It’s a bit later than usual this year — you can blame the inauguration for that — but perhaps the just-announced Restaurant Week dates will work out in your favor. From Feb. 4 through Feb. 10, book fixed-price meals at some of the area’s snazziest restaurants (lunch, $20.13, Dinner, $35.13) and maybe you can call it an early Valentine’s Day date.

Several of this year’s newcomers are participating in Restaurant Week, including Bandolero, Farmers Fishers Bakers, Mintwood Place, Rasika West End, and Woodward Table. Reservations for those restaurants — as well as best-of stalwarts like The Oval Room and Liberty Tavern, and see-and-be-seen spots like Cafe Milano — always fill up quickly.

Rasika West End. (Robert Miller/PHOTO BY ROBERT MILLER)

There will be a special focus on lamb this year, thanks to a partnership with Meat & Livestock Australia, City Paper reports. Chefs have a chance to earn their chops (heh) in a contest for the best lamb dishes; you can vote for the best on the group’s Facebook page and win a lamb dinner for 10.

Looking for a few RW suggestions? Here are a few of Tom Sietsema’s best-reviewed restaurants that are participating this year:

Rasika Penn Quarter : “The best Indian restaurant in the country is in our back yard.”

Birch & Barley : “Chef Kyle Bailey's pastas are prime and his ricotta cavatelli is a standout in combination with heavenly chunks of roast pork, melted provolone and crisp broccoli rabe.”

Sushi Taro : “Dewy sweet shrimp, roseate wild yellowtail, creamy uni and meaty glazed eel on small pads of rice aren't the only seductions.”

Vermillion : “It isn't just the plates that make this cozy, two-story restaurant special; the service weaves enthusiasm with smarts, and shelves of apple butter and pickled fiddlehead ferns serve as delicious wall art.

Vidalia : “Hands down, the city's best bread basket is the one that greets diners who descend to the underground Southern lair nurtured for 19 years by Jeff and Sallie Buben. Onion-laced foccacia, warm corn bread and pillowy dinner rolls are worth the lecture from your trainer. But go slow. There's more greatness on the way.”