Valentine’s Day is fast approaching; and with it, the question of where best to situate yourself, for receipt of those sweet nothings from your beloved. With special menus and offerings from a bevy of venues – the restaurants of The Venetian and The Palazzo have the solutions you’ve been seeking, on this most romantic of eves.
First up, is Chica – where Chef Lorena Garcia is adding a special Valentine’s Day dessert and cocktail, to the Latin American fare she serves, on the Venetian’s Restaurant Row. For a flavorful flourish, try pairing the Chica Strawberry Passion Tart (vanilla shortbread tart shell, filled with passion fruit curd, and topped with toasted strawberry meringue and sweet basil reduction) with the Daiquiri Ahumado (smoked strawberries mingled with fresh basil and lime juice, in Diplomatico Planas rum). The basil mixes beautifully with the strawberries in the tart, while the aged white rum used in the “smoky” daiquiri, is the perfect foil for those smoked strawberries.
Upstairs, off of St. Mark’s Square, in the Grand Canal Shoppes, you’ll find Mercato della Pescheria – where the Italian delicacies delight the palate and warm the heart. Get ready to raise some eyebrows (even your own), when presented with their homemade Tableside Tiramisu (imported ladyfingers, espresso, freshly-whipped mascarpone, and Belgian dark chocolate). As the name implies, this dish is made-to-order, at your table; and it tastes even better than it looks.
Returning to Restaurant Row, once more, we come to Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill; where the finale to Chef Timon Balloo’s Valentine’s Day menu - that includes Truffle Ricotta Gnudi, Prosciutto-Wrapped Monk Fish, and a Petite Filet Oscar – is his spin on Torrejas (dulce de leche-soaked french toast, with maple-caramelized apples, and cinnamon ice cream), that he suggests pairing with his Spice of Love cocktail (Grey Goose vodka, passion fruit purée, mango purée, and fresh jalapeño). A surefire way to put a hitch in your giddy-up, your taste-buds won’t be the only thing standing at attention.
Across the hall, at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, they’ve put together a Valentine’s Day pairing, wherein a snifter of Knob Creek Chocolate-Infused Bourbon accompanies the Mississippi Mud Flower Pot (chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, marshmallow fluff, and oreo pecan ‘dirt’). Cute, clever, and oh-so-yummy, this dynamic duo is Instagram-worthy, and gonna make you both smile (before y’all devour it, completely).
Rounding-out these options, is Rosina – the posh, new cocktail lounge, found off of the Palazzo’s casino-floor – introducing its Cocktails-and-Chocolates pairing program, just in time for you to avail yourself of it, on Valentine’s Day. The chocolates hail from Debauve & Gallais, the centuries-old French chocolatier that was co-founded by Louis XVI’s court pharmacist, at Versailles. It was there that Suplice Debauve first developed these pistoles, at the behest of Marie Antinette, who greatly disliked the flavors of her medicines. Later, Debauve teamed with his nephew, Jean-Baptiste Auguste Gallais, and opened Debauve & Gallais – the world’s first boutique chocolatier.
Fast-forward to today, and if you and yours order a cocktail at Rosina, between 9pm and midnight, y’all may savor one of the storied sweets (known as the Mellerio dits Meller* of the chocolate world), along with your drink.
Which? Well, according to Rosina’s Sam Ross, two of their most choice pairings are the French 75 (Ford’s Gin, lemon, and Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain) with the Pistole de la Reine (99% cocoa chocolate coin, with almond oil); and the Whiskey Sour (Buffalo Trace bourbon, fresh lemon, Angostura bitters, and egg white) with the Pistole des Affligés (60% cocoa chocolate coin, with bitter coffee). Ross notes that the darker chocolate is complimented by the bright floral notes of the French 75; while the milder, sweeter chocolate works splendidly with the Whiskey Sour’s creamy texture.
Valentine’s Day at The Venetian|The Palazzo
The Restaurants of The Venetian
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[Editor’s Note: Mellerio dits Meller, founded in 1613, under the patronage of Marie de’ Medici, is a French jewelry house that - as it has remained under family ownership for 14 generations - claims to be Europe’s oldest family-run company.]