Happy Valentine’s Day, OpenTable diners. In honor of Cupid and his bow, we polled chefs and restaurateurs about their picks for the most sensual dishes they would serve to put diners in the mood on this most romantic day. Check out our exclusive video with advice from Manhattan’s Zac Young (Flex Mussels), Derek Koch (MPD), Manuel Trevino (Lavo), Maximo Lopez (Wall & Water), and Johnny Santiago and Jim Chu (Jo’s).
Other chefs around the U.S. also weighed in…
Ryan Hardy, Executive Chef, Montagna at The Little Nell, Aspen: “A porcini omelet; breakfast food is sultry and the omelet is the most philosophically interesting food at 3AM!”
Michael Laiskonis, Executive Pastry Chef, Le Bernardin, New York: “I definitely believe food can be a sensual thing, triggering not only strong emotions, but also something ineffable on a primal level. The aroma and perfume of a dish are often the first cues that ‘puts us in the mood.’ More so than flavor, I think, sensuality is expressed primarily through texture — lightness, richness, and contrast. But perhaps the ‘sexiest’ texture of all is that of creaminess. The smooth elegance of desserts like crème brûlée or chocolate mousse seduces us all on some fundamental level.”
Michael Mina, Executive Chef, Michael Mina, San Francisco: “Caviar parfait will always set the mood.”
Kelly Liken, Executive Chef, Kelly Liken, Vail: “There’s nothing sexier than delicately prepared, local veggies, well balanced in flavors and textures.”
Patrick Quakenbush, Executive Chef, ZED451, Chicago: “Seared scallops over parsnip puree and red-wine braised oxtail.”
Ed Cotton, Executive Chef, Plein Sud, New York: “Fresh, white Alba truffles. If you have ever had a chance to have a beautiful white truffle, then you know the smell and aroma that it gives off even before you eat it. I love to simply shave the truffle, very, very thin, over the top of a bowl of fettucini pasta with butter and grated Parmesan cheese. One bite of this simple preparation and you will be craving this dish when white truffles come into season. It is a must!”
Arturo McLeod, Executive Chef, Benjamin Steakhouse, New York: “Chocolate-covered Canadian bacon with powdered sugar.”
Wherever you dine this Valentine’s Day, we hope your hearts are full. Be sure to share what makes a night of dining out a romantic experience for you in this poll.