Some people advise against going out on Valentine’s Day. I am not one of them. Maybe in large markets you run the risk of shoddy, rushed service and overpriced, underwhelming food, but in Buffalo, where repeat customers are especially important to an establishment’s bottom line, one can almost certainly cast aside those reservations. Restaurants here have a particular interest in attracting and impressing new faces, not to mention keeping their regulars’ piqued, and a special occasion like Valentine’s day affords them that opportunity. In terms of food and service, that means putting their best foot forward.
So, go ahead; make a night of it. Starting this weekend, some of the city’s best restaurants are pulling out all the stops. And as of press time, they still had seats available.
Butter Block 5-Course Dessert & Cocktail Pairing
When: Sunday, February 12, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Where: Marble + Rye, 112 Genesee Street
Cost: $55 per person
If you had the pleasure of trying the oversized, ice cream-stuffed macarons that once graced the menu at Marble + Rye or any of the homemade Pop-Tarts at Public Espresso, you know that the team behind local patisserie Butter Block has a knack for delicate confections, lusty pastry, and intriguing flavor profiles. This weekend, they’re showcasing the full range of their baking talents with a five-course dessert event that’s sure to rouse even the most hard-hearted Valentine’s detractor. Butter Block is keeping mum about the menu, but they say to expect “everything from the exotic and unexpected to bittersweet and classic.” Oh, and each course will be paired with a cocktail from the bartending aces at Marble + Rye, who promise a focus on tea infusions and fortified wines. Buy tickets here.
Nickel City Cheese & Mercantile Cheese & Sparkling Wine Class
When: Tuesday, February 14, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Nickel City Cheese & Mercantile, 346 Connecticut Street
Cost: $40 per person
Champagne and its brethren crémant, cava, and prosecco aren’t just for celebratory toasts and romantic interludes; they can also be serious food wines. To prove it, local cheese guru Jill Forster is partnering with Sandy Stimers of Opici Family Wines to bring you an opulent evening of stellar cheese and sparkling wine pairings. You and your S.O. can expect to sip, snack, and learn how bubbly’s varying degrees of effervescence, acidity, and sweetness can enhance the experience of eating some of the world’s finest artisanal cheeses. Call 716.882.3068 to reserve your spot.
The Dapper Goose 3-Course Valentine’s Dinner & Optional Wine Pairing
When: Tuesday, February 14, 5 p.m. to close
Where: The Dapper Goose, 491 Amherst Street
Cost: $60 per person ($30 additional for wine pairing)
If you haven’t made it to the Dapper Goose yet, make a point of taking your valentine; it currently offers one of the best dining experiences in the city. The service is performed with finesse and warmth without being effusive, and the food and drink ranges from very good to outrageously so. On Tuesday night, expect a prix fixe, three-course dinner with seafood, meat, and vegetarian choices throughout and a sprinkling of “surprises” for good measure. The menu, subject to change, includes options like short rib and truffle pecorino arancini, house-made gnocchi, tuna steak with fennel salad, and a sinful-looking chocolate cake. Call 716.551.0716 or email email@example.com for reservations.
Thin Man Valentine’s Beer Pairing Dinner
When: Tuesday, February 14, 7 to 10 p.m.
Where: Thin Man Brewery, 492 Elmwood Avenue
Cost: $50 per person
If beer is more your speed but you still want a gourmet dining experience, Thin Man has you covered. On Valentine’s Day, the restaurant will offer a three-course dinner featuring pairings like foie gras with sour ale, roast halibut and shellfish with IPA, and chocolate caramel torte with Baltic porter. Get your tickets here.
The Black Sheep “Ewe & Me” Sticky Toffee Pudding Kit
When: Any time you damn well please
Where: Your place, his place, her place—it’s up to you
Okay, so you really, really don’t want to go out to celebrate. I won’t make you. But if you are going to cook at home, might I suggest you get a little help from Ellen Gedra? She’s the figure behind the Black Sheep’s masterful desserts, and now she’s offering a DIY kit to make her signature sticky toffee pudding at home. The kit comes with ingredients and instructions, a set of two decorative bowls for serving, and a half-pound of Joe Bean coffee. Order yours on the Black Sheep website. Shipped orders placed on or before February 10 are guaranteed for delivery by Valentine’s Day, or choose in-store pickup and get it during business hours the next day.