Valentine’s Day has traditionally been the time when couples go out for a romantic dinner. Romance is often served on a plate as lobster or steak followed by decadent chocolate desserts and enjoyed with a bottle of wine as couples gaze lovingly at each other. Instead of savoring a dinner in a darkly lit dining room, this year will be far from traditional. Special dinners may need to be eaten outdoors or picked up for takeout.
The next governor’s announcement about the possible reopening of dining indoors is Tuesday. If allowed to open, there may be more dine-in opportunities. Some restaurateurs have expressed that they will finalize plans after the announcement. Still, several restaurants in Central Oregon are offering specials to share with your special someone with the expectation that circumstances will remain unchanged. As it stands now, you can have a unique or romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day. Grab a blanket to eat outside or pull out the candles and china at home and create your own intimate evening.
Dining out for Valentine’s Day
With limited outdoor seating, it may be hard to get a reservation for Valentine’s Day. Check with your favorite restaurant for availability. Some places are serving a Valentine’s Day menu all weekend. As this is a partial list based on current plans, check online or contact the restaurant for further information.
Jackalope (750 NW Lava Road, Bend, 541-318-8435)
Jackalope’s new courtyard setup makes eating outside every bit as romantic as a corner table indoors.
Their patio has been transformed for romance and safety. Twinkling little red lights adorn the many potted trees in the courtyard. Three large tents that seat up to 6 people in a party separate the diners from those eating at small fire tables. Those seated at fire tables can adjust the flame to make it as warm as they need. Additional decorative fire tables warm the areas between the tents. The result is a lovely, romantic setting.
Owners Tim and Kathy Garling take health safety very seriously. After each group leaves a tent, the walls, tables, chairs, wine books, guest checks and pens are wiped down with one of the most powerful antimicrobial disinfectants.
While any dining experience at Jackalope can be a special occasion, the Valentine’s Day menu has a few special dishes:
Chef’s Ribollita Soup: This traditional soup is a staple of the Tuscan countryside, ribollita means reboiled. It is loaded with leafy green vegetables, cannellini beans, and bread for an almost creamy texture.
Roasted Marrow Bone: (Dine-in only) served with Italian salsa verde and grilled artisanal bread.
Wagyu New York Steak Neptune: 10-ounce, ultra-premium Wagyu New York steak with two wild-caught extra-colossal, lemon-butter broiled prawns, fresh asparagus, classic bearnaise sauce and creamy mashed potatoes
Sea Scallops with Shitake Mushroom Risotto: golden-crusted, wild-harvested tender and sweet scallops served atop Meyer lemon and shitake mushroom risotto.
Paleron de boeuf au Vin Rouge: Paleron is a very beefy shoulder cut that’s perfect for braising in red wine in this classic French country dish, served with roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, oven-dried tomato and natural sauce.
South Bend Bistro (57080 Abbot Drive, Sunriver, 541- 593-3881, southbendbistro.com)
Another Romantic outdoor dining experience that will be specially decorated for Valentine’s Day is the South Bend Bistro in Sunriver.
The Valentine’s Day special includes a 30-oz Cedar River Farms bone-in Tomahawk Rib Eye, served with Garlic Yukon Smashed potatoes with a choice of French herb compound butter or a bourbon rosemary and mushroom cream sauce; choice of sauteed French green beans or asparagus. The steak may be ordered rare, medium-rare, or medium ($120 for two).
Please contact the restaurant to determine if takeout will be available and whether the special will be available on Valentine’s Day only or for the whole weekend.
Washington Dining and Cocktails/Drake
(900 NW Mount Washington Drive, 541-640-8257, https://qrcodes.pro/wUL4uf)
$75 per person
Wine pairing options available.
The Table d’hôte menu ($75 per person) includes choices of a starter: Big Eye Tuna Carpaccio with pickled beets, cara cara orange, taggiasca olive, citrus-beet emulsion and rosemary crackers, or Seared Foie Gras with potato rosti, cipollini onion, truffled bordelaise, red onion marmalade; entrees: RR Ranch Prime New York with charred romaine dressed with bagna cauda, aligot potatoes, pickled onion and sultana relish or Seared Dayboat Scallops with beet and bacon hash, black lentils horseradish, red wine braised leeks and watercress; dessert: Frangelico Scented Dark Chocolate Budino with candied orange, Chantilly and hazelnut, or Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Other restaurants that will likely have a special menu include Five Fusion, 900 Wall, and Solomon’s at Tetherow.
If indoor dining is allowed, Lemon Tree will offer a dinner indoors on Feb. 13, but the details will not be revealed until next week’s governor’s announcement.
Valentine’s Day dinner specials
Pine Tavern Restaurant (967 NW Brooks, Bend, 541-382-5581, pinetavern.com)
Entrees include Beef Filet Bordelaise (red wine mushroom demi-glace), Slow Roasted Angus Prime Rib, Dungeness Crab & Shrimp Stuffed Salmon and Cajun Seafood Linguine.
Call for pricing. Outdoor dining is available.
Zydeco Kitchen & Cocktails (919 NW Bond St., Bend, 541-312-2899)
While there won’t be a lot of Valentine’s decorations, diners will have a rose on their table and a choice of: Slow-Roasted Prime Rib, Blackened jumbo shrimp with saffron risotto, or lobster and Dungeness crab cakes.
Limited outdoor dining, available for takeout.
Bethlyn’s Global Fusion (1075 NW Newport Ave., Bend, 541-617-0513, bethlynsglobalfusion.com)
First course: Vegan Miso-Tahini Squash Soup with glazed citrus sesame tofu, microgreens and Thai basil oil, or Lobster Bisque with crab poblano corn mousse, microgreens and tossed with basil oil; second course: Mixed Local Green and Roasted Pear Beet Salad with spiced roasted beets, roasted pears, pomegranate kombucha current dressing, goat cheese and candied nuts; main course: Vegan Wild Mushroom Cannelloni with truffle cream, fried Leeks, braised Endive, butter beans and basil or Crab Cake Lasagna with Béchamel sauce, soft mozzarella, leek, topped with crab cake, and saffron cream; dessert: Valentine’s Dessert Board (vegan or regular), includes chocolate truffles, chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate-covered pom moms, heart-shaped iced cookies and cheesecake.
Takeout only unless indoor restrictions are lifted. Weather permitting, patio seating may be available. Vegan or regular Valentine’s dinner options ($60 each $120 for two).
Trattoria Sbandati (1444 NW College Way, Bend, 541-306-6825, trattoriasbandati.square.site)
The intimate Italian restaurant is offering a Prix fix meal.
Shaved fennel and grilled shrimp salad, housemade pasta with Dungeness crab Cream (cook at home), braised short ribs with polenta and profiterole with chocolate. A list of wines is also available.
Meals are $85 per person plus 20% gratuity; pickup is 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 14.
As I mentioned in my Ghost Kitchen article, Cypress will offer a Wine Pairing Menu together with Va Piano Winery.
Starters: Crab Bisque or Cypress Wedge Salad with Rogue Valley Smokey Blue dressing; main course: braised short ribs with pomme puree and crisp haircut verts with garlic and shallot; dessert: coconut pecan pie or flourless chocolate cake.
Orders must be placed by Feb. 11 online or via email.