Candle light. Romantic poems. Your significant other doing the dishes for once in his or her life. All these go a long way to fan the flames of passion on Valentine’s Day — but nothing stirs the soul (and body) quite as effectively as a bar of 72% chocolate, a glass of red wine, and maybe an avocado thrown in for good measure.
That’s because they’ve long been considered to be natural aphrodisiacs — foods that induce sexual desire by increasing serotonin levels and boosting blood flow while tasting devastatingly delicious, all at the same time.
Want to get some real bang for your buck this Valentine’s Day (pun intended)? The aphrodisiac-loving dishes at these great area restaurants will definitely double your pleasure — and double your fun.
The Owl’s Head: Red Wine
Nothing gets the juices flowing like a perfect glass of red wine, and the sultry vinos served at Bay Ridge newcomer The Owl’s Head will get any night started off right. “Like the love between two people, each different wine has received a very particular treatment before it reaches the table,” said owner John Avelluto. “It’s upon pulling the cork that we get to share in a complex romance within the bottle and, now, with the person we clink our glasses with.” Extra credit in the romance department if you pair your soft and velvety glass of Rio Madre Rioja with a stimulating chocolate hazelnut bread pudding ($8), or a stamina-boosting lobster ceviche with blood orange and tarragon ($12).
The Owl’s Head [479 74th St. between Fourth and Fifth avenues in Bay Ridge, (718) 680-2436].
Jacques Torres: Chocolate
When it comes to the king of aphrodisiacs, it’s a no-brainer to hit up Mr. Chocolate in DUMBO. Sure you can go for hand-rolled truffles, choco lollipops or edible “I Luv U Puzzles,” but the Wicked Hot Chocolate ($18) — a decadent chocolate drinking mix with a rush of endorphin-releasing chili peppers — will deliver a one-two-punch to your sexy parts.
Jacques Torres [66 Water St. at Main Street in DUMBO, (718) 875-9772].
Caracas Arepa Bar: Avocados
The Venezuelan corn patties at this popular ‘Billyburg spot bear no relation to those greasy gut bombs peddled at street fair food carts. Our heart races for the La del Gato ($6.75) — packed with salty guayanes cheese, fried sweet plantains, and sensuous slices of creamy avocado that will leave your taste buds tingling — and your blood pumping to all the right places.
Caracas Arepa Bar [291 Grand St. between Roebling and Havemeyer streets in Williamsburg, (718) 218-6050].
Yiasou Estiatorio: Beets, garlic, almonds
Pantzaria salad ($7.50) — marinated baby beets with the potato-garlic-almond spread skordalia — may not sound like the sexiest dish going in, but the body- and soul-altering properties of its aphrodisiacal ingredients make it a potent potion indeed.
Yiasou [2003 Emmons Ave. at Ocean Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, (718) 332-6064].
Press 195: Bananas
Can a sandwich be sexy? Hell yeah, if it’s a Banana Bread Press ($10), stuffed with fresh banana and strawberry slices, pure maple syrup (or Nutella), ice cream, and candied walnuts. “It’s creamy, sweet and delicious,” said manager Cameron Lewyn, “and meant to serve two, so sharing it with a loved one makes it sexy right off the bat.”
Press 195 [195 Fifth Ave. between Berkeley Place Sackett street in Park Slope, (718) 857-1950].
This elegant Fort Greene restaurant is a given for romantic, Valentine’s Day interludes — especially when you order up a plate of finger-licking fried chicken slathered in sweet and sticky swirls of spicy honey ($16). Don’t forget to share.
Walter’s [166 DeKalb Ave. between Carlton Avenue and Cumberland Street in Fort Greene, (718) 488-7800].
Piccoli To Go: Asparagus, basil
You won’t need to hail a cab home after experiencing the stimulating effects of the Pesto Genovese ($9.50) at this tasty takeaway spot. The homemade fettuccini with creamy pesto and asparagus easily reheats at home — as will you.
Piccoli [157 Prospect Park SW between Vanderbilt and Seeley streets in Windsor Terrace, (718) 788-0006].
Beast tapas + lounge: Figs
Exotic, succulent figs are effortlessly sensual, and displayed to delicious effect at Beast tapas + lounge in Prospect Heights. “It’s like stepping into the Garden of Eden without all the rules,” said chef/owner D.S. Bicknese of her caramelized onion and fig pesto tart with goat cheese and watercress salad ($13). We’re sold!
Beast [638 Bergen St. between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues in Prospect Heights, (718) 399-6855].
Five Leaves: Oysters
As far as edible aphrodisiacs are concerned, no one would kick the libido-enlivening oyster out of bed — and when your sweetie tosses back a ½ dozen market mollusks ($15) at this genial, Aussie eatery — she’ll be pulling you back in for another go-round, too.
Five Leaves [18 Bedford Ave. between Lorimer Street and Nassau Avenue in Greenpoint, (718) 383-5345].