Some “date night” restaurants may still have reservations available. Last week, I saw a tweet that The Catbird Seat had an opening for up to six people, but I’m certain that that was filled pretty quickly (check anyway!). You may have better luck “outside the loop” such as in Belle Meade (Sperry’s, Whitfield’s), Green Hills (Firefly Grille, Table 3) or Berry Hill/Brentwood (Mack and Kate's Cafe, Yellow Porch). Or perhaps something a little more casual: Both locations of Porta Via (White Bridge Road and Cool Springs) have availability and a special Valentine’s Day menu (which includes both vegetarian and gluten-free options for each of the three courses).
But if you prefer to dine in for the evening — and still want something nice but without a lot of work or a trip to the grocery with a long list — don’t forget you have really good take-out options. Something Special, The Picnic Cafe, The Food Company, Corner Market Catering, McCabe Pub, and Perl Cafe all have fantastic options for a quiet dinner at home. Many of them will even prepare the food in your own cookware with advance notice (for those of you trying to really impress someone). Though much of it is easy to transfer. Pro tip: Order one of McCabe's strawberry cakes.
Speaking of dessert, don’t forget the essential sweet element of your evening. If you want the city’s best cupcakes, be sure to get to The Cupcake Collection pretty early in the day. I’m almost certain they will sell out. If your Valentine is all about chocolate, Olive and Sinclair has made their chocolate hearts again this year (check their website about where to find them; The Green Wagon still had some as of this past weekend). You can also get a really impressive box of chocolate — as in, the box is made of chocolate — at Schakolad in Cool Springs. Another great option is to check the bakery of the nearest Whole Foods Market. They make some lovely tarts and treats and also offer a selection of goods from local bakers.
But if you’re really looking to impress someone, here in the South, that means homemade Red Velvet Cake. Frequent Bites commenter Tracey has the details, some trivia, and a the authentic Red Velvet Cake recipe on her blog (it's not just chocolate cake with red food coloring). Tip: don’t top with shaved coconut unless you know your loved one likes it. Shaved coconut is the cilantro of the dessert world. People who don’t like it, hate it. Good luck. And save me a piece because I've never made one.
Any other tips for last-minute Valentine’s Day Hail Mary passes? Any restaurants have last-minute openings?