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Valentine’s Day: A Time to Romance Over Food and Wine

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menu moversBy Morris Gut

Amore! The coupling of good food and wine with the sensual is the aphrodisiac of literature and verse through the ages. Valentine’s Day is Monday, Feb. 14. While not all eateries are open on Monday, warm things up a bit and celebrate a little early over the weekend.

Restaurants and nightspots throughout Westchester are gearing up to serve some of their most titillating specialties. Take-out and delivery remain a good option.

Here is an eclectic round-up of delectable dishes and romantic dining venues for you and your loved one. Don’t forget to make reservations early.

The Arch

European-trained chef and proprietor George Seitz has maintained high standards at The Arch for 40 years. His restaurant is one of the longstanding culinary destinations in the Hudson Valley.

Be seated in the lovely stone hearth dining room and consider such eclectic global classics as house cured gravlax with all the trimmings; sizzling escargot; black angus Beef Wellington; roasted king salmon; and crisp honey orange roasted duckling. For dessert, try the Grand Marnier souffle. A fine dose of seasonal flourishes, too. Elegant, but not stuffy.

The Arch is located at 1292 Route 22 in Brewster. Info: 845-279-5011 or visit www.archrestaurant.com.

Kanopi

I have enjoyed Chef Anthony Goncalves’ culinary prowess for years, an enticing mix of his native Portuguese and worldly French eclectic.

He is now putting his talents to work at Kanopi, on the 42nd floor of the Ritz-Carlton in White Plains, with dramatic panoramic views of the surrounding Hudson Valley.

The restaurant is planning a special seven-course shared tasting menu for Valentine’s Weekend, from Friday through Monday. Featured specialties include oysters, ceviche, truffle tortellini, prime aged rib-eye steak and banana flambe with Chantilly cream for dessert. An alternative vegan menu is available. It’s $175 per person before drinks, tax and gratuity. Reservations are a must.

Kanopi is located at 1 Renaissance Square in White Plains. Info and reservations: 914-761-4242 or visit www.kanopievents.com.

Macelleria

This high-end Italian steakhouse with locations in Pelham and Armonk recently premiered a third location in Greenwich offering classic cuts of prime beef and chops along with a hearty helping of Italian-American specialties. Tony Lala and his crew will take good care of you.

Be seated in the handsomely renovated dining room with its warming stone hearth and peruse the menu over a good glass of wine. Choose from diver scallops; steak tartare; slabs of Canadian bacon; spaghetti carbonara; pappardelle with short rib ragu; zuppa di pesce; meatballs; and even a classic burger. Carnivores should consider the lamb chops, veal chop, New York strip steak or Porterhouse for two.

Open seven days for lunch and dinner. Macelleria is located at 111 Bedford Rd. in Armonk. Info: 914-219-5728 or visit www.macelleriaarmonk.com.

The fresh salmon is one of many fine specialties cooked up at Tesoro D’Italia in Pleasantville.

Tesoro D’Italia

Heading Tesoro D’Italia’s day-to-day operation is hospitality veteran Peter Lucaj and his family. The restaurant is divided into a main dining room for 100 guests, a semi-private fireplace room for up to 40 guests and a lovely glass-enclosed wine room seating up to 25.

There is an inviting bar and lounge area for networking and spirited conversation as well as casual dining. A dramatic wine wall highlights the dining room along with smoked glass dividers and white tablecloths. Grey and white hues help polish the space.

Check out delightful specialties such as chicken paillard topped with salad; eggplant rollatini; rotelli melanzana; fresh salmon; and broiled veal chop. There’s weekday prix fixe lunch and happy hours.

Tesoro D’Italia is located at 160 Marble Ave. in Pleasantville. Info: 914-579-2126 or visit www.tesoroditaliany.com.

Dive Oyster House

Kenny Neziraj, one of the originals at KEE Oyster House in White Plains, has opened his own restaurant with a focus on fresh fish and seafood. There is enough meat, poultry and pasta options to satisfy all comers.

A dozen pristine oysters is a good way to start your meal, served with three delicious house-made cocktail sauces, including tangy horseradish. Additional specialties to consider: fresh salads; tuna tartare; two-pound lobsters; lobster rolls; linguine with clam sauce; lamb chops; and filet mignon. Open seven days for lunch and dinner. There’s also a Sunday brunch and happy hours.

Dive Oyster House is located at 1201 Pleasantville Rd. in Briarcliff Manor. Info: 914-236-3911 or visit www.diveoysterhouse.com.

Alex’s Bar & Grille

Proprietor Alex Ahmetaj offers tasty surprises. The handsome dining room is split into cozy sections with white tablecloths, colorful de Villeneuve impressionist paintings and beautiful sconces. Mediterranean clay-colored banquets and chairs complement wooden walls and plush beige curtained windows.

Chef Nick Deimant’s specialties include pan-fried calamari with hot cherry peppers; linguini alla vongole, a delicious fresh branzino prepared tableside; classic veal parmigiana; grilled filet mignon; New York sirloin steak; a hefty rib-eye; and pork chops. The house-made smooth ricotta cheesecake (available for take-home) is top-notch, as are the cannoli. There’s a bar and lounge.

Alex’s Bar & Grille is located at 577 N. Broadway in North White Plains. Info: 914-358-1444 or visit www.alexsbarandgrille.com.

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Jack’s Bar

Owner Shane Clifford and his friendly crew have all the TVs and finger food you want. Generous specialties coming out of Chef Brendan Donohoe’s kitchen include the double-stacked smash burger; decadent short rib mac and cheese; Jack’s meatballs; seared scallops; chicken curry; shroom pizza cooked in the wood-fired oven; the Berkshire pork chop; and grilled lamb sliders.

Jack’s Bar is located at 219 Main St. in Eastchester. Info: 914-652-7650 or visit www.jackseastchester.com.

Cantina Taco & Tequila Bar

Host and actor John Solo offers good deals. There’s a three-taco lunch for $9.95 all season long, or you can choose one of the tasty quesadillas with steak, chicken or shrimp or a big burrito. They serve reasonably priced south-of-the-border fare. Try the new birria tacos, cheeseburger tacos or ongoing house specialties such as chicken wings, carnitas, chicken mole, garlic shrimp and steak fajita. Televisions line the long bar.

Cantina Taco & Tequila Bar is located at 166 Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains. Info: 914-461-3959 or visit www.cantinawhiteplains.com.

 The Barley House

The wrap-around bar area with its barnwood accents and high tops are inviting as are the ample TVs. There is a good craft beer selection posted on the wall.

This eclectic American kitchen serves generous, nicely plated specialties. Try the giant homemade soft pretzels with dipping sauce, tasty wings, eggplant meatballs or overstuffed sandwiches. Their burgers are prepared with a blend of short rib, brisket and chuck, served on a croissant-brioche bun.

A special pre-Valentine’s Day Champagne brunch featuring Perrier-Jouet will be served on Saturday, Feb. 12 from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Barley House is located at 665 Commerce St. in Thornwood. Info: 914-495-3333 or visit www.thebarleyhouseny.com.

Wings at Wegman’s

Visit the wing bar at Wegman’s Market in Harrison. One of several hot and cold food stations are now open. It’s a good place to stock up for your Super Bowl party. Info: Visit www.wegmans.com.

Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in greater Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at 914-235-6591 or at gutreactions@optonline.net.

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