*17 - Alden Hotel (February 14) Chef Sam Beier has created a lust-worthy Valentine's Day menu featuring Sunchoke Veloute, Roasted Lobster Salad, Shrimp-Crusted Flounder, Cane Sugar Cured Duck Breast, Petite Filet with Favas and Lobster Ravioli, and Caramelized Halibut, among others. The meal includes dessert and champagne. $95 per person. Reservations, 832-200-8800.
Anvil Bar & Refuge - "Dark and Bitter Valentine's Day" (February 14) For those still looking for that special someone, the hype surrounding February 14 can get a bit nauseating. Luckily there's places like Anvil, offering "an entertaining tongue-in-cheek take on this over-amped holiday for lovers, with a humorous play on Anvil's well-known passion for dark and bitter beer and spirits." The women of Anvil have created a special treat for singles and lovers alike, with comically named drinks ("Manhatin'," "I've Met Someone," "The Rebound," "I'll Text You") and sweets to enjoy them with. Reservations not required.
Backstreet Café (February 11-14) It's easy to feel smitten when surrounded by the lovely al fresco patios, cozy fireplaces and intimate tables of Backstreet Café. From February 11-14 Chef Hugo Ortega (see Hugo's below) will be offering a special 3-course Valentine's Menu including an appetizer, entrée, and dessert options against a backdrop of live jazz by Bob Chadwick. $59 per person. Reservations 713-521-2239.
Bistro Alex - "Celebration of Love" (February 14) Chef Alex Brennan-Martin's West side concept is offering a Valentine's Day lineup guaranteed to make you swoon, complete with your own expertly selected bottle of red or white wine. Highlights include Boudinblanc-Stuffed Empanadas, Turtle Soup, Shrimp and Grits 'Cheesecake,' Black Angus Beef Bourguignon, Deck Oven Roasted Chicken, Veggie Bucco and Strawberry 'Coquito.' $120 per couple. Reservations 713-827-3545.
Brasserie Max & Julie, Café Rabelais (February 13-14) Nothing says romance like cozy surroundings and fine French cuisine. Woo your petit amour with a six-course degustation and matching wine flight at Brasserie Max and Julie ($48 per person or $73 with wine flight, reservations 713-524-0070) or escape to gay Paris inside the loop with a special five-course menu from Café Rabelais. Three seatings: 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Sunday and Monday evenings. $48 per person. Reservations, 713-520-8841.
Brennan's of Houston (February 10 and February 14) Shake up your love, or celebrate your passion for cocktails, at Brennan's "Courtyard Bar None" Cocktail Party on February 10. Second in a series of monthly cocktail events, next Thursday's affair will include tastings and take-home recipes for Ginger Pear Cocktails, Passion Fruit Cosmopolitans, and Chocolate Kiss Martinis - all for $15 per person. On Monday, February 14, the restaurant offers a Creole take on love with a special menu featuring a choice of starter, entrée, and dessert. $75 per person. Reservations, 713-522-9711.
Broken Spoke Café - "From Brussels with Love" (February 14) Hot Belgian romance is on the menu at this little Washington Avenue eatery. The themed dinner kicks off with a choice of Asparagus Cream Soup or Scallops in Crawfish Sauce to start, an entrée option of Filet De Charlai Aux Trois Sauce (Filet Mignon with three sauces) or Magret de Canard a l'Orande (Duck with Orange Sauce), topped off with White and Dark Chocolate Mousse. $45 per person. Reservations 713-863-7029.
Caffe Bello (February 13-14) If you haven't already been to Tony Vallone's newest location in Montrose, Valentine's Day is the perfect occasion to visit. Enjoy a 3-course Sunday brunch on February 13 ($25 per person), or a special prix-fixe Valentine's Day menu of February 14. $38 per person. Reservations 713-520-5599.
Café Chino (February 14) Seduce your sweetheart with a special a la Carte three-course Valentine's Day dinner from Café Chino. Choose from soup or appetizer, entrée and dessert. Entrée options include Almond Crusted Chicken Tender, Teriyake Grilled Salmon, Poached Chilean Sea Bass, Grilled Lollipop Lamb Grilled Kobe Beef, or Wok-Fried Lobster in Ginger, Scallions and Sherry Wine Sauce. $21 - $32 per person. Reservations, 713-524-4433.