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Decadent confections 

By MARTIN HINTZ

Belgian Callebaut chocolate mousse at Ward’s House of Prime.


February is the month of romance. Passionate pairs will opt for a secluded table for two at a favorite restaurant, soft candlelight, a marvelous meal and, of course, chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Here’s a look at some of the most decadent cocoa offerings in the city — St. Valentine approved.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

15665 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield

Oh, the choices. How about a chocolate soufflé, with a molten center of liquid Callebaut semisweet chocolate? Homemade chocolate ice cream or pistachio tuile cookies dripped with chocolate sauce, maybe? Of course the latter pastry is light and wafer-thin, so it’s OK to have two. Or even a ménages à tuile trois.

Heaven City
W27850 National Ave., Mukwonago

Chef-owner Jimmy Wade is offering his Chocolate Guinness Cake, made with that fabled Irish stout instead of ordinary water to give an extra-thick, wonderfully rich flavoring. With its flourless chocolate cake texturing, this milk chocolate ganache is augmented with a smooth homemade creme anglaise. Wade suggests pairing this romantic marvel with a snifter of Woodhouse Vintage Port, vintage 1995, or a Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka, served neat.

NSB Bar & Grill
8649 N. Port Washington Road, Fox Point

Formerly North Shore Bistro, NSB still presents one of Milwaukee’s most wonderfully decadent delights. Chef Michael Wolf calls his Valentine’s Day selection the "September 7 Cake," because that was the day his baker devised this sponge cake recipe. The pastry uses ultra-pasteurized heavy whipping cream, rich Belgian milk chocolate and vanilla mousse layering inside, culminating in a lather of chocolate mousse and garnished with a raspberry glaze.

Red Circle Inn
W33013 Watertown Plank Road, Nashotah

Owner Norm Eckstaedt says it’s Valentine’s Day every day at the Red Circle, with his ever-popular French-themed chocolate soufflé served year-round. This simply elegant egg custard wonder is sprinkled with powdered sugar and brought luxuriously warm to your table. Since each soufflé is made to order, wait staff alerts the kitchen prior to dinner. Just like falling in love, such timing is everything.

River Lane Inn
4313 W. River Lane, Brown Deer

Indulge your dreams with the perfect slice of chef Mike Kusch’s raspberry cheesecake, slathered with scrumptious Belgian semisweet chocolate sauce. Check with the barman for suggestions as to the perfect pairing from his stash of special reserve beverages. But be forewarned — after this combo, be prepared for whatever your lover fantasizes next.

Roots Restaurant and Cellar
1818 N. Hubbard St., Milwaukee

Since Piedmontese is a true romance language, chef de cuisine Lisa Kirkpatrick is considering going Northern Italian for the holiday, featuring a chocolate shortbread. This delight features a nougat layer tickled with pumpkin seeds and dried cherries, all layered in caramel and covered with more indulgent chocolate. Kirkpatrick suggests pairing that decadence with a homemade Nutella-like ice cream, in true Gianduja-style, to emphasize its hazelnut sweetness. To find true love, think of pairing with a sparkling Piedmont red, such as Brachetto, and a cheese plate highlighted by the soft-ripened Robiola from the Alpine foothills.

Sanford Restaurant
1547 N. Jackson St., Milwaukee

For lovers’ day, Sanford pulls out all the chocolate stops. Sous chef Justin Aprahamian lays out his irresistibly flavorful German chocolate cake, complemented by luxuriously rich cocoa nib ice cream. The first smooth taste of this union is akin to slipping between Charmeuse lingerie satin sheets. The final sensation is best left to the imagination. Yes, oh, yes. Yes!

Tulip Restaurant
117 N. Jefferson St., Milwaukee

A real Turkish delight, chef Hakan Tastepe’s white chocolate cake is triple-layered with rum and heavy cream, topped with a plethora of raspberries and blackberries. This yummy concoction is certain to earn more than one kiss from your date.

Ward’s House of Prime
540 E. Mason St., Milwaukee

Paraphrasing the Bard, "Tis that a mousse ye see before ye? Ah, my pretty, sweetness is true." Or something to that effect. Chef Bill Baumann’s Belgian Callebaut chocolate mousse, topped with freshly whipped real cream and a homemade caramel sauce made with Myers’ Original Dark Rum from Jamaica, is guaranteed to be every poet’s muse on Valentine’s Day.