remoulade Dressing
Oyster Walker
Corn Fried Matagorda Oysters and Crispy Sweet Potato Ribbon over Mezcal Chili Corn Sauce
D’Artagnan Rabbit Etouffee Crepe
Creole Vegetables Stewed with Oyster Mushrooms over Citrus Meuniere Sauce
Moonshine Cured Hudson Valley Foie Gras
Green Apple Streusel, Creole Rio Grande Pecans, and Tennessee Apple Pie White Lightning

Red Snapper Pontchartrain
Crispy Louisiana Oysters, Blue Crab, Texas Shrimp Toasted Mushroom Rice, and Pontchartrain Sauce
Gulf Coast Shrimp and Grits
Goat Cheese Stone Ground Grits, Parsnip Chips, Blistered Peppers, Toasted Garlic, and Sun Dried Tomatoes
Hunter’s Mixed Bag
Teka Grilled Elk Chop, Truffled Rabbit Sausage, Rosemary Roasted Texas Quail, Rattlesnake Bean Cassoulet Salad, and Ancho Bourbon Glaze
Wood Grilled Filet Mignon
Harris Ranch Beef, Buttermilk Potato Puree, Creole Tomato Jam, Broccolini, and Tchoupitoulas Sauce
Tender Belly Tomahawk Pork Chop
Molasses Whipped Sweet Potatoes, Bacon Braised Collard Greens, and Habanero Apple Barbecue Sauce
Honey Roasted Rohan Duck
Atchafalaya Crawfish Fried Rice, Sunny Side Up Quail Egg, and Froberg Citrus with Bird Dog Whiskey Glaze
Jumbo Lump Blue Crabcakes
Crowned with Chayote and Oak Hollow Sunflower Sprouts over Sweet Corn & Leek Cream
Southern Vegetable Cassoulet
Stewed Farmer’s Vegetables & White Kidney Beans, Creole Ratatouille, and Wood Grilled Indian Creek “Oyster” Mushrooms

Vieux Carre Beignets
Dusted in Beaucoup Powdered Sugar with Cafe Au Lait Anglaise
Mississippi Mud Pie
Dark Chocolate Mousse, Caramel Popcorn, and Heavenly Hash Candy
Robin’s Lemon Meringue Pie
Limoncello Blueberry Coulis  Candied Lemon Zest
Ponchatoula Strawberry Shortcake
Buttermilk Shortbread, Vanilla Whip Cream, and Rougaroux Rum Marinated Berries
Grand Marnier Creme Brulee
Alvin Texas Strawberries, Waffle Cone Tuile, and Turbinado Sugar
Brennan’s Bananas Foster
Flamed Tableside with Caribbean Rum over Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Creole Bread Pudding
French Bread & Pecan Custard, Texas Fruit, and Irish Whiskey Sauce
Flambeau Cake
Chef’s Ice Cream Layered in Black Forest Cake Flamed with Satsuma Bayou Rum
* * *

Ibiza Food & Wine Bar at 2450 Louisiana also is serving up a special Valentine’s Day dinner. Check out the menu online. For reservations, call 713-524-0004. A 20 percent gratuity will be added to parties of 10 and more.