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Thursday, Feb. 5, 2004 01:57 am

Love bites

Love bites

art818

Valentine's Day is all about love. The love of creamy chocolate dessert. Prime rib dinners for two. Fresh strawberries and cream.

In honor of Cupid's big day, several area restaurants are offering special menu items.

Here's a sampling of dining options sure to warm your heart:

Norb Andy's Tabarin. Special menu items include a chicken breast stuffed with onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and Parmesan cheese; seared duck breast in red sherry with wild mushrooms; and seared tuna with onion marmalade. For appetizers, bruschetta and coconut shrimp will be offered. Desserts include a layered fresh berry tart with chamomile cream and poached pears in Moscato Diasti sauce. A selection of regular dinner items like horseshoes will also be available.

Located at 518 E. Capitol Ave. Hours: 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Sat. Reservations are recommended. 217-523-7777.

Soirée. Lamb chops, sea bass, frog legs, New York strip, a mixed grill with a medallion of beef and large prawn will be featured entrées. Lobster mashed potatoes, made with lobster and white truffle oil, will be a featured side dish. Desserts will include a chocolate sun-dried cherry cake and cheesecake.

Located at 2834 Plaza Dr. Hours: 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Sat. 217-546-4660.

Sebastian's. Bananas Foster made with bananas and strawberries and served with homemade vanilla and cinnamon ice cream will be a featured dessert, along with chocolate lava cake served with strawberries and chocolate sauce. A featured appetizer will be duck confit with tropical fruit sauce. Most of the regular menu items also will be available.

Located at 221 S. Fifth St. Hours: 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Sat. 217-789-8988.

Two Olives and a Pepper. A free shrimp cocktail is being offered with a purchase of two dinner entrées costing $9.95 or more. There will also be wine and drink specials.

Located at 107 W. Cook St. Dinner is served until 9 p.m. and the bar is open until 1 a.m. 217-241-1027.

King Pin Lanes. If you're looking for some pin action on Valentine's Day, you can enjoy a meal after bowling a few frames. King Pin Lanes is offering a special meal for two. A prime rib or porterhouse steak dinner is being offered, which includes a vegetable medley, homemade bread, French silk pie, fried shrimp, a twice-baked potato, and sparkling wine for $29.95.

Located at 3115 Sangamon Ave. The meal will be served between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. 217-544-0838.

Tuscany Italian Restaurant. Special entrées prepared just for the holiday include an herb-and-garlic encrusted tenderloin medallion, served over roasted garlic mashed potatoes, with a blue cheese cream sauce; a Dijon and herb-rubbed sea bass, wrapped in prosciutto, served over angel hair pasta with lobster cream sauce; and a flipper tail pomadora, which is a flipper tail lobster topped with red peppers, tomatoes and black olives, with fresh mozzarella in a basil and white wine sauce. Crab cakes will be the special appetizer of the evening. A limited menu of regular items will also be available.

Located at 3123 Robbins Rd. Hours: 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sat. 217-726-5343.

Secret Recipes. If you prefer to wine and dine your Valentine with a home-cooked dinner, you don't even have to cook it yourself. Secret Recipes in Chatham is offering a special prime rib dinner that it will deliver to your door. The Valentine's Day weekend special includes a 10-ounce, queen-cut prime rib dinner for two, which comes with rosemary red potatoes, mixed vegetable and two pieces of chocolate cream pie for $25.95. A 14-ounce, king-cut prime rib for two is being offered for $29.95. The weekend special includes free delivery in Chatham. (The delivery cost is usually $1). The business will also be offered its regular heat-and-serve lunch and dinner entrées, plus baked goods, sandwiches, salads, appetizers, soups, pastas and sauces.

Located at 114 W. Walnut St., Chatham 62629. Phone 217-483-9500. Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri. and Sat.

Dinner is served

The Tea Thyme Tea Room is now serving a dinner menu on weekends. Beginning Feb. 6, the restaurant will serve dinner from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The tearoom, which until now only offered a lunch menu and afternoon teas, will still be open from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The dinner menu will include prime rib, stuffed pork chop with apple dressing; chicken Monterey; grilled, blackened and stuffed salmon; shrimp scampi; fettuccini with broccoli; shrimp or chicken and blackened chicken. Appetizers will include stuffed mushrooms, vegetable phyllo rolls, quesadillas, guacamole dip, and potato skins.

Cheesecake will be a new item offered for dessert, in addition to popular items from the lunch menu, such as bread pudding with rum sauce, banana puff pastry with rum sauce, apple cake with caramel sauce and ice cream, Angel food cake and puff pastry with cherry or strawberry filling.

The tearoom will offer afternoon teas on Fridays and Saturdays only.

Reservations are requested. The tearoom is owned by Cathy Delong and Kathy Dodd.

Tea Thyme Tea Room is located at 1001 S. Sixth St., Springfield. 217-528-3778

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