New Year's flavors
The dish on New Year's Eve dining: Six prime choices
Stomach already grumbling for some New Year's Eve grub? We've scoured the city's menus to select some prime pickin's for your final feast of 2010.
Tony's Mandola's Gulf Seafood Kitchen
Steal a final taste at River Oaks stalwart Tony Mandola's before the restaurant relocates to a Waugh Drive location in March. Your favorites will be on tap from the full menu as the Ken Cluck Band performs until 12:30 a.m. The plan is for open seating, but it's wise to make reservations.
Four Seasons Quattro
Take a break from downtown's Gloworama to nibble on some nosh at nearby Four Seasons' Quattro's Lobby Lounge. Beginning at 5 p.m., revelers may snack on à la carte sushi and a $30 per person antipasti buffet. Get the party started early with speciality glowing cocktails.
For early birds, there's a 4 p.m. three-course seated dinner at the Quattro Vinoteca. Guests can upgrade to a wine pairing menu for $110.
If you and your date prefer gusto, there's the gala dinner: a reservation-only, five-course affair. The $155 per person ticket includes a champagne toast at midnight, and affords a $230 option that includes expert wine pairings. Dress code is formal (no black tie required), and music shall be provided by five-piece band Nobody's Fool until 1 a.m. Guests are welcome to take a break from the dance floor at dessert bar La Cucina. Dial Libby Cagle at 713-652-6244 for priority seating, which includes bottle service and other goodies with a minimum tab of $500.
Dive into Ocean's for a special dinner service that sports starters like a ceviche shrimp sope (those lucious, thick handmade tortillas), and entrées including Chilean sea bass, filet mignon and scallops dished in a pool of rich mole. Top it off with Tres Leches or the signature Tropic 43o: a mirage of fruits drenched in liqueur 43, grand marnier and topped with vanilla yogurt and roasted pistachios. The meal is $65 per person, with seatings at 7 and 9 p.m.
Afterwards, cash in on the casino themed "Casablanca" party, going down from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets are $40 pre-sale and $50 at the door. Book your table by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 713-828-0658.
Monarch at Hotel ZaZa
Dine like a king at Hotel ZaZa's urban bistro, Monarch, where exec chef Adam West presents a four course meal with such stunners as a farro risotto served with kabocha squash and local goat cheese, beef tar-tar and crispy pork carnitas. Standout main courses include bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin and golden trout with miso cream. Before your New Year's resolutions officially begin, indulge in a final serving of milk chocolate hazelnut crème brûlée.
For a 6:30 p.m. seating, the tariff is $399 per couple, and an additional $75 includes a midnight champagne toast. The 9 p.m. seating rings in at $499 per couple. After the dishes are cleared, the venue will be transformed into a hopping dance floor.
Steak out Sullivan's for the Ringside New Year's Eve Affair, featuring Latin jazz group The Brew for a tiny $20 entry. For a full-on meal, try executive chef Teli Triklis' spread for $69. Expect steakhouse classics: starters of calamari, iced jumbo shrimp and a wedge salad, followed by a long list of red meat. It's a special occasion, so why not add half of an Australian lobster tail for $20? Key lime pie and warm bananas Foster await the end of the evening. Dinner is served from 4:30 to 11 p.m.
Uptown girls and guys should head to 51 Fifteen on the second floor of Saks Fifth Avenue, which offers 6 and 9 p.m. slots for dinner. The $100 per person price tag includes appetizers like vodka-cured smoked salmon, baked escargot feuillettes, lentil-black eyed pea soup and a decadent rendition of stuffed jalapeños: the spicy peppers stuffed with smoked oysters, wrapped with applewood-smoked bacon and topped with a Roquefort mousse.
Enticing entrées include striped seabass with Hawaiian Blue Prangs Champagne sauce, Colorado rack of lamb with aged port reduction and white cheddar grits, and a filet mignon topped with pan-seared foie gras and black currant sauce. Top it all off with guava cheesecake and white chocolate bread pudding.