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Valentine's Day Specials 

Where Cupidity reigns

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Balsan A three-course menu of "aphrodisiac" dishes includes a starter of oysters, cheese, and charcuterie; a choice of steak au poivre or lobster and chicken fricassee; and a chocolate tasting. $69, optional wine pairings are $36; also available Friday-Sunday.  11 E. Walton, 312-646-1400.

The Bento Box Dim sum brunch features barbecue pork belly buns, oysters with kimchi salsa, pan-fried dumplings with black vinegar and chili oil, and Korean short ribs with charred scallions and kimchi pickles. $30 per person; BYOB. Sun 2/13, 11 AM-2:30 PM. $30.  2246 W. Armitage, 773-278-3932.

Big Jones Chef Paul Fehribach's coastal southern approach to the holiday yields a five-course tasting menu with dishes like his "Cajun Love Letters": pasta pockets filled with boudin sausage and served with potted peppers, fried leeks, and beurre monté. A vegetarian menu is also available; dessert for both options is a dark chocolate torte with salted caramel, candied coconut, and banana ice cream. $69 per person; optional beverage pairings are $30. Also available Saturday.  5347 N. Clark, 773-275-5725, bigjoneschicago.com.

Bistro Bordeaux From February 14 to 20 the restaurant is offering dinner by the light of hundreds of suspended candles.  618 Church, Evanston, 847-424-1483, lebistrobordeaux.com.

Blokes & Birds Chef Greg Cannon's "Aphrodisiac Dinner" includes oysters (half-shell or Rockefeller), Muscovy duck, and butter-poached lobsters. $50; $25 extra gets you beverage pairings like Young's Double Chocolate Stout, Fleur Chardonnay, and Timmerman's Framboise Lambic.  3343 N. Clark, 773-472-5252, blokesandbirdschicago.com.

Boka Five-course prix fixe ($85) including lentil and crayfish ragu with fennel-mustard sauce, braised short ribs with beet flan, and passion fruit custard.  1729 N. Halsted, 312-337-6070, bokachicago.com.

The Bristol A three-course prix fixe includes options like oysters in herbed mignonette; crespelle of lamb with Swiss chard, black olives, and apples; celery root agnolotti with pear and parmesan; and chocolate moelleux, a French lava cake with cranberries. $45 per person; also available Saturday and Sunday.  2152 N. Damen, 773-862-5555, thebristolchicago.com.

Ceres' Table A three-course menu by chef Giuseppe Scurato and his wife Carolyn Gordon features crabmeat and garlic in white wine-tomato sauce; filet mignon in a foie gras, truffle, and Madeira sauce; and a caramel and milk chocolate dessert. Menu items are also available a la carte. $50, $65 with wine pairings. Also available Saturday.  4882 N. Clark, 773-878-4882, cerestable.com.

Chizakaya A tasting menu for two ($90; add $30 for champagne, sake, and wine) includes two preparations of oysters, lobster with yuzu and olive mignonette, seared Wagyu beef with a potato pancake, and a honey-blueberry milkshake designed to share. Also available Friday and Saturday.  3056 N. Lincoln, 773-697-4725.

The Gage In addition to its regular dinner menu, the Gage is serving a la carte specials like an oyster gratinee with Pernod ($17); seared foie gras on a brioche doughnut with sherry gelee and gastrique powder ($23); "smoking" lobster with spicy greens and sweet potato puree ($42); and champagne-drizzled mascarpone cheesecake with strawberries and coconut ($10). To drink, there's a special Love Potion No. 1 cocktail ($12): Pimm's, port, pomegranate, and prosecco.  24 S. Michigan, 312-372-4243, thegagechicago.com.

Girl & the Goat Stephanie Izard prepares three dishes meant for sharing, details of which haven't been announced yet: osso buco, a fish course, and what's billed as a Lady and the Tramp-style noodle dish.  809 W. Randolph, 312-492-6262, girlandthegoat.com.

Graham Elliot Graham's Elliott's $125 "I Just Dined in Your Arms Tonight" menu, with six courses based on rock ballads, includes "Every Rose Has its Thorns" (yam gnocchi, Taleggio, truffle), "Patience" (braised short ribs, potato confit, coddled egg), and "Pour Some Sugar on Me" (cotton candy, ginger brulee, caramel). Also available Friday and Saturday.  217 W. Huron, 312-624-9975, grahamelliot.com.

Hearty Choices from chef Dan Smith's three-course prix fixe menu include saffron-almond bisque with almond brittle, Metropolis coffee-crusted beef filet, seared duck and duck rillettes with fig sauce and petit syrah reduction, and a pine-nut tart with saffron cream and pine-nut pâte sucrée. $45 per person; two cocktails are available for an additional $10.  3819 N. Broadway, 773-244-9866, heartyboys.com.

Henri A five-course prix fixe ($150, with optional wine pairings for $50) includes foie gras with pain perdu, fruit, and gastrique; onion consomme with a chive gougere; vanilla-poached lobster; and venison chateaubriand. Fifth-course options are chocolate souffle or a hazelnut cream-filled Paris Brest. Haute add-ons are a la carte and include white sturgeon caviar ($130), shaved truffle ($25), or more foie ($20).  18 S. Michigan, 312-578-0763, henrichicago.com.

Jacky's on Prairie Two six-course tasting menus are available: a meatcentric option includes jasmine petal soup with albacore and lychee; butter-poached lobster with arroz negro; and Iberico pork- and fig-stuffed quail with a rose petal chocolate sauce. For vegetarians, there's avocado-mango tataki, pear salad with Fromager d'Affinois, and pan-seared queso fresco with "deconstructed vichyssoise," roasted fennel, and grapefruit cream. $70 per person; also available Saturday and Sunday.  2545 Prairie, Evanston, 847-733-0899, jackysonprairie.com.

Los Moles Chef Geno Bahena cooks a menu culled from Laura Esquivel's novel Like Water for Chocolate that features dishes like champandongo (tortillas with shredded pork and beef, almonds, pecans, cream, cheese, and red mole), quail in rose petal sauce, oxtail soup, and pastel de tres leches. $38 per person; $60 with wine. Also available Saturday and Sunday.  3140 N. Lincoln, 773-935-9620, losmoles.net.

Marigold A three-course "Kama Sutra tasting menu" that comes with a Kama Sutra-inspired gift is $60 per couple ($80 with a bottle of wine). Also available Friday-Sunday.  4832 N. Broadway, 773-293-4653, marigoldrestaurant.com.

Mercadito Chicago Under the tutelage of chef Patricio Sandoval, guests to the Double A lounge beneath Mercadito cook and eat four Día de San Valentín dishes, each to be paired with a cocktail (6-8 and 9-11 PM, $95 per person, reservations required). Upstairs, Sandoval's special five-course dinner menu, served Sunday and Monday, is $60 per person; it includes guacamole, ceviche, tacos, sides, and dessert.  108 W. Kinzie, 312-329-9555, mercaditorestaurants.com.

MK Billed as a "tasting lovers menu or a lovers' tasting menu," MK offers a prix fixe menu with hamachi, butter-poached lobster with leeks and caramelized cauliflower, Kobe skirt steak, and a warm chocolate ganache tart with salted caramel ice cream. $62 per person, $71 includes a cheese course.  868 N. Franklin, 312-482-9179, mkchicago.com.

Morton Arboretum A V-Day brunch features stations with offerings like crab cakes with cajun remoulade, carved beef tenderloin with cocoa and coffee rub, creme brulee French toast, and omelets made to order. There's also a kids' station and a chocolate fountain. Seatings are at 9:30 AM, noon, and 2:30 PM; $42, $30 for kids. Sun 2/13.  4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle 630-725-2066, mortonarb.org.

Nana Chef Guy Miekle prepares a four-course dinner menu ($65) with buttermilk-fried oysters, butter-braised lobster, and a cocktail. A few daytime specials, available a la carte, include sweet potato beignets with raspberry jam and blood orange curd ($8) and an entree of poached lobster hash with andouille, potato confit, and Meyer lemon-vanilla cream sauce. Also available Friday-Sunday.  3267 S. Halsted, 312-929-2486, nanaorganic.com.

People Lounge Spanish-style offerings on a three-course prix fixe menu include goat cheese baked in tomato sauce and lobster ravioli in jamon serrano consomme. Dessert—dark chocolate, Marcona almonds, and caramel semifreddo—comes with a glass of Freixenet cava. $70 per couple; also available Saturday and Sunday.  1560 N. Milwaukee, 773-227-9339, peoplechicago.com.

Prairie Fire Prairie Fire plans to put conversation-provoking "couples question cards" on the table during its Valentine's service, and all diners get a free miniature champagne cocktail with heart-shaped frozen raspberry puree as well a "surprise Valentine" at the end of the meal. A special seafood appetizer is also available here (as well as at the restaurant's Northbrook relative, Prairie Grass Cafe).  215 N. Clinton, 312-382-8300, prairiefirechicago.com.

Province A four-course meal starts with your choice of a toast—either straight-up champagne or a champagne cocktail—and continues with dishes like roasted duck gratin with sweet potatoes and bourbon barbecue sauce, surf and turf with New York strip and olive oil-poached hamachi, and Seedling Farms raspberry chocolate cake to share. $50; also available Friday-Sunday.  161 N. Jefferson, 312-669-9900, provincerestaurant.com.

Ria Four-course prix fixe menu including scallops with harukei turnips, octopus, and fume blanc; lobster with chestnuts, fennel, and orange; aged strip loin with bone marrow, potatoes, and truffles; and chocolate with black cocoa, pomelo, and Aperol. $135 per person; add $75 for wine pairings. Also available Friday-Sunday.  11 E. Walton, 312-880-4400.

Ritz-Carlton Chicago A black-tie-optional "Sweetheart Dinner Dance," raising funds for the Children's Medical Research Foundation, includes a cocktail reception, four-course dinner, live and silent auctions, and dancing. Music is by the Michael Lerich Orchestra. $225 per person. Fri 2/11, 7 PM.  160 E. Pearson, 708-784-0631, curekirby.org.

Saigon Sisters "From Saigon With Love," chef Matt Eversman's prix fixe menu, features shared appetizers like hoisin-glazed quail and lobster fritters, and an entree choice of lamb tenderloin, red snapper, or fennel and red quinoa. Dessert is a chocolate beignet with red beet puree. Includes a toast at the start of the meal. $39 per couple; also available Saturday.  567 W. Lake, 312-496-0090, saigonsisters.com.

Shokran Moroccan specialties on a four-course menu available from Saturday through Monday include chicken bastilla, tilapia tagine, and lamb. Includes soda, Moroccan tea, or coffee; alcohol is BYO. $25 per person; also available Saturday and Sunday.  4027 W. Irving Park, 773-427-9130, shokranchicago.com.

Sixteen Tasting menus available here in three ($125), six ($165, $245 with wine), and eight courses ($330, wine included) feature dishes by chef Frank Brunacci like celery root soup with smoked ham, egg, Comté, and truffle, and foie gras torchon with macadamia nut, black grape, red onion, and spicy white chocolate. Each option ends with a Manjari chocolate cremeux with passion fruit and chai-spiced chocolate sorbet. Also available Friday-Sunday. On Sunday 2/13 from 11 AM to 3:30 PM, the restaurant serves a Sweetheart's Brunch with soups, salads, charcuterie, and sushi, as well as a dessert table ($95, $35 for kids under nine).  401 N. Wabash, 312-588-8030, trumpchicagohotel.com/Food_Wine/sixteen.asp.

SushiSamba Rio A three-course omakase tasting menu features choices of Hokkaido scallop dumpling soup; "trio of gunkan" with wagyu beef, hamachi, and squid; and chocolate mousse with poached cherry, chili, and ice cream made with kuromitsu, a syrup similar to molasses. It's $70, though items are also sold a la carte; also available Friday-Sunday.  504 N. Wells, 312-595-2300, sushisamba.com.

Swissotel Chicago An "Anti-Valentine's Day Party" features mordantly-named appetizers and drinks like the Date Repellent (stewed beans, chorizo, herbs, crostini), the Achy Breaky Heart (Amarula Cream, citrus vodka, and lychee and grapefruit juices), and the Cougar Cocktail (gin, Cointreau, grenadine, and lemon juice). Thu 2/10, 5:30-8:30 PM.  323 E. Wacker, 312-565-0565, swissotelchicago.com.

Taxim A la carte menu options featuring allegedly aphrodisiac foods of Cypriot influence include lountza kypriaki kapnisti (smoked, red wine- and coriander-marinated pork with seared halloumi and fermented cauliflower salad, $26) and soudzouki kaiserias (lamb sausage with garlic, kasseri, and pickled cayenne peppers, $12). There's also a special red hibiscus martini ($8), and roses to take home "for the ladies" on 2/14. The menu is also available Friday-Sunday.  1558 N. Milwaukee, 773-252-1558, taximchicago.com.

Three Aces Three-course prix fixe menu including caramelized onion and short rib soup with white marrow stock and Gruyere crostino; pan-seared duck breast with golden beets, farroto, and arugula; and a red velvet doughtnut with mascarpone glaze, amaretti, and malted vanilla ice cream. $40 per person includes a special V-Day cocktail; also available Friday-Sunday.  1321 W. Taylor, 312-243-1577, threeaceschicago.com.

312 Chicago A four-course "Menu di San Valentino" includes Italian classics like ravioli tartufati (ravioli with fontina cream and truffle oil), risotto di granchio (crab with asparagus and roasted peppers), and ippoglosso (roasted Alaskan halibut with cauliflower puree, pancetta, fava beans, and watercress). $50 per person, $65 with wine pairings. Also available Friday-Sunday.  136 N. LaSalle, 312-696-2420, 312chicago.com, $$$.

Uncommon Ground on Devon A three-course prix fixe including mushroom consomme with celery root tortellini, pan-roasted scallops with collards and lobster sauce, and white chocolate mousse with caramel apple and a cinnamon tuile. $35 per person.  1401 W. Devon, 773-465-9801, uncommonground.com.

Uncommon Ground Guitarist Paulhino Garcia serenades diners, whose three-course prix fixe options include buffalo steak with chipotle-marinated shrimp; salmon and butternut squash gratin with sauteed baby bok choy and pomegranate champagne cream; wild mushroom bisque with herbed creme fraiche and toasted pistachios; and a Meyer lemon meringue tart with fresh kiwi. $35 per person.  3800 N. Clark, 773-929-3680, uncommonground.com.

Vie A five-course meal at Vie comes with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and an amuse bouche of pan-roasted diver scallops with pea shoots, lemon, and brown butter. The cheese course features Heart's Desire, a heart-shaped triple creme, and dessert is red velvet cake with cream cheese semifreddo, raspberry jam, and a heart-shaped meringue. $100 per person, add $40 for wine pairings; also available Sunday.  4471 Lawn, Western Springs, 708-246-2082, vierestaurant.com.

West Town Tavern A "fourplay dinner for two" features entrees like sun-dried tomato crepes, pan-seared Gulf shrimp, and pepper-crusted beef tenderloin with red onion marmalade and truffle fries; starters and desserts, options for which include smoked lobster tail and a Meyer lemon tart, respectively, are meant for sharing. $48 per person; recommended wine pairings are available by the glass.  1329 W. Chicago, 312-666-6175, westtowntavern.com.

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