Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is at our doorsteps. This is the month of chocolates, flowers, gifts, lovers, and romance. If you’ve never gone through the experience of trying to plan the perfect Valentine’s date night, you may be in for quite a ride. This is the busiest night of the year for restaurants. A night when couples are pitted against each other to see who can get those reservations at their perfect location, and who misses out, often having to compromise with their plans.
But fear not, wary lovebirds. We sat down with some of the experts on Valentine’s Day dining—Justin Thompson Restaurants—and picked Proprietor Chef Justin Thompson and Corporate Chef Tim Slavin’s minds on what is most romantic about food as well as some considerations to keep in mind when picking that ideal dinner spot.
There are a couple things you have to keep in mind when selecting your perfect location, the first of which is the romance factor of the venue and food. Make sure that the venues will feel special and different to your partner. Do they have views of beautiful buildings? Are they located in a prime part of downtown? Would he or she prefer to have a romantic meal over wine and French cuisine…Lady and Tramp it over some authentic Italian…a lover’s shared steak? These are all important considerations. We’d recommend somewhere that is near all of the action of Downtown Tulsa, whether that be the Deco District with a romantic stroll through the historic and beautiful skyscrapers and local shops, or in the Blue Dome and Brady District, just a short stroll from museums, galleries, bars, and the always love-inducing Guthrie Green.
Justin Thompson shares that when identifying the perfect romantic food, he loves “anything shared with your lover, aphrodisiacs such as oysters, avocado, bananas, etc. Food is romantic in general because it creates a shared experience with someone else. Everything from feeding each other to cooking together and laughing helps build communication, trust, and love; all of the things that relationships are built upon.” Noting that when he and Tim design Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe menus, these things always come into play.
Tim adds that he also loves aromatic foods with lots of herbs and wine that create an aroma and aura to surround the meal and the overall experience. “It ignites more sense than just taste, and helps provide a complete sensual experience through food” he explains.
As a restaurant group with three downtown dining concepts including a French restaurant, Italian restaurant (with conjoined caffè & market), and modern Steakhouse, the JTR Group definitely has this holiday of romantic dining on lockdown. “I love how many options we have between the restaurants to make sure everyone can get what they enjoy. We have three different concepts with completely different menus and wine lists, so you’re never going to go on a date and you or your date not be able to find something that you would want to eat or drink on the occasion” Tim explains.
But it’s more than just variety and location – it’s all about the experience too. When you’re out, you want it to feel special, taken care of, and stress free so that you can focus in on what matters; having that romantic conversation with your date. Justin notes that with this in mind, each of his restaurants offer “Prix Fixe menus so you can come in and tell us to take care of you and we’re going to provide you with the best food and wine experiences we have created so you don’t have to worry about the meal and can focus on time with your loved one. We take all of the work out of it so you can just enjoy being with each other.”