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.

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.”