Valentine’s Day Dining
By Gary Parker, Owner
The WineSellar & Brasserie
The holiday of romance, where a few hours of time dedicated special to a loved one, is just around the corner.
Aside from traditional flowers, cards, chocolate and Champagne, it is a time when a special meal might be shared, typically and with high anticipation, at a fine restaurant. And hopefully, everything goes well there.
Maybe not. There are many pitfalls and small disasters that can occur when dining out on Valentine’s Day, and it is worthwhile to consider some alternatives and suggestions to help make your evening flow smoothly.
1. SELECT YOUR RESTAURANT CAREFULLY
Many restaurants will offer a Fixed Price Menu exclusively, which generally comes at a higher tariff than their typical offerings. If the added costs are fine for the customer, they need to make sure the menu offered fits their food preferences, including dietary restrictions and allergies.
2. MAKE YOUR RESERVATION CALL IN JANUARY
Valentine’s Day is one of the three busiest days of the year for fine dining establishments. The more popular, established restaurants are often sold out weeks in advance. These restaurants turn down enough people to fill their restaurants two to three times over again!
3. DOES THE RESTAURANT WANT TO “TURN” YOUR TABLE?
Without always telling the diner when making a reservation, restaurants expect the patrons to spend a certain amount of time completing the meal, and expect to reuse the table again that evening. Should the customer want or need to stay longer, the situation could get sticky.
4. BE COGNIZANT OF SERVICE ISSUES
Restaurants are often overwhelmed with the masses, and when the courses are altered as well, things have a chance to go less than stellar in the dining room. It is best if the customer understands this, and has a higher tolerance level for any inadequacies or hiccups that may occur.
5. CONSIDER GOING OUT ON THE 12TH OR 13TH INSTEAD OF THE 14TH
Valentine’s Day is on Sunday this year. Some restaurants will have a Valentine’s Day weekend, serving special menus or additions to the menu to reflect dining on Valentine’s Day. Making a reservation on one of these alternative nights may offer a better chance to avoid the masses and crowded venues, making the experience more intimate, complete, and less worrisome.