Friday, December 10, 2010

Sips & Nibbles: New Year's Edition

I am back again with a new special Friday edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I briefly highlight some interesting wine and food items that I have encountered recently. Today, I will be highlighting some New Year's-related activities.

1) Here are some of venues that are celebrating New Year’s Eve this year:

Aura at the Seaport Hotel
One Seaport Lane, Boston
Phone: 617-385-4300

8:00pm seating: 4-course prix fixe ($95 per person; $130 per person with wine pairings)
Featuring a menu designed by Executive Chef Rachel Klein, Aura will celebrate New Year’s Eve with a four-course customizable prix fixe featuring the following: Asian Pear Salad; Lobster Bisque; Duet of Oysters; Thai Seafood Bouillabaisse; Pan Roasted George’s Bank Scallop; Scottish Salmon; Steak & Eggs; Braised Short Rib; Rack of Lamb; Trio of Dessert; Vanilla Crème Brulee; and, Flourless Chocolate Cake. Whether or not you opt to accompany the prix fixe experience with selected wine pairings, Aura will also be serving up a complimentary glass of champagne to guests at midnight. Aura will also feature their traditional menu on New Year’s Eve.

BOKX 109 American Prime at Hotel Indigo
399 Grove Street, Newton
Phone: 617-454-3399

5:00pm – 8:00pm: 4-course prix fixe ($65 per person)
9:30pm seating: 5-course prix fixe ($110 per person; includes champagne toast)
BOKX 109 American Prime will be serving up two prix fixe menus to ring in 2011. For early seatings, BOKX 109 will feature four courses until 8pm. At 9:30pm, BOKX 109’s “A Toast to 2011” five-course dinner will begin. BOKX 109’s premiere culinary event will accompanied by live entertainment by world-famous saxophone player Michael “Tunes” Antune, party favors, and a midnight toast of Veuve Clicquot.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
217 Stuart Street, Boston
Phone: 617-292-0808

5:00pm – 11:00pm (December 30th through January 1st)
In addition to serving their signature a la carte menu, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar will offer three exclusive specials available on December 30th, December 31st and January 1st. Fleming’s three-night extended New Year’s celebration specials include the following: Filet Mignon & Crab-Stuffed Shrimp (Filet mignon with Madeira sauce, two giant black tiger shrimp stuffed with crab and topped with crisp bacon, lemon garlic butter sauce, served with a butter poached Portobello mushroom - $79.95); North Atlantic Lobster Tail (Colossal one-pound lobster tail with lemon vanilla butter, served with lobster mac & cheese - $59.95); and, New York Strip & Giant Shrimp (Petite New York prime steak wrapped in bacon, two giant black tiger shrimp broiled in the shell with chimichurri herb pesto - $69.95). Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar will also be toasting with Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label available for $25 per glass.

Stanhope Grille at The Back Bay Hotel
350 Stuart Street, Boston
Phone: 617-532-3827

5:30pm – 8:30pm: 3-course prix fixe ($55 per person; includes glass of champagne)
8:30pm – close: 5-course prix fixe ($95 per person; includes two glasses of champagne)
This New Year’s Eve, The Back Bay Hotel’s Stanhope Grille will dish out two exclusive customizable prix fixe menus for revelers of “First Night” in Boston. Offering a three-course menu beginning at 5:30pm, Stanhope Grille allows you to toast the end of 2010 early before exploring the city’s legendary festivities. At 8:30pm, Stanhope Grille will begin offering their main event: a specially prepared five-course tasting menu, complete with matching flutes of bubbly. Selections from the menus include: Lobster Bisque; Pear and Beet Salad; Crispy “Cannelloni”; Maine Lobster; Signature Grass Fed Beef Rib Eye; Spice Dusted Free Range Chicken; Crème Brulee; Trio Sorbet with Almond Cookie.

Strega Waterfront at Fan Pier
One Marina Park Drive, Boston

7:00pm - 2:00am: New Year’s Eve Party ($279 per person; 21+)
Strega Waterfront owner, Nick Varano and special guest “The Big Shamroq” Shaquille O’Neal, will host Strega Waterfront’s New Year’s Eve “Party on the Harbor.” The extravaganza will take place on the13th floor of Fan Pier, setting the stage for spectacular views of the city skyline and Boston Harbor fireworks at midnight. With dancing and performances by Maxine Nightingale, The Deney Terrio Dance Party and legendary DJ JJ Wright, the admission price includes the following: complimentary valet parking, dinner featuring Strega’s classic Italian cuisine, an endless champagne bar, and a continental breakfast when the clock strikes twelve.

2) And some more New Year's options:

Eastern Standard

528 Commonwealth Ave., Kenmore Square, Boston
Phone: (617) 532-9100
This New Year's Eve, celebrate with the regular menu, along with specials on shellfish and bubbly at your time, on your budget. Choose from a la carte crustaceans and seafood (oysters, clams, Maine lobster, shrimp, King crab legs, sea scallop ceviche and tuna tartare) or leave it up to the staff with a $60 “Shellfish Platter for the Next Decade.” ES also grants your Champagne wishes with a range of by-the-glass options ($8-$17) and deals on its extensive bottle selection (think: French bottles from $75 and Italian sparklers starting at $35).

Bin 26 enoteca
26 Charles Street, Beacon Hill, Boston
Phone: (617) 723-5939
The four-course prix fixe menu at Bin 26 ($55/person with $30 optional wine pairings) offers a blend of nibbles paired with by-the-glass wines from the signature “Wine Bible.” Italian-influenced dishes like Locally Foraged Mushroom Bruschetta and Cocoa Tagliatelle with Porcini Ragout are sophisticated enough to stand on their own, but are the perfect complement to an array of vino (Maison Ambrose Cremant and Domaine Monperitus Grenache, to name a few). Diners may choose from 6pm, 8pm and 9pm seatings.

Grafton Street Pub & Grill
1230 Massachusetts Ave, Harvard Square, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 497-0400
Grafton offers a three-course prix fixe from Chef Scott Robertson ($48/person) between 5 – 10 PM. Feast on Chef Robertson’s NYE menu, which includes Lemon Molasses Grilled Quail with Oyster & Duck Sausage Stuffing and Blueberry Honey; Grilled Lamb Sirloin with Honey Lemon and Mint Carrots and Curried Onion Rings; and Warm Chocolate Gran Marnier Cake; then party until 2 AM with DJ Keith Foley, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. If you dine at Grafton Street, admission to the party is free (as is the parking).  For those just looking to party, cover is $20/person. Tickets available through Grafton Street’s website.

Russell House Tavern
14 JF Kennedy St, Harvard Square, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 500-3055
Your gastronomic Harvard Square New Year’s Eve starts off with a three-course dinner ($59/person; reservations accepted between 5 – 10 PM) from Executive Chef Michael Scelfo, whose menu includes Foie Gras & Laphroaig Terrine with Black Pepper Simple, Cherry Gelée, Smoked Almonds; Grilled Petite NY Strip & Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek with Porcini Butter, Cauliflower & Apple Puree, Horseradish Panade; and a Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with Anglaise, Dark Chocolate Mousse, Toasted Hazelnuts. Then, stick around for a two-floor party until 2 AM that includes free party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. No cover all night.

3) Celebrate 2011 in style at The Beehive’s 4th Annual New Year’s Eve Extravaganza. It’s a night of bohemian decadence, eccentric fun, and all-star funk featuring live belly dancing performances by a trio of sultry sultanas and dancing to the shakin', down-home grooves of the venerable band, Akashic Record starring vocalists Marsha Lubin and Nephtaliem aka Nephrok, and as always, a surprise or two.

Guests will indulge in Executive Chef Rebecca Newell’s buffet of eclectic hors d’oeuvres and desserts, with influences from Europe, the Mediterranean and good ol’ Americana, all served in a cocktail setting. The celebration continues as the acclaimed belly dancer, Phaedra Rose, and her trio of seductresses move to the soulful jazz-funk of Akashic Record which will have you shake, rattling and rolling all night long. Top it all off and toast the evening with a glass of champagne featured on The Beehive’s champagne list; one of the most extensive lists in New England.

Event begins at: 9pm and runs until 2:30am. Cost of the event is $95 per person and includes admission + food in addition to a cash bar; $65 per person without buffet. Tickets/Reservations are available by calling the Beehive at 617.423.0069 or by visiting

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