Thursday, February 10, 2011

Luxe File ♥s...Valentine's Day

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Luxe File Chicago caught up with a few of their favorite chefs - Jimmy Bannos Jr. (Purple Pig), John Coletta (Quartino), Dirk Flanigan (Henri), Kevin Hickey (Seasons), Ryan LaRoche (NoMI), Ryan Poli (Perennial) and Todd Stein (The Florentine) - to find out which of their sumptuous dishes they would recommend to kick your tastebuds into orgasmic overdrive and what were the most romantic dishes they ever prepared.

Jimmy Bannos Jr.

Purple Pig

If you're eating at the Purple Pig on Valentine's Day, Chef Bannos Jr. suggests: A bottle of Barolo; Salt Roasted Beets; Pork Liver Pate; Mussels with Pancetta, Marjoram and Creme Fraiche; Sicilian Iris, a Ricotta and Chocolate Chip filled Brioche then deep fried; and finish with Grappa.

Most romantic meal he ever prepared: I had to cancel our Valentine's Day reservations once at the last minute so I made us Bucatini all'Amatriciana and Nutella on Toasted Bread for dessert.

For a guy who grew up on his father's famous cajun food, we're sure his simple meal finished with a BANG!

For reservations, call 312-464-1744 or visit their website HERE.

John Coletta


If you're eating at Quartino on Valentine's Day, Chef Coletta suggests: In addition to the daily menu, the restaurant is running a special promotion highlighting Branko and Colle Duga wines and popular dishes from the Fruili region including Prosciutto San Daniele with Roasted Leeks, Fresh Ricotta and a Fried Egg; Prosciutto San Daniele with a warm Potato Cake, Wild Baby Arugula and Horseradish; and Prosciutto San Daniele with creamy Polenta and Montasio Cheese. Dine at Quartino on Sunday, Feb 13 and Monday, Feb 14 and receive a complimentary glass of Juliet sparkling wine and chocolate-dipped, long-stemmed strawberries.

Most romantic meal he ever prepared: I prepared this meal for my wife while we were in Rome on a balcony overlooking the Spanish Steps. I paired sparkling Asti with Pecorino Romano, Honey and Fresh Figs; Baked Zucchini Flowers filled with Ricotta; Durum Wheat Spaghetti tossed with fragrant Porcini Mushrooms; Roasted Bone-In Skate Wing with lemon and Seared Pineapple topped with Vanilla Gelato for dessert.

Nothing spells "amore" like romantic al fresco dining and a breathtaking view.

For reservations, call 312-698-5000 or visit their website HERE.

Dirk Flanigan


If you're eating at Henri on Valentine's Day, Chef Flanigan suggests: Start with Bugey Cerdon; Oyster Gratinee, Pernod, Leek, Onion; Seared LeBelle Farms Foie Gras on Brioche Donut, Pickled Berries, Gastrique Powder; Puree of Roasted Carrot, Curry, Chilies, Pumpernickel; Charred Octupus, Caper, Pickles, Cucumber, Caramelized Yogurt, Blood Orange; Le Quebecois Veal Chop, Beet Puree, Swiss Chard, Mushroom Ricotta Cannoli; Smoking Lobster, Spicy Greens, Sweet Potato Puree, Butter and finish with Vanilla Souffle.

Have yet to indulge in French-American cuisine prepared by an Irish chef? You're in for a treat.

Most romantic meal he ever prepared: One of my most favorite meals I prepared for my wife was Veal and Ricotta Ravioli served in a Veal, Tomato and Parmesan Broth and topped with Microplaned Grana Padano.

For reservations, call 312-578-0763 or visit their website HERE.

Kevin Hickey

Seasons at Four Seasons Chicago

If you're eating at Seasons on Valentine's Day, Chef Hickey suggests: Start with a bottle of Dom Perignon by the fireplace (purchasing one will entitle you to a complimentary hotel suite) then enjoy an aphrodisiac filled dinner, starting with freshly Shucked Oysters and ending with warm Chocolate Fondue.

What you do in your suite upstairs is up to you.

Most romantic meal he ever prepared: While my wife and I were living in Dublin, we were hit with a huge snow storm. For dinner, I prepared a Turkey, Mashed and Candied Sweet Potatoes, and Apple Crumble for dessert. When we sat down to eat, the power went out. The only light in the apartment was from the candlelight and the moonlight reflecting off the snow outside.

For reservations, call 312-649-2349 or visit their website HERE.

Ryan LaRoche

NoMI at Park Hyatt Chicago

If you're eating at NoMI on Valentine's Day, Chef LaRoche suggests: NoMI is temporarily closed for renovations but couples can book an overnight stay at the award-winning Park Hyatt Chicago, recently named one of the "World's Most Romantic Hotels by Travel + Leisure magazine. Indulge in intimate in-room dining, creatively prepared by our culinary team and the personalized bath butler service option.

An ideal setting for unleashing your inner Adonis and Aphrodite.

Most romantic meal he ever prepared: For me it's about simplicity. The most romantic meals with my fiancé are casual evenings at home with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon,
a warm Cassoulet,
and Molten Chocolate Cake. But the real icing on the cake is spending time together.

, call 312-335-1234 or visit their website HERE.

Ryan Poli


If you're eating at the Perennial on Valentine's Day, Chef Poli suggests:

Don't put too much pressure on yourself or your loved one, this should be a no-stress day. G

uys should have all the plans already finalized so show up to Perennial and we will do the rest. R

emember to enjoy the company of your loved one.

Perennial's elegantly understated four-course Valentine's Day menu is romantic dining at its finest.

Most romantic meal he ever prepared: It was a surprise dinner at my place. I cooked all her favorite food and we ate on a candle-bedecked balcony. Afterward, we drank champagne and watched the sun set.

, call 312-981-7070 or visit their website HERE.

Todd Stein

The Florentine

If you're eating at The Florentine on Valentine's Day, Chef Stein suggests:
Start with something bubbly, either prosecco or Champagne. I would suggest the Hamachi Crudo, one of our incredible pasta (handcrafted in house) dishes, either Butternut Squash filled Caramelle or Squid Ink Spaghetti with Crab and Chilies. Trout with Rock Shrimp and Lobster Vinaigrette, or Chicken is perfect to share. Try the Ricotta Cheese Cake for dessert, it's lighter than air.

You may even hear angels singing.

Most romantic meal he ever prepared:
By far the most romantic meal I have cooked was for my then-girlfriend-now-fiancé. For our one year anniversary, I cooked a six-course meal which featured Tuna Crudo, Sweetbreads and Roasted Quail, to name a few. The most interesting part was the fact it was the first time I ever cooked for her at home. It went over very well!

For reservations, call 312-660-8866 or visit the website HERE.

Photo of Ryan LaRoche courtesy of Anthony Tahlier
Photos of Kevin Hickey and Seasons courtesy of Four Seasons Chicago

Posted by Kerry Shorr




  2. These are great restaurants for Valentine's Day. Thanks for adding hotels into the mix. Just booked the Gold package at Four Seasons.

  3. Looking for a romantic venue for Valentine's Day? I wouldn't have thought of Quartino. I have only been to Quartino once but it's my girlfriend's favorite restaurant. Called Henri' about their "table for two", but it was already booked.