Jan 292003
Authors: hristopher J. Ortiz

If you are still trying to plan something special for Valentine’s Day, your options may be slim, but you are not completely out of luck.

For those who haven’t gotten around to it, or if by reading this story you just realized Valentine’s Day is in just two weeks, here are a few suggestions if you plan on dinning out:

* Don’t fret on trying to make a reservation; not all restaurants in town take reservations — such as Bisetti’s and Cia Vino.

If you are going to try this route, try to show up early, around 4 p.m. – remember, you are not the only person with this idea.

How long can you plan to wait for a table?

“It’s tough to say,” said Raffi Jergerian, assistant manager at Ciao Vino. “At around 8 p.m., we start getting busy.” Before 8 p.m., expect a 10 – 15 minute wait said Jergerian. Remember, wait times will vary with restaurants.

Also, some restaurants keep some tables open for walk-ins, so you might get lucky and not look like a schmuck for not planning ahead. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee you will be seated, so just in case, have a backup plan in mind, e.g. – dinner at home.

* If you are not willing to take the chance of dining without a reservation, try making reservations earlier or later than normal. Peak hours for most restaurants are between 6 and 9 p.m. One restaurant I called still had open tables for 4 p.m. seating. So try making them for around 4 p.m. before the rush or around 9 p.m. or later.

Depending on the restaurant, most book up weeks before the big day.

“Usually restaurants of our caliber are booked fairy early,” said owner Nico Zentveld of Nico’s Catacombs. “We have been here for 30 years, and have developed strong support for those (kind of days).”

* Just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. When looking for a place to dine, see who is having specials. Nico’s Catacombs is offering a filet mignon meal for two including a shrimp appetizer, crap salad and dessert for $55. Moot House is offering, for $34.95 a person, a dinner with a seafood appetizer, a choice of a main dish including rack of lamb, herbed tuna, duck, lobster or prime rib, and dessert to share.

Call restaurants for details.

* If worse comes to worst, plan for a Saturday dinner. Some restaurants are carrying their specials they had for Valentine’s over to Saturday. It might not be Valentine’s Day, but the thought will still be there, and that is all that counts – right, ladies?

Numbers to call for reservations and more information:

* Bisetti’s 493-0086

* Nico’s Catacombs 482-6426

* Ciao Vino 484-8466

* Moot House 226-2121

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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