The Black Cypress’ V-Day special returns

The Black Cypress works to create a restorative experience for their guests, especially for Valentine’s Day



Bartender Lily Taylor cuts and juices lemons, The Black Cypress Feb. 6.


Expect the aromas of salmon tartare, smoked trout, truffle butter pasta and classic filet mignon to spread all over downtown Pullman this Valentine’s Day, courtesy of The Black Cypress.

The restaurant, which was one of 20 in the country recently announced as semifinalists for a James Beard Foundation Award in the Outstanding Hospitality category, is gearing up to host their annual Valentine’s Day event.

The event will be built around five distinct courses. Owner Nick Pitsilionis said he has worked with his crew to make sure they created a menu with traditional bites for their Valentine’s Day menu that everyone can enjoy.

In the kitchen of The Black Cypress, a cook prepares pasta noodles on Feb. 6.

At the heart of the menu, there are a lot of things that are simply satisfying, he said. But on certain little bites, he said they added ingredients that may push people past their comfort zone.

“A lot of things that make a tasty menu exciting is when it really does deviate from what you’d normally associate with foods that you eat regularly,” Pitsilionis said.

Former beverage manager Lars Lunstrum said he has been attending the restaurant as a guest since 2020. Lunstrum said he has served at the Valentine’s Day event in past years, preparing cocktails and serving wine. This year, he said he gets to attend the event with his partner.

The menu, Lunstrum said, is anywhere between five to eight distinct courses with a wine or cocktail pairing suitable for the meal.

“The dishes are very precise and they seem to be just the right amount. The dishes that are really fatty, you don’t end up with too much of the fat. The dishes that are sweet, there’s not too much,” Lunstrum said. “It just seems like every detail has been really crafted.”

The menu begins with appetizers of salmon tartare, smoked trout and sturgeon caviar, then leads into prawns, truffle butter pasta, classic filet mignon and finishes with a dessert trio.

The restaurant will serve the menu on Valentine’s Day with a champagne accompaniment at $145 per person.

Earliest reservations can be made at 4 p.m. on Valentine’s Day by calling The Black Cypress at 509-334-5800.

Pitsilionis said that most eating should be focused on each other.

A cook pulls pita dough out of a dough-flattening machine at The Black Cypress Feb. 6.

Tasting menus often have dishes that can create an experience that’s not verbal, Pitsilionis said. A certain taste from a dish might create a profound emotional response, he said, and that is where tasting menus can be more fun.

The Valentine’s Day tasting is around two hours long and goes through a series of dishes with wine pairings and discussions about the food, Pitsilionis said.

“It’s once a year,” Pitsilionis said. “Valentine’s Day is about the couple. They’re supposed to do something special and exciting that breaks a lot of the typical habits that couples get into.”

Pitsilionis said the crew strives to make the dining experience restorative for their customers.

The Black Cypress abides by the Greek term “filoxenia,” which means “love of strangers,” Pitsilionis said. He said he runs the restaurant with the principle of looking out for each of his guests even when they are just strangers.

“The essence of hospitality is to turn out people better than you found them,” he said. “That’s the top goal for Black Cypress.”