I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I briefly highlight some interesting wine and food items that I have encountered recently. This is a special New Year's Eve edition, showcasing numerous options for that holiday.
1) This New Year’s Eve, Belly Wine Bar welcomes 2013 with tunes, dancing, wine (in both magnum and boxed form), cured meats and offal. With two different start times for both the early and late-night inclined, the folks at Belly are entertaining until the clock strikes 12, in a celebration complete with marrow bone luges and music mixed by DJ Just Joan. Price is $70 per guest for entry between 6pm-7pm, and $85 per guest for entry between 9pm-10pm.
2) If you’re anything like the folks from Central Bottle Wine + Provisions, you know there’s no better way to kick off a party than good food and great wine. This year, the Central Bottle team continues their annual New Year’s Eve tradition with $1.00 Island Creek Oysters and a line-up of bubbly from 5pm-9pm. Guests are invited to raise a glass and sling back bivalves before heading out on the town to celebrate 2013.
3) Ring in the New Year in Kenmore Square with Eastern Standard’s regular menu of American brasserie fare as well as a selection of festive specials. Whether you’re dining with someone special or gathering with friends, a celebratory sparkling wine menu with a variety of bubbles available by the glass, bottle, magnum and jeroboam offers the perfect toast to 2013. In addition to regular breakfast and lunch service, ES will serve dinner until 12am, with the late night menu offered until 1:30am and drinks at the bar until 2am. And with The Hawthorne and Island Creek Oyster Bar under the same roof, you ought to get yourself a room at the Hotel Commonwealth and make a night of it.
4) In the heart of Harvard Square, Grafton Street will offer a three-course prix fixe specially created by Executive Chef Eric Gregory ($48 per person with a $10 discount for reservations before 6:30pm). An optional $18 beer or wine pairing will be available to enhance the celebration. From 5pm-9pm, guests can order the prix fixe menu or order a la carte and from the bar menu. The bar menu will be available 9pm-11pm for pre-midnight munching.
After dinner, dance your way into 2013 as DJ Axel Foley spins tunes and enjoy a complimentary champagne toast when the ball drops at midnight. Tickets for the late night party are $20 in advance and $30 at the door from 9pm-2am.
5) Lumiere rings in 2013 with a three-course prix fixe feast crafted by six-time James Beard Award nominated Chef and Owner Michael Leviton. As the Board Chair of Chefs Collaborative, Chef Leviton puts his sustainable stamp on the celebratory feast with local/seasonal ingredient-heavy dishes like Hand-Harvested Maine Sea Scallops, Rainbow Ranch Grass-Fed Beef Tenderloin and Apple & Cranberry Maple Almond Crisp. Cost is $80 per person plus $30 for optional wine pairings. Regular dinner service will run from 5:30pm-11:30pm, followed by a celebratory toast at midnight.
6) New Year’s Eve is a breeze at The Grafton Group’s newest destination in the heart of Harvard Square. In addition to free parking and no cover (score!), PARK offers the full menu alongside Executive Chef Mark Goldberg’s one-night-only a la carte options, including “Hot & Cold” Katama Oysters, Grilled Filet of Beef with a side of Béarnaise sauce and Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta. At midnight, noise makers, hats and tiaras will add an extra dose of cheer as PARK welcomes 2013 with a complimentary champagne toast. Dinner will be served from 5pm-10pm, the late night menu will be available from 10pm-12am and the bar will pour drinks until 2:00am
7) Gather in Harvard Square with friends and family at Russell House Tavern for a celebratory three-course prix fixe menu featuring special seasonal fare from Executive Chef Michael Scelfo ($59 per person, with a $10 discount for reservations before 6:30pm). To enhance the festivities, Bar Manager Sam Gabrielli has selected toast-worthy beers and wines for an optional $18 pairing. The prix fixe menu will be served from 5pm-10pm and the tavern menu will be available until midnight.
8) Ring in 2013 at Temple Bar with Executive Chef Greg Boschetti’s three-course prix fixe menu ($55 per person, with a $10 discount for reservations before 6:30 PM) featuring decadent dishes like Lobster Egg Benedict, Slow Braised Venison Osso Bucco and Mexican Chocolate Bread Pudding. Guests can toast to the year ahead with optional wine pairings, champagne and specialty cocktails, available for an additional charge. The prix fixe menu will be served from 5pm-10pm. For additional New Year’s noshing, the late night menu will be served 10pm-12am and the bar will pour drinks until 2:00am.
9) Aura Restaurant at the Seaport Hotel will celebrate New Year’s Eve with an elegant five-course prix fixe menu, from 5:30pm-10pm, accompanied by the musical stylings of the Lance Houston Ensemble and a midnight champagne toast. For the amuse course, Executive Chef Robert Tobin will serve Hash & Eggs (short ribs, potato, egg). For the first course, there are three options: Kabocha & Chestnut Soup “En Cocotte”; Classic Fish Soup; or, The French Salad (frisée, lardoons, quail egg, warm vinaigrette). For the second course, revelers will choose: Mushroom Flight (soup, steak and Napoleon); Chicken Mousse (piccalilli, pretzel bread); or, Crispy Pork Belly (hot & sour soup, kale chips). Seafood-themed third course selections include: Crispy Cod (cabbage, parsnips, romensco); Braised Bass (Guinness, root vegetables); or, Seafood Paella (orzo, calamari, scallops, lobster, mussels, clams). Moving onto the fourth course, another three options: Surf & Turf (filet & lobster, potato gratin, carrots); Slow Roasted Duck (Seaport honey, crispy cottage pie); or, Lamb Shank (mostarda, citrus, vanilla, squash). The grand finale of the evening is a Trio of Desserts (Grand Mariner Brûlée; Chocolate Ganache Cake; Braised Cherry Tart with brown butter filling). The cost is $98 per person.
10) For New Year's Eve, from 5pm-11pm, Avila Modern Mediterranean's Executive Chef Rodney Murillo will serve a four-course prix fixe in addition to his regular menu. Available with optional wine pairings, the menu will be presented as follows. For the first course, there is Seared Foie Gras (roasted honey, crispy apple, port wine). Moving onto the second course, enjoy Hand-Rolled Potato Gnocchi (winter mushrooms, truffle cream). For an entrée, guests will have their choice of Beef Tenderloin (parsnip ravioli, lobster béarnaise) or Seared Red Snapper (littleneck clams, root vegetables, creamy fish fumet). For dessert, Pasty Chef Tom Ponticelli will serve up an array of selections. The cost is $65 per person; $85 w/ wine pairings.
11) Legal Harborside will celebrate New Year’s Eve under the stars at Liberty Wharf this year from 9:30pm-1:30am. Hosted atop the roof in a glass-enclosed space at Legal Harborside, it is the closest one comes to being in a snow globe. At this celebration bidding adieu to 2012 and welcoming 2013, revelers will enjoy the winter scene – complete with Legal Harborside’s copper-clad fireplace – and will eat, drink and be merry with a bird’s eye view of First Night’s midnight fireworks over Boston Harbor. In addition to being supplied with festive noisemakers and hats, tickets to this sky-high soiree include live music and a midnight toast with Gosset "Excellence" Brut NV bubbly. Legal Harborside will also offer table reservations to this year-end celebration. Cost is $45 per person; $400 per couch/table (up to six people).
12) This New Year’s Eve, guests can wine, dine and ring in 2013 with a rendezvous at Tryst in Arlington. Executive Chef Paul Turano will offer a special three course, prix fixe New Year’s Eve menu featuring some of the most popular dishes served over the past year. Guests can begin with favorites such as the Grilled Prawn & Maine Crab Cake with red grapefruit, avocado & pepper aioli and the Duck & Scallion Dumplings with pickled ginger vinaigrette before “getting serious” with entrees such as the Pig Under a Brick, slow roasted pork shoulder, sweet potato polenta, cranberry-pomegranate mostarda & Swiss chard, Miso Glazed Sea Scallops with braised Brussels sprouts & butternut squash risotto and the Slow Braised Lamb with potato puree, watercress salad & harissa roasted vegetables. Toast the New Year with Tryst’s craft cocktails including the Luce Del Sole, Ketel One Citroen, Aperol, & splashes of lemon, orange & grapefruit juices, The Parisian Pear, rosemary & pear infused vodka, Belle de Brillet Brandy, & lemon, and the Falls in Love, Bourbon, cherry liqueur, lemon & maple syrup.
Tryst’s New Year’s Eve menu is $45 per person (tax, gratuity and alcohol not included) and will be offered exclusively on Monday, December 31, from 5pm-11pm. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 781-641-2227.