Discovering the food of love on the Island



Card companies, florists and candy shops conspire to keep Valentine’s Day alive, and although options to celebrate may be limited in the depths of an Island February, love will find a way.

While many restaurants have closed for the season, a few are vying for lovebirds to choose their eateries as part of the celebration.

The Chequit’s Red Maple (749-0018) is going all out, hoping couples might not just show up to dine, but consider the Inn for a weekend escape. As for that special dinner, it will include seasonally flavored cocktails such as its maple sapling, a mixture of light and spiced rums, lime juice and house-made ginger syrup.

Appetizers include chicken croquettes with blue cheese dipping sauce, seared sea scallops with roasted butternut squash or Brussels sprouts in brown butter pear sauce. Main courses include baby lamb chops and striped bass in a potato crust served with wild mushrooms and leeks in a creamy lemon sauce.

Top off your meal at Red Maple with a choice of V-Day desserts, from petit fours, white cake with layers of apricot and raspberry, a chocolate whiskey tart  with citrus compote and whipped cream or “whoopie pie” (why not?) flight that includes chocolate, red velvet and gingersnap flavors.

18 Bay (749-0053), known for fresh foods available on a seasonal basis for its ever-changing menus was still working on its Valentine’s Day offerings, but the management expected to post its menu on its website,

In addition to specials for Valentine’s Day, 18 Bay’s usual four-course menu will be available along with the option of ordering any one course a la carte, according to Elizabeth Ronzetti who manages the restaurant with Adam Kopels.

Lisa and Terry Harwood are ready to welcome celebrants to Vine Street Café (749-3210) with a menu that also takes advantage of seasonal foods. Mr. Harwood is known for his cooking, while Ms. Harwood specializes in desserts. Their menu is eclectic, offering fresh fish, steaks and pastas.

Throughout the holiday weekend, Vine Street will be offering a number of specials, including Imperial caviar and among the entrées, duck confit, lobster risotto and a prime bone and ribeye steak for two. Ms. Harwood will be adding her mocha creme brulée to the dessert menu.

“We’re like a family,” she has said about the restaurant operation, adding, “It’s about harmony between the food source and the kitchen.”

Like the Chequit Inn, Shelter Island House (749-5659) invites guests to extend their celebration through the weekend and enjoy an especially romantic Valentine getaway. The inn advertises a “Love, Luxury and Adventure” package that includes a three-course dinner for two with a glass of Prosecco, handmade sweetheart chocolates from the North Fork Chocolate Company and continental breakfast the following morning.

Kyle’s (749-0579) will be open all weekend from 5 to 9 p.m. and will offer ladies a complimentary glass of champagne with Sunday’s dinner.

Becky Smith at Shelter Island Florist (749-2264) has, perhaps, the best advice for those buying flowers for the special occasion. “Guys don’t have to be pressured to get a dozen roses,” Ms. Smith said. “Get her what she likes.” Roses aside, tulips are big for Valentine’s Day, she noted. Or order a bouquet, either in a vase or wrapped.

And because weather is expected to be frigid this weekend, Ms. Smith advises not hide a bouquet overnight Saturday in a cold garage. Order early and count on Ms. Smith to deliver. She’ll also be open on Sunday.

Mary Lou Eichhorn at Cornucopia (749-0171) always has homemade chocolates and a wide selection of cards, gifts and mementos, whether for Valentine’s Day or any other occasion.

At Shelter Island Heights Pharmacy (749-0445), Greg Ofrias advises finding the most personal way to wish your special person a happy Valentine’s Day — a greeting card, rather than an e-card or a phone call.

“Some just want to hold a real card in their hands,” Mr. Ofrias said.

His shelves are stocked with a wide assortment of heart-shaped candy boxes, Valentine’s Day plush toys and even picture frames that can, of course, be personalized.