Fine dining and hot lovin’

Relationships are very fragile creatures. Especially around the 14th of February. Valentine’s Day is a situation that must be handled very carefully, or you could ruin things with your significant other forever. And the right restaurant can make or break your night and your future. But with the right help, you can transform a best friend into a girlfriend, a lonely night into a night of meaningless sex or a boyfriend into a fiancee. Interested? Read on.

Steady significant other
You’ve been together for a while. You know you’re gonna score at the end of the night. In the wooing process, you’ve probably gone to every romantic restaurant in town – Filomena’s for your first date, Al Tiramisu for your six-month anniversary. You’re probably stuck in a restaurant rut and need to spice it up, just like you did in the bedroom with that banana flavored nipple gel.

You need something different. But don’t lose touch with the true purpose of this night: Getting some. So you need a restaurant with sex appeal that will let you cuddle without the envious eyes of less-fortunate lovers. My top suggestion is the Melting Pot, one of downtown D.C.’s newest restaurants.

The Melting Pot is a fondue restaurant. Pluses for a romantic night include, but are not limited to 1) It takes a long time eat there. There are a variety of menu choices (and you thought fondue was just cheese and chocolate) from granny smith apple appetizers to chocolate pineapple deserts. You and your lover can cuddle for hours over melted brie and swiss. 2) It has curtained tables so you can be separated from the rest of the crowd. Hopefully the waiter taps on the upholstery before entering. 3) The steam from the burner makes a lovely aphrodisiac, especially when mixed with the oily canola they use for cooking. 4) Bite sized pieces of food on sticks is perfect for feeding each other. And with all that melted cheese and dipping going on… it should be an interesting night.

If the Melting Pot is not your pot of fondue, other chic restaurants with curtained tables include:

1. D.C. Coast, a lovely seafood restaurant at 14th and K streets.

2. Equinox, a modern Italian restaurant in Dupont.

3. Restaurant Seven, a new eatery in Tyson’s corner

4. Firefly, a modern joint that features a menu specially

designed for couples to feed each other.

Recently together
You find each other interesting and could have a long future together. Unfortunate Feb. 14 falls smack in the middle of your courting ritual. You don’t want to overdo it. Nothing says psycho and desperate like a rose-petal covered table at Morton’s. But you want to show your love interest you are compassionate, caring, fun and interesting.

Choose a busy restaurant with lots of conversation pieces so you won’t be overwhelmed with each other. It will show your significant other what cool taste you have and if you realize you’re not as interesting as you originally thought, at least there will be lots of distractions.

I suggest Zaytinya, a Greek restaurant by the same guy who opened Jaleo near the MCI center. The decor is out of Julius Caesar complete with votive candles floating up at the ceiling that seem to flicker in time with the Greek music wafting through the place. To eat? Everything’s good, including falafel, lamb, eggplant and zucchini cakes. And if you don’t like Greece but like the idea of this restaurant try:

1. Marrakesh, an Arabic restaurant where you can sit on pillows and watch belly dancers shake it by your table.

2. Cafe Japone, a Japanese restaurant in Dupont where diners jump away from their sushi and sake bombs to slaughter catchy 80’s tunes on the karaoke machine.

3. Rumba Cafe, great Spanish food complete with a band and small dance floor.

Girls’ night out
The last thing you want to see when you’re alone on Valentine’s day is a bunch of happy couples. No matter how many times you and your girls say you hate men and are all swearing off guys, you are all secretly hoping all your BFFs will spontaneously combust and form into one hot guy. A naked one. To keep your mind off this, you need a busy place, preferably one where you can get wasted. Pick a table next to a group of guys and you may be seeing a naked guy sooner than you think.

I suggest Jaleo, a Spanish tapas restaurant near the MCI center. The tapas are good (especially the monk fish, green chicken, shrimp and patatas fritas) but the Sangria is even better. Order it by the pitcher and please don’t stop at one. They don’t take reservations, but they do have a lovely bar where you can kill time while you wait for a table. If you want to adios the Spanish food but like the idea, think:

1. Benihanas, a Japanese restaurant in Georgetown where they chop and cook food right at your table.

2. Mongolian BBQ, an all-you-can-eat make your own stir-fry joint on Wisconsin Avenue.

3. Enriquettas in Georgetown, a quaint Mexican restaurant where you can sip Margaritas until your girlfriends are cute.

Platonic friends
What you’re thinking: I’ll go use my friend cause all my other friends are couples and I don’t want to sit home depressed. What you should be thinking: Wow, single people get really drunk on Valentine’s Day. If I go out with my guy friend, all the guys will think I’m hot, be jealous, then take me home. To do this you need a cheap place (you’re not going home with the person you came with, don’t waste your money on them) that’s social, loud and has easy access to alcohol. Georgetown is the best place for you, specifically J Paul’s.

J Paul’s is so loud you might as well sit at the bar instead of a table. But the food is good. They are known for their raw bar and their BBQ shrimp appetizer, salmon and crab cakes are all good too. They also make a decent burger and Cobb Salad (for him and her). But the best part is the bar where you can’t swing a dead cat around with out hitting a single coed or hill worker. Try it. If J Paul’s is too crowded try:

1. Old Glory, right across the street, its six custom made BBQ sauces and delightful beer selection make for a good time at this BBQ joint.

2. Mr. Smiths, again, right down the block and features great happy hour specials including half price burgers. The piano man comes on the weekends if you stay late enough.

3. Marshall’s, good food (half price burgers on Monday’s) and great bar. Less crowded than the others.

Friends with benefits
You hang out. You hook up. But you’re not together. Tricky … very tricky. I suggest not going anywhere. It will only ruin that “special” situation you have. And you’re probably reading too much into it anyway and this will just confuse things even more. If you do go out to eat, try McDonald’s or Wendy’s. Better yet, go to J Street and spend points.

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