Love Bites – Valentine’s Dining in Austin
For your true love, a valentine’s dinner that’s tried and true or something new? Love never tasted so good – dine your heart out at these romantic Austin restaurants.
A pinnacle of romance, three decades of patrons have enjoyed memorable meals at Hudson’s on the Bend in far northwest Austin. Now the next chapter has begun with a major renovation, a new kitchen team and owners making their own mark on the hill country fine dining icon’s legacy.
Starting at the top things are different – the rooftop now sports a lush garden full of kitchen staples including native herbs, vegetables and edible florals. Inside the elegant rooms you’ll find whitewashed walls with accents of wood and industrial steel furnishings. The décor, a mix of farmhouse, hill country safari, and modern Southwestern influences sets a romantic tone.
Noted Executive Chef Billy Caruso, a native to Lake Travis, honors the exotic game menu, historical to the restaurant with fresh takes such as Espresso-Rubbed Elk Back Strap and braised rabbit with tequila-laced pepper cheddar. The three course prix fix Valentine’s dinner choices include Brown Butter Sweet Potato Bisque, Uni Spiced Lockhart Quail with pistachio and grilled kale and Strawberry Rose Ice Cream with Pink Peppercorn Meringue and Chocolate Ganache. Make a trip down to the cellar and enjoy signature cocktails or select wines in their tasting area. Fall in love with Hudson’s all over again.
New to the South Lamar scene – you’ll crush hard on this plush, mid-century modern space with its soaring 19th century style British greenhouse inspired study cum dining room full of marble topped tables, to its midnight blue velvet banquettes and Art Nouveau style touches. But, the real show stopper is the 151-year old, ornate mahogany bar relocated from the famous Greenwich Village Cedar Tavern in New York City.
Indulge in the creative American Contemporary offerings from Chef Jim Trippi like pasture-raised Dewberrry Chicken Coq au Vin and Kennebec Potato Galette or consider sharing a generous dish for two with your loved one like the aptly named Pot of Goodness full of lobster tails, Littleneck clams, Gulf Coast redfish and shrimp in a luscious lobster broth.
Save room for the homemade desserts like the complex, sensuous Dark Chocolate Valrhona Illanka Budino with cocao nib crumble, milk chocolate macaron and olive oil yuzu sorbet and mandarin gel. Or find sweet tooth comfort with sweet potato cake donuts, maple parsnip ice cream, spiced pecan streusel, bourbon-laced sweet potato ganache and marshmallow fluff.
This little west Austin neighborhood gem has a delightful split personality – equal parts casual charm and upscale fine dining. Yes it’s nautical chic but, it’s also chock-full of love-inspiring quaintness and cuisine. Borne with quite a pedigree it’s yet another food hit from restaurateurs and chefs Larry McGuire and Tom Moorman, Jr., the Texas natives behind Lambert’s, Perla’s, Josephine’s House, Jeffrey’s, June’s and Elizabeth St. Café.
Snuggle side by side at the oyster bar or get a seat in the petite dining room and enjoy a cupid’s feast. There’s a gourmet-curated roe and caviar menu and Aphrodite-worthy lobster, mollusks and succulent oysters. Make a toast with martinis, spritzers or a selection from their champagne menu.
It isn’t Italy, but it almost feels like an escape to Tuscany. In northwest Austin, on the edge of the city, a two-story, tile-roofed limestone, farmhouse-style villa is the romantic setting for authentic Italian and Tuscan cuisine. Fireside, intimate fine dining from the kitchen of Executive Chef Harvey Harris is a flavorful event.
The Valentine’s menu provides four courses with choices of antipasti, primi and secondi piasti, and dolci. Options include: Sformatino di Cavelfiore e Patate, potato cauliflower flan with diver scallops and black truffle, Controfiletto di Manzo, Akaushi Wagyu New York strip, truffle fries and caramelized Cipollini, and Panna Cotta buttermilk flan, passion fruit, candy pecans, and honey lace. Do consider wine pairings or selections from their extensive wine list including many Italian varieties.
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