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Popping Bottles on a Budget: Cheap Date Night at Cafe Lurcat

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When we first heard about the Sunday evening date night at Café Lurcat, we were incredulous. Two starters, two entrees, and two desserts plus a bottle of red, white, or bubbly -- all for a Ulysses S. Grant ($50)? It simply couldn't be true. Café Lurcat is a first-class restaurant in a fantastic location. It's far and away the most glamorous establishment we've visited for a date night, and we were delighted to find out (after some internet sleuthing) that the D'Amico restaurant chain does amazing date nights at its other locations as well, all on Sunday evening, all offering a brilliant deal.

If you've got something to celebrate, this is the place to do it. Get dressed up, slap on some heels, (don't worry, you won't have to walk far, parking is pretty easy and free on Sunday night), and let yourself be enveloped by the warm, low lighting and impossibly delicious aromas emanating from the kitchen. It's a good idea to make a reservation beforehand online, because this date night is a popular one.

See also: Cheap Wine, Great Dessert, and an Offhand Comment: Date Night at the Red Stag

The dining room is expansive, with modern furnishings and an open kitchen, allowing the guests to peek in on the creation of delectable dishes. We were handed the regular menu along with the special date night menu, so no additional deal inquiries were necessary. First, we chose our wine. Since we never had the chance at any of the other date nights to enjoy a glass or two of bubbly, we jumped at the opportunity and were delighted with the selection. A Segura Vieudas Brut was brought to our table, our flutes were filled, and then the bottle was whisked away and kept chilled at an undisclosed location.

Shortly after the bubbly arrived, a fresh basket of crusty warm French bread was brought to the table along with a ramekin of whipped salted butter. This bread basket deserved to have poetry written about it: The crusty outside and warm, fluffy inside paired with the soft creaminess of the butter and slight crunch of salt crystals was overwhelmingly satisfying. This type of quality blew last week's Red Stag's sad focaccia plate out of the water.

We were given plenty of time to weigh our options for dinner. There were four starter options, four entrée options, and three dessert options. We began with the apple, cheese, and chive salad and red wine meatballs with Bordelaise and roasted mushrooms. The apple, cheese (Manchego), and chive salad looked like one of Monet's Haystacks and had sensational flavor and texture. The three meatballs were decadent and succulent.

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In between our starter and entrée, we feasted upon another basket of bread and awaited our entrees. We chose the House-Made Udon Noodles with Chinese Barbeque Chicken and Caramelized Orange Sauce (a perfect pairing with the dry and fruity Seguar Vieudas Brut) and Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with Neuske's Bacon, Lady Apples, and Chestnuts. The Udon Noodles were thick and spicy, paired with a tasty sweet and savory orange sauce, tender chicken, and sautéed vegetables. The Berkshire Pork Tenderloin was cooked to medium rare perfection, and was complemented nicely by the smoky bacon flavor.

Who knew we'd channel our inner Homer Simpson at Cafe Lurcat? To round off our decadent meals, an order of sugared mini doughnuts and Izzy's strawberry ice cream was placed on the table. Though we were mightily full from our two baskets of bread, glasses upon glasses of bubbly, and tasty entrees, we always have room for mini doughnuts and ice cream. Café Lurcat is an elegant dining establishment, so we really appreciated the light-hearted dessert options that were both enjoyable and fun to eat.

We don't typically like to play favorites, but we have to say, the extra $20 we spent on this date night was well worth it. Celebrating a birthday? Got a new job? Anniversary? Celebrate it at Café Lurcat and you won't be disappointed (and you won't break the bank to boot.)

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