Chefs and restaurants pull out all the stops to dazzle diners on Valentine's Day. Also almost everyone is offering specials all weekend since the big day falls on a Sunday. Dine out twice and squeeze in smooches between blissful bites.
The Crow's Nest in the Hotel Captain Cook (939 W. 5th Ave., 343-2217, captaincook.com) has put together a fixed menu for Saturday and Sunday ($95 per person). The menu features options such as seared prawns, Dungeness crab salad, spicy pork belly and guinea hen saltimbocca. There are six courses in all, including cheeses and desserts like strawberry cheesecake Bavarois. Reservations are required.
Wine lovers will want to check out Crush (P343 W. Sixth Ave., 865-9198, crushak.com), a newer downtown spot near Nordstrom. It's featuring a three-course meal ($90 per couple) also available with a wine pairing ($120 per couple for dinner and wine). Appetizers include Alaska oysters on the half shell, a roasted asparagus salad or Danish baked brie. Entrees include pork osso bucco with Boursin cheese grits, fried zucchini with a lavender honey glaze, or butter poached Maine lobster tail with scented jasmine rice, braised fava beans and vanilla beurre fondue. A third choice is butternut squash, Wellington oyster mushrooms with wilted spinach and Cambozola cheese. Finish it off with rose water creme brulee with candied rose petals or warm truffle cake with hazelnut vodka ice cream. Reservations required.
New Mexican restaurant Ernesto & Ricardo's Grill (51 21 Arctic Blvd, 375 - 9161) is offering a special for the occasion -- halibut stuffed with crab, shrimp and lobster alongside rice and vegetables ($19.95). Reservations are recommended.
The Glacier Brewhouse (737 W. Fifth Ave., 274-2739, glacierbrewhouse.com) created a special that's available all weekend ($33.95). It has grilled and maple-sage glazed beef tenderloin with sea salt dusted Alaska scallops, bleu cheese au gratin potatoes, braised winter greens and a roasted butternut sauce. Dessert is a sponge cake layered with passion fruit mousse, strawberry coulis and a chocolate heart. The regular menu also will be available. Open seating at the bar, reservations required for the dining room.
Jewel Lake's Kincaid Grill (6700 Jewel Lake Road, 243-0507, kincaidgrill.com) is offering a decadent fixed menu all weekend ($65 per person). It starts with king crab served in cakes and en croute, as well as a poached pear salad with gorgonzola, candied pecans and a honey pepper vinaigrette. The main course features a roasted filet mignon, grilled warm-water lobster and truffle potatoes with wilted greens. Finish it off with a strawberry trifle featuring vanilla custard, chocolate sponge cake and macerated strawberries. Reservations are required.
Kinley's (3230 Seward Highway, 644-8953, kinleysrestaurant.com) has a special Valentine's Day fixed menu ($50 per person) Friday through Sunday. Appetizers include okra pan perdu on a shaved fennel and bell pepper salad with Creole tomato compote or poached oysters on an artichoke bottom with sauteed spinach, champagne cream and black tobiko. The soup or salad serving features an Arugala and field green salad with avocado, toasted pine nuts, red onion, crumbled queso fresco and a blood orange and key lime vinaigrette. There's also a ginger hot and sour egg drop soup loaded with shitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots and scallions. Entrees include a choice between a grilled New York strip steak, pan seared sablefish or asparagus, ricotta and purple potato crepes. Dessert is a sweet and spicy chocolate cake with tart cherry granite and plantain chips. Optional wine pairings are still being worked on. Reservations are encouraged.
Muse, the restaurant inside the Anchorage Museum (625 C St., 29-9210, anchoragemuseum.org), is offering a four-course fixed Valentine's Day menu ($70 per person, $100 with a wine pairing). It begins with a Neapolitan seafood mousse and then a choice of crab Napoleon or seared foie gras followed by a raspberry rosebud salad. Main courses include escolar glazed with passion fruit puree or seared half rack of lamb. Dessert is raspberry chocolate torte. Reservations are required.
Wake up with romance in your heart and have brunch at Orso (737 W. Fifth Ave., 222-3232, orosalaska.com) on Saturday or Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The menu features oysters in the raw ($8.95) as well as a petite filet and shrimp served over roast potatoes, herb roasted tomatoes, balsamic mushrooms and broccoli ($24.95). Dinner specials include shrimp marinated in citrus and grilled. It's served over mushrooms, red pepper and spinach risotto ($25.95). Another option is the grilled beef filet served over Yukon gold mash potatoes, roasted vegetables and Alaska steak sauce. A six-ounce filet is $32.95 or a 10-ounce filet is $33.95. The regular menu also is available and diners must have reservations.
Artsy downtown spot Sacks (328 G Street, 276-3546, sackscafe.com) is offering a three-course menu ($45 per person). Up first, Yukon gold potato gnocchi or braised pork belly and crispy Alaska parsnip puree. The main course is house-made arugula fettuccine or Alaska salmon. Dessert choices include Sack's City Chocolate or espresso anglaise. You can pair the meal with the wine flight for $11 dollars more. The regular menu also will be available and reservations are not required.
While eating at Simon & Seafort's (420 L St., 274-3502, simonandseaforts.com) you can gaze at Cook Inlet, easily one of the most gorgeous views in town. Its fixed menu ($60 per person) includes seafood cocktail or crab Rangoon appetizers, a choice between a spinach or Maytag bleu cheese salad or New England clam chowder. Entrees include a nine-ounce New York steak served with garlic prawns or crab and macadamia-stuffed halibut. There are three dessert options: chocolate amaretto mousse, berry crisp or vanilla burnt cream.
The chef at the Southside Bistro (1320 Huffman Park Drive, 348-0088, southsidebistro.com) said he's ramped up the nightly specials for the big day. Oysters with cucumber, dill, aquavit and caviar ($12), a carrot ginger soup and scallops with Meyer lemon-truffle vinaigrette, buttermilk Yukon gold mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables ($28). There will also be prime filet mignon with Cabernet Sauvignon risotto, glazed vegetables and maitre d' butter ($34). Finish it off with either grapefruit Campari sorbet ($4) or a chocolate amaretto cake with drunk cherries ($7). Open for dinner Sunday but not lunch. Reservations are encouraged.
Hip midtown restaurant Spenard Roadhouse (1049 W. Northern Lights Boulevard, 770-7623, spenardroadhouse.com) will spice up its Sunday TV Dinner special with a TV Dinner for Lovers ($14.95 per person). It includes a chicken roulade stuffed with snow crab, polenta with chevre sauce, a marinated grape tomato salad and dessert. The dinner also can be paired with a Domaine Napa Chardonnay. No reservations required, but special wine or beer requests can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
After a romantic drive down the scenic highway to Indian, sweethearts can stop at the Turnagain House (Mile 103 Seward Highway, 653-7500, turnagainhouse.com) and enjoy king crab ($36), a bleu cheese and bacon stuffed filet ($36) or Alaska oysters ($16) for six. Reservations are recommended.
By Rebecca Palsha
Daily News correspondent