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Five great places to get take-out for Valentine’s Day dinner 

click to enlarge If you don't feel like getting gussied and heading out into the winter — and crowds — with your valentine, but don't want to cook, either, consider these take-out options. Pictured: chicken enchiladas from Silver Iguana. - PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON
  • PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON
  • If you don't feel like getting gussied and heading out into the winter — and crowds — with your valentine, but don't want to cook, either, consider these take-out options. Pictured: chicken enchiladas from Silver Iguana.
Valentine’s Day is notoriously busy for restaurants, with tables booked weeks in advance and dining rooms packed tight.

If you can’t get a table or are looking for an alternative, consider staying in and having an intimate dinner courtesy of the take-out options many restaurants offer on or around the holiday. With cooking off your plate, all you have to do is create the romance.

This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday, a day of the week when many restaurants are closed. We’re spotlighting places that are open.

So clear off the dining room table (which you may or may not be using as a home office), light some candles, and pretend you never saw those takeout containers. If you’re not coupled up, call your bestie or treat yourself to dinner and delicious leftovers.


FOR SEAFOOD LOVERS

For some people, romantic occasions and seafood are a natural mate — there’s that whole widely-accepted yet unproven assertion that some shellfish, particularly oysters, act as aphrodisiacs. It almost doesn’t matter whether that’s true — placebo effect can be a hell of a thing.

The winter menu at Redd (24 Winthrop St., reddrochester.com) has you covered through multiple courses, featuring meaty treats from the sea paired with delectable earthy flavors that will brighten up a dull winter night.

To start, choose between the flavorful tuna tartare with apple mustard vinaigrette, avocado, Asian pear, and fried rice ($16) or Maine lobster risotto with lemon, truffle oil, and watercress ($21). The seafood mains include the tantalizing caramelized scallops served with cauliflower, capers, raisins, and almonds ($18/$36 shared) or a hearty, warming salmon dish with farro, turnip, shiitake mushrooms, and ginger-garlic broth ($34).

Redd’s eclectic menu also includes a variety of wood-fired pizzas, duck leg confit, mesquite-grilled steak, pasta dishes, hearty sides, and more.

TACO MONDAY

There aren’t a lot of non-chain places in Rochester where you can get a taco on a Monday, which is why we’re giving you a couple of open-on-Mondays options to keep in mind (information that’s useful beyond the day of your amorous feast). And yes, this fare is known to make the gut gurgle, but if you and your partner can’t stand a little gas between you, are you really that close?

The takeout menu at Silver Iguana (663 N. Winton Rd., silveriguanacantina.com) has something for everyone, including tacos filled with old-school ground beef, seafood, portobello mushrooms, or Brussels sprouts. The restaurant also offers salads, chicken wings, and daily specials. For the sweetest of days, we recommend the Cowboy Candy, which includes carne asada, pico de gallo, house-made chimichurri, shredded jack cheese, and tequila candied jalapeños ($6 each). All tacos are made with flour tortillas, and range from $4 to $6 a piece. For dessert, don’t miss the cinnamon-y, chocolatey, caramelly churros ($7), and consider the variety of margaritas on the cocktails-to-go menu, because what is a meal of tacos without a margarita, anyway?

Ox and Stone (282 Alexander St., oxandstone.com) has an impressive take-out menu worthy of any special occasion. Kick things off with the smoked trout dip, accompanied by chives, dill, and lemon, and served with salt and vinegar chips ($13). The tacos come family-style with either corn or flour tortillas, meat, and fixings. A highlight of that menu is the al pastor tacos, featuring spit-roasted pork shoulder, pineapple, and jalapeños ($24). For entrees, you can get burgers, oxtail ragu, and classic paella, but the menu also features some pretty unique flavor pairings, such as the chicken masala enchiladas with jungle curry, cashew crema, herbs, and lime rice ($23).


MEAT ME AT THE KITCHEN TABLE

When it comes to dinner on a cozy winter’s night at home, there are few things better than hearty comfort food.

You’ve got to place your to-go order at the bar at Lucky’s (628 N. Winton Rd., luckys628.com), but it’s worth stopping in for a cocktail while you wait. (Try the rum, apricot, and lime delight Knock on Wood, $10). Take away the savory lamb kebab, which comes with winter vegetables, hummus, harissa, roasted chickpeas, yogurt, and cilantro ($10); the English sage and onion soup (Lucky’s herby take on a winter classic, served with cheddar cheese, $8); the lemony brick-roasted half chicken with salsa verde ($24); or the divine pork chop paillard, served with root vegetables and mustard vinaigrette ($25). Lighter fare, like salads and sandwiches, are also available.


THE WHOLE MEAL, SORTED

The special Valentine’s Day takeout menu offered by catering and events business Green Zebra (609 Culver Rd., greenzebracatering.com) is, as owner-chef Lindsay McGrail calls it, “high brow bougie and low-brow yummy.” Couples can pick from three complete-meal options, which will each serve two generously.

The beef short rib bourguignon comes with a crispy potato croquette, French green beans, a mini charcuterie box, and a chocolate pot de crème ($120 plus tax). There’s a vegan eggplant bourguignon option for $85.

Or choose the Boursin stuffed colossal shrimp wrapped in crispy prosciutto with fresh pasta and sautéed broccoli, a mini charcuterie box, and a lemon mousse with berries ($120 plus tax). The third option is a “tricked out” nacho kit with all of the toppings — fresh chips, queso, pico, tomatillo salsa, pickled jalapeños, sour cream, cilantro, and black beans, with your choice of steak, chicken, or vegetarian ($75 plus tax). Order by Feb. 10 through the website; pick up hours on Valentine’s Day are 3 to 5 p.m.

Rebecca Rafferty is CITY's life editor. She can be reached at becca@rochester-citynews.com.
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