Restaurant News & Reviews

Share the love: Valentine’s Day means plenty of deliciousness for you, your sweetie

Valentine’s Day bourbon and sweet treats to try at home

Hear three recommendations of bourbon and sweets recommended by Bourbon Women founder Peggy Noe Stevens.
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Hear three recommendations of bourbon and sweets recommended by Bourbon Women founder Peggy Noe Stevens.

Valentine’s Day is coming and this year it is on a Thursday, which makes it hard to know: Do you celebrate before, after or on the day off? How about some options for all three?

One thing you won’t be giving this year: SweetHearts. Because Necco, which made the most popular Valentine’s Day candy, is gone. But Ohio-based Spangler, which bought out the company out of bankruptcy, has hinted the candy will return, possibly as early as next year.

Here are a few things that are happening locally to celebrate love:

KSBar and Grille is hosting a Valentine card-crafting party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., on Feb. 7 to make cards for people in nursing homes.

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Some sweets for your sweetie? DV8 Kitchen is offering six for $23.32 on Feb. 9. It’s a fundraiser with ABLE Inc., Lexington Catholic High School and Mustard Seed Communities; for an extra $10 (which goes to the LCHS/ Mustard Seed mission trip to the Dominican Republic) you can get them delivered, too. Go to to order.

DV8 Kitchen, 867 South Broadway, has a special deal for Valentine’s Day on Feb. 9: Cinnamon Rolls with pink cream cheese frosting and heart sprinkles. A six-pack is $23.32 including tax. The rolls are available for pickup at DV8 Kitchen from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. or by delivery for another $10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Mustard Seed Community in the Dominican Republic and the DV8 Kitchen Vocational Training Foundation. Order at

Dupree Catering and Events is doing a tasting dinner partnered with Buffalo Trace on Feb. 9 at the distillery, called Buffalo Love. There will be a welcome cocktail, passed hors d’oeuves, and a six-course dinner with pairings. Tickets (available online at Buffalo Trace) are $110 per person and include an optional tour of the distillery.

Dudley’s, 259 West Short Street, has two events. On Feb. 13, the restaurant will host “Galentine’s Day,” with drink specials including “frosé” (frozen rosé wine slushies) and buckets of prosecco. Chef Mark Richardson will be serving up goat cheese and beet fondue, and other dishes meant for sharing with friends. And on Valentine’s Day, Richardson will offer a three-course menu with choices for $70 per person. Highlights include a heritage pork loin dish with roasted grapes, aged cheddar grits, mustard jus, and fennel and arugula salad, and a rose water panna cotta with strawberry sorbet, meringue and pomegranate.

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Eight Horse Bakery on South Ashland has gluten-free Valentine’s Day cookies and other items available. Buy five and get a sixth free. Photo provided

Eight Horse Bakery, 442 1/2 South Ashland Avenue, is offering a “buy five items get one free” Valentine’s special from Feb. 12-16. And all items are gluten-free. Stop in or call 859-472-4942 to place an order.

Justins’ House of Bourbon, 601 West Main Street, is hosting master distiller Jim Rutledge for an evening that would warm the heart of a bourbon-loving sweetie: On Feb. 13, Rutledge will lead a tasting of his new bourbon, Cream of Kentucky, in Justins’ speak-easy room. There also will be a sample of an original Cream of Kentucky bottled in the late 1960s. Attendees will also go home with a full bottle of the new Cream of Kentucky. This once in a lifetime bourbon experience will start at 6 p.m. and end around 7:30pm. Cost is $300 per person. Call 859-317-8609 for reservations; limited seating.

Le Deauville French Bistro, 199 North Limestone, will offer a prix fixe three-course meal on Valentine’s Day with choices for $55 per person. Call for reservations.

J. Render’s Southern Table & Bar, 3191 Beaumont Centre Circle, is serving a three-course dinner on Valentine’s Day including two entrees of grilled ribeye, shrimp and grits or pasta quattro formaggio with shrimp or chicken, plus soup or salad and shared dessert for $60. With music from Carrie & Taylor.

Blue Heron Steakhouse, 185 Jefferson Street, on Valentine’s Day is serving a three-course menu for $75 per person with a choice of one item per course. Main course options include slow-roasted herb crusted Berkshire pork prime rib, Florida grouper with rock shrimp fritters, charbroiled eight-ounce Creekstone beef filet, braised veal cheeks or roasted pheasant with cassoulet. Desserts include butterscotch pots de creme, beignets with dark chocolate sauce and raspberries, apricot bread pudding, duo of sorbets or chocolate caramel tart. Call for reservations.

Cru Food & Wine Bar, 107 Summit at Fritz Farm, is offering a four-course dinner on Valentine’s Day, with chef’s Valentine’s Day specials on Feb. 15 and 16, too. The dinner is $55 per person and includes a choice of prime filet mignon, seared sea scallops, herbe encrusted rack of lamb or potato wrapped sea bass for main course. For dessert, there’s red velevit tiramisu, white chocolate mousse or molten chocolate cake. Call for reservations.

Athenian Grill, 313 South Ashland, will have a carry-out dinner on Valentine’s Day with your choice of two main dishes, an appetizer, salad for two, a dip, three sides and dessert for $40. Call for details.

Martine’s Pastries is offering a pre-dinner Valentine’s Day treat of shareable treats.

Martine’s, 400 East Third Street, will offer a Valentine’s Day l’apertif for two, with drinks, cheese and charcuterie, mini flatbreads, chocolate strawberries and pastriese. It’s $50 for two, by reservation.

Ranada’s Bistro and Bar, 400 Old Vine Street, is having a prix fixe dinner with optional wine pairing on Valentine’s Day. The restaurant also will have an art exhibit with paired dinner on Feb 11, “Reflections of the Heart — The art and love story of John Tuska.” Call for reservations.

Lexington Pasta Garage, 962 Delaware Avenue, is offering a four-course dinner for two for $75, including wine. That includes an appetizer of Parmesan fried polenta with marinara dipping sauce, salad, choice of entrees including lump crab on tagliolini pasta, roasted red pepper cream, spinach, lemon-pistachio gremolata, fresh dill or carbernet-braised beef short rib. For dessert, there’s either chocolate lasagna or amaretto panna cotta. Three seatings at 5, 6:30 and 8 p.m. Call to reserve a table: 859-309-9840.

Louie’s Wine Dive, 854 East High Street, offering a prix fixe menu with wine pairing as well as al la carte on Valentine’s Day. Call for reservations.

Minton’s, 760 North Limestone, is serving a four-course prix fixe dinner on Valentine’s Day. Call for reservations.

West Main Crafting Co., 135 West Main Street, is offering a four-course dinner on Valentine’s Day with a 21st century take on Colonial American cuisine of the 18th century with paired cocktails of the same period. Call for reservations.

Hear the Valentine's Day bourbon and sweets recommendations from downtown Lockbox restaurant executive chef Jonathan Searle.

Lockbox, the restaurant in the 21c Museum Hotel at 167 West Main, will have its regular menu as well as a three-course dinner for $55 to $65, depending on the entree. Entrees include braised short rib, line-caught golden tile fish, cast iron hog chop or pan roasted scallops.

Clawdaddy’s, 128 North Broadway, will offer a three-course meal Feb. 14-16. For $55 per person, you get lobster bisque or crabmeat and corn chowder; entree of Maine lobster with champagne and butter sauce in gnocchi or exotic lobster salad of Maine lobster in a creamy mango, curry, yogurt and lime served with avocado slices on a bed of bibb lettuce. For dessert, either chocolate-covered strawberries with a scoop of bourbon vanilla gelato or whoopie pie and gelato sandwich.

Winchell’s, 348 Southland Drive, will be serving pan seared sea scallops and hand cut 14 ounce ribeye for Valentine’s Day and through the weekend as available. Both will be served with two sides. Also having specials on wine bottles. Reservations recommended but not required.

Windy Corner Market, 4595 Bryan Station Road, will have a three-course Valentine’s Day dinner from chef Sean Willoughby for $27.99 per person. Choice of mixed greens salad with candied pecans, goat cheese and raspberry vinaigrette, or broccoli cheddar soup; for entree, either prime rib or red snapper with herbed compound butter, with steamed vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes. Dessert is creme brulee.

Distilled Restaurant, 120 West Second Street, and Heirloom, 125 East Main in Midway, will serve three-course dinners on Valentine’s Day for $75 per person.

Oscar Diggs, 155 North Limestone, will have seatings for Valentine’s Day dinner at 6 and 7:30 p.m., with a couples’ dinner on Friday at 6 p.m., too.

The Stave, 5711 McCracken Pike in Millville, will partnering with Four Roses Bourbon for a Valentine’s Day dinner. Call for reservations. The restaurant also is hosting Adventure Theatre’s “Valentine Vengeance, A Musical Dinner Murder Mystery Show” on Feb. 17. Tickets available online for $49 per person.

Amsden Bourbon Bar, 106 Court Street in Versailles, is hosting a Valentine’s Day that celebrates those who might not be coupled up. For “Love Stinks, Let’s Drink” the bar will have a large complimentary cheese and cracker spread with stinky cheeses, two for one glasses of select champagne and a $6 specialty cocktail: The “Swipe Left” has tequila, triple sec, grapefruit and luxardo cherry.

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The Swipe Left Cocktail, available at the Amsden Bourbon Bar in Versailles for Valentine’s Day. Alex Huber

Holly Hill Inn, 426 North Winter Street in Midway will offer the Feast of St. Valentine, Feb. 13-16. The meal features chef Tyler McNabb’s seven-course aphrodisiacs menu, with entrees including Angus’ Kiss, local beef New York strip steak or tenderloin with asparagus with blue cheese cream; Benten’s Song, glazed black cod with caramelized pearl onion, sticky rice and dashi; or Hathor’s Touch, eggplant soufflé with roasted garlic, goat cheese, fresh mâche, preserved lemon and harissa relish. Cost for seven courses is $100. Full bar and wine available. A four-course menu will be served Feb. 13, and Feb. 15-16 for $50. Sweetheart Brunch also will be served Feb. 17. Call for reservations.

Wallace Station, 3854 Old Frankfort Pike in Versailles, will serve Valentine’s Day specials including its signature Casanova Burger, with fried oyster, Provolone, garlic aioli and bacon; fried oysters with cocktail sauce; and tomato basil soup.

Zim’s Cafe, 215 West Main Street, will offer a four-course dinner for $70 for two (with wine for $90.) Available 5:30-8 p.m. Feb. 14-15. It will feature an amuse-bouche of house-made cracked black pepper cracker with salmon mousse; a first course of Sweetheart Salad, crisp spinach tossed with strawberry poppyseed vinaigrette and topped with whipped goat cheese, candied walnuts, and strawberries; French onion soup; choice of entrees, either duxelles and lobster tail stuffed beef tenderloin ($5 extra) or butterflied rainbow trout. A vegetarian option also will be available. Dessert includes cherry cordial semifreddo, a lightly frozen Luxardo Cherry mousse blended with flakes of chocolate in a chocolate crunch cup drizzled with a Luxardo Cherry and amaretto sauce. Call for reservations.

Broomwagon Coffee +Bikes, 800 North Limestone, has a special drinks menu for February. Check out the Love Potion, a latte with blood orange, caramel and espresso. Or the Spicy Hot Cocoa, with cardamom, cinnamon and cayenne. There’s also the Kentucky Hug, Golden Chai and a Blood Orange Soda.

Janet Patton covers restaurants, bars, food and bourbon for the Herald-Leader. She is an award-winning business reporter who also has covered agriculture, gambling, horses and hemp.