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Five Ways Restaurants are Putting the 'Gimmick' in Valentine's Day This Year

Photo: R. Lopez

On Valentine's Day, most restaurants stick with the tried-and-true formula: a fixed price menu of romantic or indulgent items. But a few places ditch the formula and experiment with something different, which can be refreshing, but is often downright puzzling. These are the most dramatic Valentine's Day gimmicks spotted by Eater this year — hey, they might be a good fit for couples (or would-be couples) with a sense of humor. Seen any others? Share in the comments.

· Nothing says romance like stuffing yourself with chopped liver until your pants burst, right? Those looking for the best bang for the buck should look no further than Dupont's DGS. The deli is serving up an "all you can eat" fest from 5-10pm for $30 per person. There are platters of meat, latkes, roasted beets, pickles, chopped liver, and many other Jewish delicacies. And it even says it on the announcement: Drinking encouraged.

· Aphrodisiac-themed menus are becoming another eye roll-worthy tradition around town. Georgetown's Italian Rialto has a special "aphrodisiacs menu" that will include: seared octopus, pancetta-wrapped shrimp, and rosemary-encrusted lamb chops. Trummer's on Main in southern Fairfax is taking the same approach with its four-course "Aphrodisiac Tasting" that includes two cocktails, two wines, and four snacks for $39. Rockville's Quench is doing an "A La Carte Aphrodisiac" with a, um, female-friendly Georgia O'Keefe Memorial Strawberry Tasting Plate.

· An easy shortcut to make a dish Valentine's Day themed is to make something into the shape of a heart. Ted's Bulletin is making its famous pop-tarts into heart shapes. Alba Osteria is making heart-shaped beet ravioli for its diners on Friday. Capitol Hill's The Pretzel Bakery is busting out the heart-shaped Philly-style pretzels.

· Sometimes, bars and restaurants use Valentine's Day as a time to tell customers that they really should find themselves a date already. U Street's Diego's upstairs area is called Frida Lounge. And while Frida may be a woman, this event is for men-only. The Same-Sex Valentine's Day Mixer is for guys to meet other guys. The ticket price includes a drink but no Mexican food.

· Perhaps the most over-the-top of Valentine's Day events comes from Medium Rare. If a lucky couple at each Medium Rare location decides that Valentine's Day is the day to get engaged, the restaurant is offering a lifetime of anniversary dinners to each couple. So it'll be in that couples' best interests to not become (or be) vegetarians.

Ted's Bulletin

505 8th Street Southeast, , DC 20003 (202) 544-8337 Visit Website

Alba Osteria

425 I St NW, Washington, DC 20001 202-733-4454 Visit Website

Medium Rare

3500 Connecticut Avenue Northwest, , DC 20008 (202) 237-1432 Visit Website