Ask the Critic: Where to Go for New Year's Eve That Doesn't Suck
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New Year's Eve
My friends and I are sort of over the giant all-inclusive-never-get-your-money's-worth parties for New Year's Eve but are young enough to want to do something interesting and festive. We've been thinking about going to a nice (but not super expensive) restaurant with a late reservation. I know most places are festive and do a champagne toast and not all have a required menu. We're ok to pay ~$100, so it's not like it needs to be cheap, but the idea is that they aren't just overcharging for New Year's Eve. Any suggestions?
Every year, I get a hundred press releases (and that's a conservative estimate) about Christmas and New Year's, Eve and Day both—special menus, ticketed parties, 3-course prix fixes, 8-course tasting menus... the list goes on. And every year I think, "I wish the restaurants that weren't changing a damn thing would send me a press release." Email blast: We'll be serving our regular menu, with our regular wine list, with champagne only if you pay for it!
It can be hard to find nice restaurants that don't get in on the New Year's party game. But there are options. Perhaps DBGB? It's downtown, it's lively, but they don't insist on a prix fixe; it's available if you want to go that route ($55, three courses) but if you'd rather have more leeway to choose seafood and sausages, the full a la carte menu is available. There's plenty to drink, a great selection of beers on tap, plus beer, wine, and cocktails. For $100 a head, you could have a lot of fun.
Blue Ribbon Bakery Kitchen is taking late reservations, with no prix fixe at all. It's a great place for a group since they've got such a wide-ranging menu, and it's a cozy place on a cold winter night, with the smell of baking bread greeting you as you walk in. Go as fancy as foie gras and escargot, or as comforting as onion soup and a hamburger.
Or perhaps dell'anima? They'll be serving their standard menu of top-notch pastas and creative Italian fare, no fixed menu or entry fee—and you're in the West Village, home to any number of bars for post-meal revelry. The Tippler, an excellent cocktail bar in the basement of the Chelsea Market, is hosting a party with no cover charge, from 8 p.m. – 8 a.m. See, that's the kind of New Year's event that appeals to me.
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