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Eat your Heart Out!

CHARCUTERIE TAPAS: Treehouse Bistro serves tapas of all sorts, such as a charcuterie and cheese plate. They’ll also offer a special Tapas for Two Valentine’s menu. Courtesy photo.

Valentine’s day quickly approaches, meaning love permeates the air in Wilmington stronger than before—and thanks to the aroma of delicious and decadent cuisine, too! Whoever said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach had the right idea. That saying is also applicable for those in hopes of winning over the hearts of the ladies.

That said, folks who want to impress a date this February 14th are in luck. Several of the Port City’s finest restaurants are offering special menus with mouth-watering delicacies guaranteed to keep sparks flying throughout the night. Whether an Angus steak or fresh, local seafood is desired, fondue or a 17-course meal—yes, 17 courses!—there’s something appetizing for all close by.
The Bridge Tender
1414 Airlie Road • 910-256-4519
$20.99 – $33.99 per person
RSVP necessary
The Bridge Tender, set along the Intracoastal Waterway, offers a romantic view and delectable a la carte choices for carnivores and seafood lovers alike. A few of their entrées, out of the seven listed on the menu, include: a 12-ounce certified Angus prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli and a horseradish cream sauce; bacon-wrapped scallops and grilled grouper, served with a jumbo lump crab bruschetta, asparagus and brown rice pilaf, drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Five choices are also available for appetizers, including Oysters Rockefeller, served with spinach, hollandaise, and applewood bacon.

The Little Dipper
138 South Front Street • 910-251-0433
$95 – $140 per couple • RSVP necessary
The Little Dipper is an excellent choice for any fondue feigns, serving several choices of entrées in addition to their regular menu. Various combinations, including chicken, shrimp, lobster ravioli, lobster, scallops, tuna and homemade vegetable dumplings will be available as entrées to feast on with the tastiest cheeses on hand for dipping. Included with each meal are salads, cheeses, an entrée, dessert and a bottle of wine or champagne.

Circa 1922
8 North Front Street • 910-762-1922
$45 per person • RSVP necessary
Circa 1922 is perfect for omnivores everywhere! As part of a four-course meal, along with two scrumptious seafood entrées such as locally caught and grilled Topsail triggerfish and seared Maine scallops, the restaurant will offer two salad options, one including a live salad composée, complete with the finest local lettuces and herbs, topped with cheese and crisp vegetables cut to order. Carolina braised pork and lobster claw are one of the four specialty appetizers available.

Dessert has yet to be announced, but is included in the meal. Coming from the restaurant that brought chocolate sushi to popularity, it’s easy to expect something great!

123 Princess St.
$100 per couple • RSVP necessary
Manna is offering a selection of five-course meals including eats that, at one point or another, have been considered aphrodisiacs in American and other cultures. One of three luscious appetizers to choose from is the lamb lollies, polished with a lemon and caraway seed oil.

A few of the four savory entrées presented include Cornish hen ballotine, with braised and caramelized endive; striper with crispy carrot paper, citrus vinaigrette and mascarpone risotto; and scallops and vanilla with cauliflower puree, red navel orange supremes, poached cauliflower, and caperberries.

The four-course dessert items, playfully named “Fourplay” and given numbered “bases,” include honey and apples, followed by berries, chamomile gelee, cream, then crème brulée and finished with chocolate pâté and truffles.

Caprice Bistro
10 Market Street • 910-815-0810
$39.95 per person • RSVP necessary
Caprice Bistro will be appealing to folks who fancy brasserie French fare, as they dish out three-course meals of exquisite appetizers, entrées and desserts. One of the five specialty appetizers to choose from includes their classic escargots sautéed with garlic and Roquefort cream sauce.

Entrées boast six options, including their delicious duck confit, served with balsamic reduction, sautéed potatoes and salad; a lush lamb cassoulet; or their famous Waterzooi—an assortment of Belgian style seafood.

115 South Front Street • 910-763-7773
$50 per person • RSVP necessary
Aubriana’s will offer a four-course meal, including a salad with roasted tomatoes, hearts of palm, and Artisan mix greens, dressed in a truffle tomato vinaigrette and an appetizer of chorizo sausage and Oyster Rockefeller dip, with whole wheat pita.

A few of the three gratifying entrée choices include the frutti di mare risotto: shrimp, clams, and lobster, with hearts of palm, roasted tomatoes and artichoke hearts. For the meat lover, Angus filet of beef topped with a chorizo spinach sauce and grilled shrimp skewers, in addition roasted garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed broccolini.

Dessert options include a red velvet cheesecake and an Italian cherry shortcake.

Press 102
102 South 2nd Street • 910-399-4388
$27.99 per person • RSVP necessary
In addition to their regular menu, Press 102 offers something special for Cupid’s favorite day of year. From a choice of three appetizers and three entrées, appetites will be fully sated.

The meal starts with an amuse bouche (a bite-sized hors d’ouevre) of Medjool date with walnut and goat cheese, followed by the first course options: classic lobster bisque, roasted beet salad or cornbread-fried oysters (served with pickled cherry-pepper aioli and truffled red-pepper coulis).

The intermediate palate-cleanser of lemon sorbet will prepare the palate for course two: seafood risotto, pan-seared duck breast or sliced Angus beef tenderloin.

Course three features outstanding dessert choices, like the “Lover’s Dark Chocolate Torte,” garnished with fresh cherries, whipped cream and chocolate shavings—an impeccable choice for chocoholics.

Treehouse Bistro
308 S. Lake Park Blvd
Carolina Beach, NC
$5 – $16 per tapa • RSVP necessary
Treehouse Bistro will be serving zesty tapas for two for folks who wish to go beachside for a romantic evening this Valentine’s Day. The bistro has a delightful wine list, superior personal service, thanks to owner Shawn Underwood, and tapas of all sorts, from fine cheese to a carefully crafted charcuterie plate.

Underwood also writes a weekly e-mail blast full of insight into the latest gourmand trends, which reflects the Treehouse Bistro’s menu. Be sure to sign up; it’s full of personality, so it’s like reading an unexpected letter from a friend.

Blockade Runner Beach Resort East Restaurant
275 Waynick Boulevard
Wrightsville Beach
Dinner $35 per person • RSVP necessary
One night hotel package: $159
Blockader Runner Beach Resort’s East Restaurant has prepared a special menu with appetizers, salad, an entrée and dessert for the holiday of love.

Starting off the meal will be either five-spice calamari, artichokes Française and lobster bisque. A salad comes next, followed by the main course options: flat iron steak, mahi-mahi, Frenched chicken saltimbocca and Hong Kong-glazed salmon.

For dessert, the options are Godiva chocolate mousse and three-berry and Amaretto trifle.

Upgrade the night with Blockade’s special package, which includes waterfront accomodations, the four-course dinner for two, movie tickets to Regal Cinemas in Mayfaire, breakfast for two the next day, as well as a special Valentine’s Day gift.

Crow Hill
9 S. Front St. • 910-228-5332
$27.99 per person
RSVP recommended
In addition to serving their regular menu, Crow Hill will be welcoming lovers with an a la carte Valentine’s Weekend Menu, offered Friday through Monday! Appetizers consist of lamp lollipops, served with seared foie gras, phyllo dough and cherry gastrique; smoked trout rillettes, with whole grain mustard, pickled red onion, cornichos and mixed greens with crostini; or buttermilk-fried quail, with lentils studded with Benton’s bacon.

Entrées can be chose from a porcini-crusted filet mignon, served with creamed spinach, mashed poatoes demi-glace; pan-seared driver scallops, with parsnip puree, lemon-shallot-steamed spinach and Champagne beurre blanc; or crispy duck breast, served with vanilla poached pear, fingerling potatoes and fennel pollen honey.

Pine Valley Market
3520 S. College Rd • 910-350-FOOD
RSVP by February 10th
The folks over at Wilmington’s famous gourmet market have a lot of yumminess up their sleeves come Saturday the 12th. They’re featuring two seatings, 6-8 p.m. or 8-10 p.m., as part of their V-Day Dinner Club.

The four-course meal comes with an appetizer course, feauring items like beef carpaccio, Oysters Rockefeller, butter-poached lobster and shrimp and grit “‘tini.”

Course two will be a light salad choice, from the classic Caesar to mixed greens and spinach to a Colombian variety, served with iceberg lettuce in a zesty lemon vinaigrette, covered in julienned Swiss cheese, green olives, vine-ripened tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.

The main attraction comes with course three: seared duck breast with a cherry balsamic reduction over roasted fingerling potatoes; braised lamb shank (with wild mushroom ragout over Manchego polenta—yum!); chicken marsala; PVM’s award-winning paella for two; blackened double-cut pork chop; and Ancho-crusted filet.

A dessert to share includes raspberry creme brulee, flourless chocolate torte, coconut rum cake and banana bread pudding!

The Wine Sampler and Little Pond Catering
17-course wine dinner: $150 per person
If there were ever a mac-daddy of foodie events for this town to relish, this may just be it! The Wine Sampler is pairing up with Tommy Mills of Little Pond Catering on Friday, February 11th, for a 17-course extravaganza, featuring a wine pairing with every bite. Though specifics on the menu haven’t been revealed, have faith that this will not disappoint! In fact, it’s being coined the “gastronomical event of the year!”

For $150 a person, tax, gratuity, wine and 17 courses are included. Be sure to e-mail Pious Choi, owner of the Wine Sampler, at to RSVP to “A Night to Remember.” The dinner is open to 24 people only and begins at 6:30 p.m. at Little Pond Catering on Princess Place Drive.

Verandah Cafe at the Holiday Inn Resort
1706 N. Lumina Avenue
Wrightsville Beach
$24.95 – $29.95 per person
RSVP recommended
Take the chance to dine outside on Wrightsville Beach (should the weather allow it, of course), as Holiday Inn Sunpree Resort’s Verandah Cafe will offer a three-course menu for only $25 to $30 a person.

Course one comes with two appetizer choices: lobster chowder or arugula salad. Course two will provide three choices, two of which are veal scallopini or pecan-pesto grouper, and dessert includes a heart-shaped chocolate mousse with pear filling and raspberry sauce.

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