There’s nothing wrong with being single, but it doesn’t feel that way on Valentine’s Day. The entire holiday seems designed to be a massive guilt trip for the uncoupled. That sensation can be intensified when dining out, since every table seems to be occupied by a love-struck couple.
So here are five spots where you can go on Cupid’s holiday to escape the why-aren’t-you-in-a-relationship-and-having-an-unforgettable-night-out-with-your-bae vibes.
Where to sit: Grab a seat at the bar in the always-buzzy lounge, where you can be as unobtrusive or as social as you like.
What to order: Treat yourself to a burger, because you deserve it. The classic never fails to deliver, but the Korean-ized salmon version (it’s a filet, not a patty) pepped with gochujang and kimchi is the real standout.
Where to sit: The showcase kitchen counter offers a front row seat to the action and you’ll keep your back to all the canoodling going on in the main dining room.
What to order: The fluffy Sardinian ricotta drizzled with local raw honey. Slather it on the slices of crunchy country bread boasting a switchback of grill marks and a brushing of olive oil, then toss on some of the black mission figs that accompany it.
Where to sit: Cozy up to the bar, where you can observe prosciutto being gracefully sliced or simply watch television.
What to order: For Valentine’s Day only, there’s an $85 prix-fixe menu offering diners the opportunity to try some staples alongside luxe-y one-offs. The black truffle amped beef tartare, pappardelle with rabbit ragu, pan seared branzino with even more black truffles, and Meyer lemon tart sounds like a stellar lineup to us.
Where to sit: The well-lit kitchen counter is cuddled into the far corner of the trattoria, so you feel somewhat removed from the lovey dovey action in the dining room.
What to order: Begin with a selection of charcuterie and cheeses, like Calabrian chili pepper pepped ‘nduja and intensely creamy robiola rolled in herbs. And any meal should include chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s pastas, like ravioli packed with rosemary accented braised veal and lavished with brown butter, and tagliatelle laden with a stick-to-your-ribs bolognese.
Where to sit: All the way in the back at the four-seat kitchen counter, where the happy clatter of the cooks will drown out the sweet nothings being exchanged in the dining room.
What to order: Chinese dan dan noodles featuring a tongue tingling trio: Sichuan peppercorns, chili oil, and chili peppers. A substantial amount of sesame and maitake mushrooms flush out the dish with deep umami notes.