If you want to beat the Valentine's Day dinner crowd and dine for a good cause, Encore has you covered this Sunday, February 11th, with a Chocolate Fantasy benefit dinner for the National Kidney Foundation of West Tennessee. Encore chef/owner Jose Gutierrez teams up with Reinaldo Alfonso, chef de cuisine at Chez Philippe, and guest chefs Andre Renard with Sug' Art Artistic Pastry School and Serge Decrauzat from Valrhona chocolate for this special dinner. Cost for the dinner, which includes wine pairings, is $125, plus tax and gratuity.
Encore, 150 Peabody Place (528-1415)
At the newly opened Interim, Valentine's Day diners can choose raw oysters with champagne vinegar mignonette, lobster salad with mango and avocado purée, or potato cakes with goat cheese, pancetta, and apple sauce for their first course. The second course offers roasted butternut soup or mixed green salad. Entrée options include chicken breast with buttery orzo and spinach-olive tapenade, pan-seared scallops with Yukon gold potato purée, or grilled rib-eye with fingerling potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and cognac sauce. For dessert, it's a trio sampler for two. Cost for the four-course dinner is $55 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Champagne toast is offered for $10 per couple.
Interim, 5040 Sanderlin (818-0821)
At La Tourelle on Valentine's Day, dinner starts with a choice of asparagus bisque, pâté de campagne, oysters with three sauces, or a salad of sweet and bitter greens. Lobster-loving couples can share the split Maine lobster gratinée with wild-mushroom risotto and Gruyère sauce. Other choices include veal T-bone with porcini sauce and creamy carrot polenta and poached salmon in a champagne cream sauce with wild rice and shallot risotto and petite carrots. For dessert, it's whatever your heart desires from the Queen Mother Cake over lemon curd tart and Choco Lovers Cups to a cheese plate. Cost for the three-course menu is $50 per person. Diners have the option of adding an extra course, which brings the cost to $58 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
La Tourelle, 2146 Monroe (726-5771)
At the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, guests can enjoy an art tour with associate curator Stanton Thomas and follow that tour with a four-course dinner at The Brushmark from Chef Wally Joe. This Valentine's Day dinner starts with chilled Kumamoto oyster shooters with passion-fruit sparkling water or chilled jumbo lump crab, followed by date- and foie-gras-stuffed roasted quail on caramelized salsify and ginseng-spiked sweet-and-sour glaze or seared Maine Dayboat sea scallops with butternut-squash risotto. Then choose between grilled Angus beef tenderloin or seared veal medallions with crispy lobster-potato cakes, baby carrots, and truffle veal jus. The meal's finish is a choice of chocolate pain perdu (similar to French toast) with dried cherries, melted truffle, spicy chocolate malt, roasted banana ice cream, and gratin of lemon-lime. Cost for the four-course dinner, including museum tour and champagne, is $90 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art,
1934 Poplar (544-6225)
The Peabody hotel's Capriccio Grill and Chez Philippe both have something special planned for Valentine's Day diners.
Capriccio Grill has two menus that day. One offers about a dozen choices for first course and entrées and close to half a dozen options for side items and desserts. This three-course menu is $65 per person, plus tax and gratuity. A champagne toast is $10 per person. The four-course chef's-special menu includes a glass of champagne and starts off with zucchini-wrapped, herbed goat cheese and baby lettuce with fresh strawberries. The entrée is a filet mignon and lobster surf-and-turf, followed by passion-fruit and raspberry tart with champagne coulis. Cost for the chef's-special menu is $85 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
Chez Philippe surprises diners with a menu that features three aphrodisiacs per course. The meal starts out with an amuse bouche of pickled Kumamoto oysters. Thai curry-carrot bisque with Dungeness crab and mustard-seed tempering is the first course; second is baby arugula salad. Pan-roasted Atlantic salmon with asparagus and Maine lobster "beggars purse" or coriander-dusted filet of beef with caramelized cipollini relish and black-truffle/potato purée are the entrée options. A white-chocolate dome with a passion-fruit center is the grand finale. Cost for the four-course menu is $95 per person without wine pairings and $133 per person with wines, plus tax and gratuity.
Capriccio Grill (529-4199) and Chez Philippe (529-4188) at The Peabody,149 Union