Valentine’s Day reputedly is the biggest day of the year for a lot of restaurants.

Which is good news for consumers because every place in this food-crazy town seems to have a special offer or special menu for those of us under Cupid’s spell.

And it doesn’t stop with restaurants. Bernheim Forest even gets in on the act with a special dinner event each year. Oh, and NuLu merchants are hosting their first special Valentine’s event.

Here at a dozen great ideas for the day starting with dinner and room packages at the Brown Hotel.

• This Valentine’s Day, The Brown Hotel  offers a five-course dinner at its four diamond restaurant, The English Grill. The Valentine’s Day dinners are Saturday, Feb. 11 and Tuesday, Feb. 14.  The five-course dinner is priced at $85 per person plus tax and gratuity. Call 502-736-2996 to for reservations.

The 2012 Valentine’s Day dinner menu will include:

  •  VeloutéFanny Bay Oyster Soup with brunoise potatoes and micro chervil
  • Appetizer: Roasted Quail with sage rub, goat cheese grits, roasted corn and Maker 46 jus reduction
  • Intermezzo: Cranberry and grapefruit sorbet
  • Entrée (selection of one): cast-iron seared filet of beef tenderloin with oven-roasted root vegetables, Paris carrot, Brussels sprout, turnips and Szechuan peppercorn sauce; or sautéed coconut and lemongrass-encrusted Caribbean grouper with cannellini bean ragoût, roasted fennel, country ham and citrus hollandaise sauce; or roasted buffalo tenderloins encrusted with corn, roasted garlic and bone marrow, served with roasted fingerling potatoes and green bean casserole with huckleberry gastrique
  • DessertLe Valentin, a trilogy of chocolate decadence

For Valentine’s Day, the hotel is offering a discounted rate on three different hotel packages for two. The Hopelessly Devoted package priced at $195 includes: one deluxe room, valet parking, chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of sparkling wine upon arrival. The Endless Love package priced at $455 includes everything from the Hopelessly Devoted plus dinner for two at the four-diamond English Grill and breakfast for two at J. Graham’s Café. The Heartbreak Hotel package priced at $739 includes all amenities of the Hopelessly Devoted and the Endless Love packages with the addition of one-dozen roses and a bottle of Dom Perignon. Call (502) 582-1234 for reservations.

The Brown is at Fourth and Broadway visit or call 502-583-1234.

Follow the Brown Hotel on Facebook here.

NuLu merchants and restaurants are hosting Valentine’s in Nulu with a neighborhood open house. Most businesses will be offering discounts, free food, or entertainment. Come spend the day with your sweetie or pick up something special for that special someone! Participants include Gifthorse, Scout, Peace of the Earth, Hudson Home, Red Tree, Rellek, Revolver, Garage Bar, Taste Fine Wines, Flo, Eceuntros, City Concierge, The Green Building Gallery, Salvo, Ghyslain, Cake Flour, Swanson Contemporay Gallery, Barry Wooley Designs, and more!

* Ooo, la la! John Varanese is offering his annual 2012 Aphrodisiac Menu Saturday, February 11 through Tuesday, February 14. Each year Varanese combines ingredients known to inspire romance into his original red hot lovers’ menu. One year a women called and ordered one of everything to go!

Reservations are at 502- 899-9904. Carry-out available. More at the website, and click on Valentine’s menu for more on aphrodisiac foods.

Here’s the menu:

  • Jumbo fried oysters with mustard remoulade and chipotle sauce garnished with micro-cilantro: $10
  • Hearts of romaine, artichoke hearts and hearts of palm, Gorgonzola cheese, grape tomatoes, toasted almonds and strawberry vinaigrette: $7
  • Baked beef tenderloin crostini topped with caramelized onions and Boursin cheese:
  • $7
  • Grilled certified Angus beef tenderloin served with roasted garlic and fontina cheese whipped potatoes, grilled asparagus and finished with a Cabernet and thyme hollandaise: $30
  • Pan-seared Hawaiian butterfish (Walu) served with broccolini, oven-roasted marbled potatoes finished with a pumpkin seed pesto and romesco sauce: $30
  • Porcini-dusted cowboy ribeye with house-made bacon, bone marrow and leek bread pudding finished with a spicy roasted tomato demi-glace: $35
  • Lobster ravioli and grilled diver scallops tossed with arugula and oyster mushrooms with a savory saffron-lobster butter sauce garnished with truffle ribbon potatoes: $30
  • Chocolate, banana and peanut butter pie served with a strawberry PB&J ice cream: $ 7

• Volare Ristorante still has Valentine’s Day reservations available, but we wouldn’t wait. Enjoy a limited version of its current menu with your special someone. For more information, call 502-894-4446,

Bernheim’s Valentine Dinner will be catered by Jarfi’s Bistro, as always. A choice of two evenings is available:

Saturday, February 11, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday, February 12, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Bernheim’s Valentine’s Dinner at the LEEDS Platinum Visitors Center is a crowd pleaser and sells out quickly. The candlelit dinner for two includes appetizers, music and dancing throughout the evening. The menu from Jarfi’s Bistro is available at The cash bar includes a selection of wines by Jarfi’s. Commemorative photos are provided by Bernheim and everyone will have the opportunity to bid on an overnight stay at the Bernheim lodge for a future romantic getaway. An auction on an overnight stay will be available each evening. Bernheim members, $120 per couple. Non-members, $150 per couple. Space is limited. Call 502- 955-8512 for more information or to make your reservation.

* Ghyslain Chocolatier has a wide assortment of gift-giving options for this Valentine’s Day, including:

  • The six-count window box has an attractive Valentine print and a clear window to see your chocolates. This box includes one each of the Valentine specialty hearts: $13.50
  • The popular seven-count clear box contains an assortment from the Truffle Harmonie, Medallion Noir and Valentine specialty chocolate heart collection: $13.50
  • The heart-shaped box comes in two sizes. Each box has the specialty Valentine hearts.
  • 20-count medium leather heart shaped box: $40.00
  • 28-count large leather heart shaped box: $55.00
  • The large rendez-vous chocolate heart box is a dark chocolate heart shaped box filled with 16 chocolates from our Valentine collection and Truffle Harmonie collection: retail price: $40.00.
  • The small hand painted pink chocolate heart box is milk chocolate and is filled with six chocolates: one of each of the Valentine hearts. The heart is packaged in a clear round box. If shipped it is packaged in a white box: $25.00

The company’s four locations include Ghyslain Chocolate Artisan Center in Union City, Ind., Ghyslain Bistro in Richmond, Ind., Ghyslain at the Sanctuary in Zionsville, Ind. and Ghyslain on Market in NuLu. Online ordering, wedding planning services and tours are available. Call toll free at (866) 449-7524 or visit for more information.

* All Bristol Bar and Grille locations will have Valentine’s Day Weekend Specials Feb. 10 through Feb. 14 The chef-created specials will vary by location. Examples of featured dishes include crab-stuffed shrimp with passionfruit beurre blanc ($22, Jeffersonville); surf and turf with bordelaise sauce ($30, Jeffersonville); and lobster-stuffed flounder with beurre blanc, rice and vegetables ($25, Hurstbourne Pkwy.). For more information on specific offerings, call your neighborhood Bristol, check the Facebook page or the website here for updates.

In addition to the Valentine’s Day weekend menu specials, wine specials from the featured Milbrandt winery in Columbia Valley, Wash. will continue throughout the month of February at all Bristol locations except Jeffersonville, where they will be introduced in March. The Milbrandt Pinot Gris and Cabernet Sauvignon will be featured at $7.50 per glass and $25 per bottle. The wines will also be included in the “Four Different Grapes” and the “Cabernet Sauvignon Versus Merlot” flights, which offer two-ounce pours of five wines for $9.50.

The Bristol Bar and Grille locations and phone numbers are: Highlands (502) 456-1702; Downtown (502) 582-1995; Hurstbourne Pkwy (502) 426-0627; Prospect (502) 292-2585; Jeffersonville (812) 218-1995; and Bristol Catering, (502) 584-3663. For more information, visit

* The Bakery at Sullivan University has added several limited edition specialty desserts to the menu for Valentines Day. Chef Robin Richardson has created a variety of edible gifts ranging from 50 cents for individual chocolate candies to $12 for large heart shaped cookies. Valentine’s Day items will be available Monday, Jan. 30 through Tuesday, Feb. 14 during operating hours while supplies last. Customers are encouraged to call in advance to reserve their selections at (502) 452-1210.

  • Valentine’s Day items at The Bakery at Sullivan University:
  • Long stem chocolate dipped strawberries $2.50
  • Sweetheart cookies $1.50
  • Marshmallow pops $1.25
  • Heart shaped decorated cookies-personalization available $6-16
  • Chocolate candies $.50

The Bakery at Sullivan University is the retail outlet for the National Center for Hospitality Studies’ (NCHS) Baking and Pastry program.

* Marketplace Restaurant at Theater Square Valentine’s offering includes a $50 prix fixe menu, as well as the regular menu. The prix fixe menu includes:

  • Amuse: spinach and corn risotto fritter, pesto aioli, Parmesan cheese
  • Appetizer: crispy eggplant, creamy ricotta, tomato sauce and herbs
  • Salad: baby arugula, sundried cherries, goat cheese, candied pecans and lime vinaigrette
  • Entrée: choice of 48-hour beef short rib, roasted root vegetables, red wine demi-glace; or
  • seared sea bass with grits, wilted greens, bacon-onion marmalade and balsamic; or
  • potato gnocchi, vodka sauce, shiitake mushrooms and wilted greens
  • Dessert: passion fruit mousse or tiramisu

Add an optional wine pairing for $25.

Call 625-3001 for reservations.

* Holly Hill Inn, Midway, Ky., has a multi-course menu for lovers set at $75 per person. In the lineup:

  • Amuse bouche: crispy crab- or spinach-stuffed quail egg rolled in crumbs and deep fried with preserved-lemon vinaigrette
  • First course (choose one): Mediterranean Napoleon of crisp filo stacked with mellow parsley pesto, roasted peppers, marinated olives and sun-dried tomatoes, with a tangle of Rob’s baby arugula; a trio of oysters on the half shell dressed with pickled ginger and carrot with brown rice vinegar and crimson sweet chile tobiko
  • Second Course (choose one): bridegroom’s Spanish onion soup of slow-simmered onions in a rich broth with thyme and Marsala, over a toasted Gruyere crouton; or Eros endive salad made from local baby lettuces with crunchy endive slaw, carrots, jicama, Asian pears, toasted sliced almonds and avocado green goddess dressing
  • Third course (choose one): local rabbit slow-cooked au jus with picholine olives and fresh pappardelle pasta; gambas a la pil pil (head-on wild gulf shrimp) sautéed with extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, shallot, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, parsley, lemon and sherry; or goat cheese and ricotta ravioli with thyme and parsley and sauced with picholine olives, toasted walnuts, extra-virgin olive oil and fried parsley
  • Fourth course (choose one) fresh pan-seared snapper romesco with steamed Yukon gold potatoes, fennel and leeks, with bouille butter, saffron fume and manila clams; or smoked prime rib of beef cured in black pepper, thyme, garlic and mustard, then seared, slow-smoked and roasted with cabernet au jus, Yukon gold potatoes and asparagus; or three mushroom risotto made from local oyster, shiitake mushrooms morel mushrooms, asparagus tips and a rich morel sauce stirred with roasted garlic, arborio rice and white truffle oil, finished with Parmesan
  • Dessert: Carrie’s indulgences

Wine flights available each evening. Dinner reservations available 5:30-10 p.m. Call (859) 846-4732 or visit