Valentine’s Day Dining

Wine & Dine

Claire's at the Depot

Where to go — and what to eat and drink — on that special evening

By Beth and Mark Luna

It’s been a long couple of years for most of us, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to take your significant other or even the whole family out for an evening celebrating love! You will find some restaurant and meal offerings highlighted here, and wine expert Mark Luna chimes in with pairing suggestions. While we showcase some great choices, we encourage you to visit any of your local establishments for dine-in, or even take out for that one-of-a-kind night at home!

Field and Main
8369 W. Main St, Marshall
(540) 364-8166
fieldandmainrestaurant.com

If elegance and style are desires for the holiday d’amour, then Marshall’s Field & Main is a must. Neal and Star Wavra’s award-winning restaurant offers guests hearth-inspired, locally sourced, farm-to-table cuisine that will take your palate on a beautiful ride. For Valentine’s night, you can expect jewels from their dedicated menu such as Olive Oil Poached Cauliflower and Confit Duck Leg, both adorned with delicious sides from the farm.

There’s also The Present Menu; as Neal will tell you, it’s a “celebration of nature’s gifts available at this moment in time.” Offerings include Hearth Roasted Maitake & Beech Mushrooms and a wonderful Bison Strip Steak, and all menu selections offer optional wine pairings.

As for wine, Field & Main has one of the top curated wine lists in the DMV. With bottlings that cover all corners of the globe, the choices of outstanding pairings are seemingly infinite. Standouts for the above-mentioned cuisine could include Goodfellow’s “Ribbon Ridge” Pinot Noir, from Oregon’s Willamette Valley; Domaine Tempier’s Mourvedre Blend, “Pour Lulu”, from Bandol, France; La Morette, an outstanding Corvina from Italy’s Bardolino Classico designation; and the legendary Ridge bottling “Pagani Ranch” Zinfandel, from Sonoma, California.

Claire’s at the Depot
65 South 3rd Street, Warrenton
(540) 351-1616
clairesrestaurant.com

Claire’s at the Depot in Warrenton serves as both a special occasion restaurant and a neighborhood favorite, which speaks directly to the casual yet elegant atmosphere set in a century-old historic train station tucked just off Main Street. The menu features seasonal, local contemporary American cuisine with a Southern flair, and the service is always top-notch. Claire’s, voted one of America’s Top 100 Romantic Restaurants in 2018 by OpenTable.com, will offer dinner service only for Valentine’s Day featuring a special four-course menu with several offerings for each course at $80 per person, which includes a glass of Prosecco. “We will offer several entrée choices for the evening, including Fennel Dusted Halibut, Veal Scallopini Marsala, and a Filet Mignon with Shrimp,” said office manager Donna Anns. As for pairings, Mark suggests Brochard Sancerre, the great sauvignon blanc from the Loire Valley France, for the halibut; Castello de Bossi Chanti will do well with the Veal Scallopini Marsala; and the Bordeaux classic Chateau Lassegue St. Emilion for the Fillet with Shrimp. Reservations are by phone only.

Denim and Pearls
29 Main Street, Warrenton
(540) 349-9339
denimandpearlsrestaurant.com

Warrenton Main Street favorite Denim and Pearls will celebrate Valentine’s Day Friday, February 11 through Monday, February 14 with specials in addition to their regular menu, signature cocktails, and wine specials. “We always do Beef Wellington,” said owner Jenn Robinson. “We started featuring that as a Valentine’s Day special several years ago, and people loved it – so it’s our tradition now!” Other romantic choices include Peach Arugula Honey Salad with added salmon, Pan Seared Jumbo Scallops, Espresso Chili Rubbed Flank Steak, and their signature Shrimp and Grits.

Start with a special Valentine’s cocktail and choose a wine for dinner. For the Beef Wellington, Mark suggests the Nielson Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara, California; pair the Jeio Rosato, a beautiful sparkling rose from Veneto, Italy with the salad; and The Federalist, a bourbon barrel aged Zinfandel from Lodi, California will hold up well with the flavor of the flank steak.

“Reservations are highly recommended because we will be extremely busy the entire weekend,” adds Jenn.

Girasole
4244 Loudoun Avenue, The Plains
540-253-5501
girasoleva.com

The charming and elegant old world feel of Lydia and Chef Lou Patierno’s Girasole is romantic year-round, and the Italian restaurant elevates for the Valentine’s holiday with a lovely four course, prix fixe menu for both Sunday, Feb. 13 and Monday, Feb. 14

Entrée choices include Ravioli di Salmone e Porri — salmon and leek ravioli, served in a lemon butter; Ragù di Cervo con Polenta Concia — venison braised with juniper berries, red wine, and herbs, over a rustic polenta made with Taleggio DOP; and Canneloni — house made tubular pasta filled with seasoned veal. Other course offerings include Beef Carpaccio with an herb mayonnaise and local micro greens and Burrata with English peas and shaved 36-month aged parmigiano Reggiano, extra virgin olive oil (antipasti), and Shaved Brussel sprouts with roasted almonds and Pecorino Sardo, tossed with mint, artisanal olive oil, and lemon (Insalate). Wine pairings with the prix fixe menu will be available for an additional $36. The full wine menu will also be open to guests, with a dazzling array of outstanding Italian wines; labels include Isole e Olena and La Gerla (Toscana), Adami (Veneto), Broglia and GD Vajra (Piemonte), Tenuta Mazzolino (Lombardia) and Di Lenardo (Friuli/Veneto/Giulia).

Reservations are available from 4:30 – 8:30pm. $100 per person excluding tax, gratuity, and beverages.

The Rail Stop
6478 Main Street, The Plains
(540) 253-5644
railstoprestaurant.com

Award-winning chef/owner Tom Kee worked in some of D.C.’s best-known restaurants before partnering with actor Robert Duvall to open The Rail Stop, a fixture in The Plains. A quaint spot featuring elevated American fare, the restaurant will offer a Valentine’s menu featuring an appetizer of Puff Pastry of Seared Colossal Scallop, Roasted Fresh Lobster and Chive Beurre Blanc. Mark suggests this will pair beautifully with the Gerbeaux Pouilly Fuisse, a graceful chardonnay from Burgundy, France. The star entrée will be Grilled Medallions of Filet of Beef with Mushroom, Shallot, Veal Jus and Truffle oil, Pommes Anna and Asparagus; For this, Mark suggests the Charbonniere Chateauneuf du Pape, the Rhone Valley’s perennial wine. To finish, they will serve Crème Brûlée, Chocolate Molten Cake with Chocolate Espresso Chip Ice Cream and Caramel, or Warm Lemon Pound Cake with a Lemon Curd and Raspberries. Kopke’s Fine Tawny Port would pair excellently with any dessert choices.

The Black Sheep
9935 Discovery Blvd, Manassas
(703) 420-2028
theblacksheeprestaurant.com

The spectacular dining room at The Black Sheep sits on the second floor of the renovated historic Thomasson Barn in Manassas, a rustic yet elegant atmosphere featuring exposed beams and chandeliers. A great spot for your romantic evening, they will feature both a prix fixe menu for two ($140 per couple) and a special Valentine’s menu. The choices are extensive, starting with a pick two shared plates listing, salad or soup, and entrees. Mark suggests Robert Foley Vineyards Griffin red wine from Napa Valley for the Surf & Turf (6-ounce filet topped with crab meat). Lola Pinot Noir from the northern coast of California pairs surprisingly well with the vegetarian option of Baked Pasta (homemade rigatoni in a tomato basil cream sauce with butternut squash, caramelized onions, and mushrooms, and melted mozzarella) and Pan Seared Rockfish over a Yukon Gold potato puree, to enjoy with Adegas Grand Vinum, a delicious Albarino from Spain. Dessert choices include Bourbon Butter Cake, Sticky Toffee Bread Pudding, and Chocolate Souffle.

Carmello’s
9108 Center Street, Manassas
Phone: (703) 368-5522
carmellos.com

Italian fine dining establishment Carmello’s in the heart of Old Town Manassas is normally closed on Monday but will open February 14 5pm-10pm with a special menu. Serving contemporary American cuisine with Portuguese and Italian influence since 1987, owner Alice Pires and the restaurant earned the Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator magazine for ten consecutive years and has been voted best fine dining restaurant by Prince William Today since 2013.

Carmello’s holiday menu will feature Vieras — capellini with shrimp, scallops, and artichokes in a delicate white wine garlic sauce, and Queijo Quente — baked brie with walnuts and cranberries, Grand Marnier flambe, local wildflower honey and crostini. Carmello’s award-winning wine list offers 32 pages of outstanding collections from around the world — look for the Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis and the Marchese Mariabella Valpolicella Ripasso to well-complement the Vieras and Queijo Quente respectively.

“We are accepting reservations for Carmello’s on Open Table or by phone” said General Manager Gabriella Buckley. Sister restaurant Monza will be open regular hours with the regular menu.


BEST FOR A HIGH SCHOOL DATE
With regional locations in Haymarket, Warrenton, Bristow, Manassas, and Marshall, this go-to burger joint is a real favorite of all ages. For the high school set, or anyone after an uber-casual Valentine’s celebration, duck into your closest Foster’s for a great burger and fries, chicken sandwich, wings, and even a salad or garden burger. Foster’s is consistent and you don’t need to put your nice clothes on if you aren’t feeling it.
fostersgrille.com

BEST FOR BEER LOVERS

Molly’s Irish Pub in the heart of Warrenton’s Old Town is a local fave with a menu ranging from fish & chips and cottage pie to salads and daily specials. Beer choices here are plentiful, from locally-sourced microbreweries to your favorite domestic/import selections.
mollysirishpub.com

At 2 Silos Brewing Company, order some Chili and Beer Cheese Nachos, loaded tater tots, or even tuna sashimi to set the stage for a hand-crafted pizza in the Pour Room. Year-round and limited release beer offerings from lagers to barrel-aged stouts are on the menu here, worth working your way through just to hang out on the Farm Brew LIVE campus for the live entertainment and people-watching.
2silosbrewing.com

BEST FOR A KID-FREE OVER NIGHT STAY

Airlie: The Airlie is for Lovers Package includes many goodies like sparkling wine or cider and chocolate-covered strawberries, breakfast for two, and a resort credit for on-property dining. Bonus: take your picture next to the resort’s LOVEworks sign!
airlie.com

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About Beth Luna 12 Articles
Warrenton resident Beth Luna has created content for a wide range of media outlets such as American Baby Magazine, New York Times Syndicate, Country Weekly Magazine, Piedmont Lifestyle Magazines, Parents, Boston Medical Center, Dalmatian Press (children’s books), Best Version Media (managing editor), Twang (managing editor), and an array of entertainment, arts, and retail client press releases, social media content, and websites. Beth is a long-time employee of TourDesign Creative/Live Nation, where she manages marketing asset projects for touring Broadway clients. She resides in Old Town with husband Mark, son Alex, daughter Annabelle, and mother Marilyn.

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