They say the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. So what better occasion than Valentine’s Day to lighten the wallet on an exquisite meal?
Americans spent about $19.7 billion on Valentine’s Day last year, according to USA Today, and Bankrate said the average dinner out cost a pair of lovebirds $96. That falls roughly in line with several prix-fixe menus being advertised around Sacramento, especially if diners opt for a glass or two of wine.
From high-end options to gooey cheeseburgers, a wide breadth of special menus offer lots of options for Valentine’s Day. Those who haven’t locked down reservations should do so quickly, as tables are usually competitive.
▪ Crawdads on the River
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1375 Garden Hwy, 916-929-2268
Ideal for: Dinner with a view of the Sacramento River.
Menu: Soak in the scenery while noshing on a potato leek soup or winter citrus salad with beets and mixed greens, followed by a shared starter of honey balsamic-glazed pork belly pops or ahi poke with sesame soy marinade, macadamia nuts and fried wontons. The menu offers a filet with grilled shrimp, mashed potatoes and green beans or salmon on Spanish rice with a citrus reduction before closing out the evening with a shared strawberry shortcake.
Price: $75 for two people
▪ The Rind
1801 L St, No. 40, 916-441-7463
Ideal for: A cheesy Valentine’s Day dinner with a Spanish flair.
Menu: Start off with a cheese and charcuterie plate followed by a Spanish ratatouille with Caña de Oveja, a soft sheep cheese. More cheese – this time manchego – tops a seafood or vegetarian orzo paella before making way for a dark chocolate hazelnut cheesecake with candied orange.
Price: $45 per person with vegetarian paella, $50 for seafood
▪ Plan B Midtown/Arden Town Center
1226 20th St., 916-447-3300, 555 La Sierra Drive, 916-483-3000
Ideal for: Starting the night like you’re in the city that never sleeps.
Menu: Kumamoto oysters or a salmon-fennel-leek tartlette as an appetizer, then butter salad with walnuts and Roquefort or a soup du jour for the second course. Entrees are duck confit, poached salmon fillet or pork tenderloin with foie gras before rounding out the meal with a shared chocolate mousse or raspberry cheesecake.
Price: $70 per person, $30 corkage fee
▪ Serpentine Fox Prohibition Grille
2645 El Camino Ave., 916-913-1159
Ideal for: Skipping the frills and ending up with a stick-to-your ribs meal.
Menu: For those looking to avoid the formality (and cost) of a big Valentine’s Day to-do, Serpentine Fox is doing a “squeeze” burger named for the cheese that oozes out of the patty, a peanut butter milk stout brownie with sliced chocolate-dipped strawberries and a choice of draft beer, a well cocktail or prosecco.
Price: $20 per person
▪ Bonus: Summer concerts packages
1600 Exposition Blvd., www.castatefair.org/special/
Ideal for: When your partner comes down with the flu, can’t get the night off from work or just doesn’t want a sit-down dinner.
Cal Expo begins presale VIP tickets to four California State Fair concerts – Trace Adkins on July 15, Kool & The Gang on July 16, Sugar Ray on July 23 and UB40 on July 29 – until Feb. 17. Admission for each concert at Papa Murphy’s Park is free when you buy admission to the State Fair, but with the general crowd often a madhouse, there’s something to be said for having a reserved spot front-and-center.
Price: $25 for each concert but Sugar Ray, which is $20. Fair admission and VIP ticket bundles are available for $37 or $32 for Sugar Ray.