Hot sex on a platter: Steamier than a snoozy Valentine's Day prix fixe

This Valentine's Day, forget lame aphrodisiacs—these panty-dropping plates are a food lover's fantasy…without the bunk science.

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Chocolate, strawberries, yawn—aphrodisiacs are about as slick as a red-satin-and-Barry-White Valentine’s Day. For dishes with real swagger, we've got our eyes on lusty hunks of buttery steak, silky slips of sushi and a melty dessert for two. Bow-chicka-wow.


  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Agnolotti with sweetbreads and mascarpone at L’Apicio

    What corner of the Italian food canon doesn’t make any red-blooded eater’s heartbeat quicken? Among the cuisine’s most sensual plates are these offal agnolotti—luxurious pockets of soft egg pasta that are stuffed with rich sweetbreads and creamy mascarpone. The plump, warm pasta is finished with a drizzle of golden chicken jus and a dusting of Parmesan shavings. 13 E 1st St between Bowery and Second Ave (212-533-7400). $17.

  • Photograph: Loren Wohl

    Spicy cod roe stew with cod sperm sack at Hanjan 

    The blood-rushing spice of this traditional Asian stew comes from smoking-hot gochugaru peppers. A crack and a swirl of the supplemental sperm sack—like a bursting yolk—thicken the simmering pot. Sure, the cod-roe-on-sperm action may seem like a bit much, but this soul-warming dish is a Korean-food-fiend favorite. After you come down from the powerful chili surge, cool off with a makgeolli, a milky rice beer. 36 W 26th St between Broadway and Sixth Ave (212-206-7226). $24.

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    Bone-in veal parm at Carbone 

    Everything is bigger and brasher at this fantastical revival of Goodfellas-style haunts. In a deluxe revamp of the ol’ red-sauce classic, the thick veal chop shows off a hulking bone. The meat is pounded, breaded with Parmesan and panfried to an Italian-stallion bronze. Tear into the large chops—anointed with milky pools of house-pulled mozzarella and bright tomato sauce—and then gnaw crispy bits off the bone. 181 Thompson St between Bleecker and W Houston Sts (212-254-3000). $54.

  • Photograph: Loren Wohl

    Pigs-in-a-blanket at Alder

    Is there anything more pauseworthy than a mini wiener? It may not be bedroom bait for most ladies, but these witty riffs on the cocktail nibble will excite any food geek. A Pepperidge Farm hot-dog bun—flattened in a pasta machine—encases thin Chinese sausage. The snappy pork-and-duck links burst with every bite, as meaty juices blend with swipes of spicy mustard and sweet chili sauce. 157 Second Ave between 9th and 10th Sts (212-539-1900). $13.

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Sanma pike mackerel at Sushi Nakazawa 

    Nothing’s sexier than sushi, and the sleek bites at New York’s hottest omakase bar are next-level food porn. For the pike mackerel nigiri, silvery ginger-marinated fish is scored, revealing the most flavorful parts between flesh and skin. The supple slab is pressed atop just-warm rice, primed for popping into your mouth. 23 Commerce St between Bedford Ave and Seventh Ave South (212-924-2212). Part of omakase: counter $120, dining room $150.

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Fantasia di Nocciola for two at Locanda Verde 

    Bow-chicka-wow: Crossing spoons over dessert is a surefire way to rocket a romance. In this riff on classic tiramisu, soft mounds of hazelnut gelato and pear sorbetto—jacked up with cinnamon, star anise, cardamom and black pepper—get a dousing of drippy house-made fudge. Cool slices of fresh pear, Nutella-slicked pizzelle and salty brown-butter hazelnuts spice up the gooey, shareable treat. 377 Greenwich St between Franklin and North Moore Sts (212-925-3797). $16.

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Wood-grilled oysters at Marco’s

    Yes, oysters are the Georgia O’Keeffe masterpieces of the sea—slippery, briny shells of raw pleasure—and an aphrodisiac cliché the world over. At this sultry new locavore joint, some real smolder is added to the equation: Large mollusks are smoked over a wood-fired grill until they pop open, then basted in their own juices and crowned with seasonal condiments (charred tomatoes, fennel, apple). Suck each one down whole in a single warm, brothy bite. Aw, yeah. 295 Flatbush Ave between Prospect Pl and St. Marks Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-230-0427). $16.

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Beef butter at M. Wells Steakhouse

    The menu at this wacky new chophouse from the always balls-out M. Wells crew plays a little hide-the-salami. Hidden away from the entrée list of headlining beef cuts, this coy piece of meat is found among the sides. The velvety Miyazaki kobe beef—simply seasoned and grilled—earns its name for its high percentage of melt-in-your-mouth fat, mimicking that classic hot-pan lubricant, butter. 43-15 Crescent St between 43rd Ave and 44th Rd, Long Island City, Queens (718-786-9060). $25.

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Sandwich of sea urchin, miso butter and pickled mustard seeds at Toro 

    This dark, capacious import to the Meatpacking District—from Boston studs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette—is a pulsating pleasureland of Spanish delights. Even a day later, you won’t stop thinking about this ridiculously indulgent bocadillo: Soft sea urchin with miso butter is squeezed between two pieces of Bien Cuit ciabatta. The sandwich is pressed on a hot flattop until the bread is crispy and the rich uni and umami-lashed butter are oozing. 85 Tenth Ave at 15th St (212-691-2360). $13.

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Grilled head-on prawns at Uncle Boons

    Get your fingers dirty with this simple char-grilled pleasure. Whole prawns are coal-fired Thai-style until the sweet meat is fragrant, and then paired with a funky Thai dipping sauce of garlic, cilantro, fish sauce and lime. Do as the pros do and suck the last bits from the shells. 7 Spring St between Bowery and Elizabeth St (646-370-6650). $16.

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Agnolotti with sweetbreads and mascarpone at L’Apicio

What corner of the Italian food canon doesn’t make any red-blooded eater’s heartbeat quicken? Among the cuisine’s most sensual plates are these offal agnolotti—luxurious pockets of soft egg pasta that are stuffed with rich sweetbreads and creamy mascarpone. The plump, warm pasta is finished with a drizzle of golden chicken jus and a dusting of Parmesan shavings. 13 E 1st St between Bowery and Second Ave (212-533-7400). $17.


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