VDay minus two: Dinner out on any day but Saturday

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This may be a recession but any halfway romantic restaurant is booked by now. Hell, romantic or not, any restaurant that takes reservations is booked by now. So if you have your heart set on dining out this weekend but don't have reservations or just don't like massive crowds, dine out Friday or Sunday night instead.

I'm not a fan of prix-fixe menus at restaurants that don't normally serve them, and most restaurants go that route on Valentine's Day. In this case, the prix fixe will help you avoid ordering an esoteric dish you may end up hating.

Several restaurants in the area that have special Valentine's menus are offering them the entire weekend.

Cafe Europa

serves a three-course dinner for $40. Some menu

options include rack of lamb, wood-fired hen, chateaubriand and the big

O -- oysters, which our sister blog in Houston happens to be an expert on.

McCormick & Schmick's

offers its special three-course menu from tonight through Sunday.

If the picture is to believed, it features both steak and

lobster, and that's only one course. At $30 per person, it also comes with a choice of soup or

salad and a dessert.

My personal favorite romantic spot is The Oak Room at the InterContinental Hotel.

(But I'm not a romantic, so take that for what it's worth.) The Oak

Room's all-weekend menu starts with a glass of gruet rose

brute (champagne) and gets better from there, feautering crabmeat

bisque, hearts of palm with crème fraîche and lobster tempura. Cost is

$70 per person.

Out south, the Wine Bar

in Lukas Liquors offers the same three-course meal tomorrow as it

does on Saturday: $80 a couple gets a bottle of wine and three courses. Since it's Lukas, you know the wine is going to be good, and sure enough, the

menu features an up-and-coming New Zealand winery called Hawk's Nest.

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