PEORIA HEIGHTS, Ill -- If you've never been to a tapas bar, Noir Tapas and Rendezvous Lounge seems to be the only one in the Peoria area.
It's a perfect place to experience the well-cooked, smaller plates intended to be shared by the entire party, even by a party of two.
"We do have a lot of couples here all the time and also big groups as well," says Manger Georgina Hill. "We do have couches that people can sit at and so forth."
The couches are surrounded by drapery in a dimly-lit atmosphere, accented by a colorfully illuminated bar and a projector showing film noir flicks.
"I think it's eclectic, kinda cool with just the music," says Lexie Palus as she sips wine next to her fiance Collin Grant. "It's just a cool atmosphere. It's kind of loungey."
What really brings back frequenting couples is the food, which inspires the sharing of both meals and dialogue.
"We've lived all over the world and these scallops are probably the best I've ever had, and the same with the mussels," Grant adds. "They're fantastic."
Alyssa Donovan joined me for the more romantic setting this week, because the other photographers aren't really my type.
Alyssa and I started with Brie Crostini topped with dates, walnuts, and honey.
A short time later, we shared Blackened Swordfish covered in pineapple mango salsa and Bacon-Wrapped Chicken and Dates.
She felt the Brie Crostini was the best, and she wanted more.
I enjoyed the swordfish and bacon-wrapped chicken much more than she, especially after not eating meat for more than a month.
What we did agree on was the Vanilla and Pistachio Gelato served with a spiced rum cream sauce for dessert.
If you ask me, the entire experience was worth the atmosphere, service, and cost: $70.58 plus tip.
"Everything is home-made here, so it's all fresh and really nice," Hill says. "We have some really good desserts, and we're also going to have a special menu on Valentine's Day as well."
Noir Tapas Rendezvous and Lounge is at 4606 North Prospect Road in Peoria Heights.
They are open from 4 PM to 11 PM and close at midnight Fridays and Saturdays.
They stay closed Sundays and Mondays, and they still have reservations for Valentine's Day.