A Very Meaty Valentine's Day

The most romantic day of the year is almost here, which means one of the biggest restaurant days of the year is too. Love it or bemoan it, Valentine's Day is around the bend, and when it comes to heartfelt holiday dining, you can't do much better than Chicago's steakhouses. Woo your loved one with a meal at one of these stellar spots this February 14. 


III Forks Prime Steakhouse
III Forks Prime Steakhouse

III Forks Prime Steakhouse: The 2016 "Sweetheart Menu" at this downtown stunner is a three-course affair available February 6 through February 14, so you've got plenty of opportunity to partake. First, guests choose between the signature III Forks salad or lobster bisque, followed by a surf and turf combo for two, featuring two filet mignon steaks and two lobster tails. A chocolate-lovers treat is for dessert. The menu is $170 per couple, with optional sparkling wine selections as supplements. 

Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse: This Valentine's Day, Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse is bound to be as romantic as that scene from Lady and the Tramp. But even better, because instead of sharing a strand of spaghetti, you and your love will be sharing bites of steak. All locations of Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse will be serving romantic candlelit dinners from February 12 through February 14, featuring three courses for $130 per couple, inclusive of a split of Prosecco per person. Starter options include pancetta-wrapped scampi with charred escarole and Calabrian chile oil; "Mare Monte" with ahi tuna crudo, prime beef carpaccio, caper aioli, bagna cauda, and arugula; and nduja-stuffed grilled calamari with creamy polenta, acqua pazza, and saba. For the main course, guests choose from "steak & eggs" with filet mignon, sunny-side up  quail egg, rosti potato, and brown butter hollandaise; beef short rib risotto with diver scallops, roasted butternut squash, and toasted pumpkin oil; and red snapper in cartoccio with Gaeta olives, melted leeks, grape tomatoes, and charred escarole. Then for dessert, there's a tiramisu cake shake with Italian cookies or a Meyer lemon tart with toasted pine nut brittle and candied lemon zest. 

Gene & Georgetti: If there's one thing better than a romantic plate of steak, it's a romantic plate of steak with a side of live entertainment. The Rosemont location of iconic steakhouse Gene & Georgetti ups the ante this year with a transformation into a supper club for Valentine's Day, featuring a live performance dubbed "A Fine Romance." On February 14, The Estate at Gene & Georgetti features a show at 7:00 p.m., which can be enjoyed by itself for $30 per person or with dinner for $95 (seatings for dinner begin at 5:30 p.m.). For those partaking in dinner, it starts with a complimentary bottle of Prosecco for each couple, followed by a four-course meal. Said meal features scallops wrapped in bacon, Maryland lump crab cakes, or prosciutto melone to start, followed by salad options of apples with Belgian endive and Brie, or roasted beets and goat cheese. For entrees, there's a surf and turf option with filet mignon and lobster tail; a prime center-cut of tenderloin with au gratin potatoes, asparagus, and bearnaise sauce; seafood risotto; or classic duck a l'orange with mashed sweet potatoes and orange sauce. Lastly, dessert options include a lemon tart with almond-lemon cookie; apple gateau with puff pastry and baked apples; or Italian meringue and raspberry coulis with passion fruit and strawberry compote. 

Maple & Ash: Another solid option for multi-course romantic dining is Maple & Ash, one of the hottest new steakhouse arrivals in Chicago. The Gold Coast bastion, which has quickly amassed renowned for its sleek, contemporary approach to the steakhouse template, will be serving a four-course dinner menu on Valentine's Day for $95 per person. The regular menu will not be available. 

Devon Seafood Grill: Equally adept at turf as they are surf, this River North staple is giving diners two different chances to revel in Valentine's Day dining. One is at dinnertime, wherein Devon offers dinner specials February 12 through February 14, including lobster tail, filet Oscar, or surf and turf pairings. Additionally, the restaurant is featuring Valentine's Day dinner menus in the downstairs dining room, featuring items like shellfish bouillabaisse, grilled salmon panzanella, pretzel-crusted trout, New Zealand lamb, steaks, and more. Then there's the Valentine's Day brunch buffet, served from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. This grandiose display includes starter options like biscuits and gravy, sweet potato corn hash, scrambled eggs, mini bagels, breakfast breads, Belgian waffles, and more. Then guests can hit up the carving station to partake in slow-roasted prime rib, Thai chicken wings, chicken piccata, maple-glazed salmon, lobster mac 'n' cheese, and vegetables. There's also an ample chilled seafood display and a decadent sweets table laden with mini carrot cakes, panna cotta, key lime tarts, white chocolate mousse, and much more. The brunch buffet costs $35 for adults, $14 for children between five and 12, and free for those four and younger.

Roka Akor: For beefy Valentine's Day dining with a Japanese accent, you can't do better than Roka Akor. Unique to the Valentine's Day dining landscape this year, Roka Akor's holiday menus offer something for every discerning palate, because chef Ce Bian knows that not all couples eat alike. The five-course prix fixe offers items like beef tataki with fresh shaved truffle, Prime NY strip with fresh truffle and truffle aioli, toro tartare with osetra caviar, quail egg, and taro chips, and robata grilled sea bass with roasted butternut squash and peppercorn broth. The cost for the menu is $98 per person, with optional upgrades like Japanese Mizayaki grade A5-10+ Wagyu for an additional $30. There's also beverage pairing options. The special prix fixe is available both February 13 and February 14. 

Tavern on Rush: Things are getting ritzy and romantic at Tavern on Rush this Valentine's Day. All weekend long, the Gold Coast destination is offering glasses of prestigious Dom Perignon and chocolate fondue for two for $45. It's an appropriately lavish and decadent way to finish off a Valentine's Day meal with your sweetheart. 

- Matt Kirouac