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Valentine's Day dinner detours

Kubideh Kebab (skewers of grilled seasoned ground beef

Kubideh Kebab (skewers of grilled seasoned ground beef and lamb) served with rice and grilled vegetables at Sufiya's Grill in East Meadow, NY. Credit: Taylor Adamczyk

Still trying to figure out where to eat on Valentine’s Day? Keep in mind that it falls on Saturday night, traditionally the busiest of the week. For those who want to avoid the inherent chaos, we give you some ways.

First, consider lunch, often cheaper and almost always less crowded than dinner. We have a host of romantic options for you. Click here to read all about them.

 But if a midday meal doesn’t work for you, what about the downtime before the dinner hour? At about 3 p.m., you can get a reservation almost anywhere. A scan of Open Table (an invaluable reservation-making resource) reveals openings at such restaurants as Jewel in Melville, Grey Horse Tavern in Bayport, Capital Grille in Garden City and Mill Pond House in Centerport, where the late afternoon view of the frozen inlet is, itself, a romantic draw.

Still, if it’s dinner you must have, consider ditching the cliches about ambience and focusing, instead, on flavors. How about one of the many compelling global cuisines — Thai, Chinese, Indian, Persian, Korean, Dominican, Colombian or Peruvian, to name a few? Perhaps you and your Valentine might share an intimate conversation over chargrilled burgers at a cozy diner booth.  Or bowls of pasta at your favorite neighborhood pizza-pasta-parm spot. Wherever you go, call ahead to get a reservation, if possible, and make sure the place won’t be crowded.

Also, check on policies for wine. You may want to bring a good bottle of your own. And to drink a toast to your sweetheart who, like you, doesn’t run with the herd.

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