The last supper: Where to eat on New Year's Eve
Whether it's the beginning of an adventurous evening or the main event, nothing kicks off New Year's Eve like a great meal. Whether you want to be entertained, can't get enough courses, or just want to close out 2011 in style, here are a few restaurants good for getting the party started.
If your friends are fond of referring to things as "so five minutes ago," you have no choice but to end the year at the hottest, newest restaurant in town — Triniti. Luckily Triniti's elegant California-style fare more than lives up to the hype.
Go for five courses at the 5 p.m. seating for $95 (add $45 for wine pairings) or really indulge with the eight-course New Year's dinner with an 8:30 p.m. seating ($120, add $65 for wine), with plates like hibiscus guava sorbet, white asparagus with truffle cream and black cod with coriander crust.
2. Down House
Listen up, yupsters: Resist the Washington Avenue-ification of New Year's. Instead imagine the casual cool of Down House taken to the next level with a four-course dinner ($80) plus beer, wine and cocktail pairings and a DJ spinning classic vinyl soul, R&B, rock and blues.
3. El Real
Lower Westheimer may be having a high-minded renaissance, but El Real Tex-Mex is still the kind of place you go to get the party started in Montrose. New Year's Eve is no exception, with the restaurant offering $3 Espolon rocks margaritas, $1 Bud/Bud Light draft beers and $2 tequila shots.
What, your New Year's traditions don't include queso and enchiladas?
4. Simone on Sunset
If you'd rather ring in the new year with just the person you'll be kissing at midnight, the dreamily romantic Simone is offering NYE reservations for $150 per pair that include a $130 bottle of champagne. (I'm not a math major but I think that's a pretty good deal.) There's also a dessert buffet and an optional dinner menu for $25 that includes options like salmon with risotto.
5. Torchy's Tacos
There is a certain amount of delight reserved for throwing on your fanciest party gear and eating cheap, delicious tacos, and right now our favorites are at Torchy's. Or if your house party doesn't have a dress code (or the dress code is "Ke$ha") there's an equal joy in watching the suckers in uncomfortable shoes parade past.
6. Barbed Rose block party
One advantage of celebrating New Year's Eve far from the city limits? No one to bother when you light up those Roman candles.
Alvin's The Barbed Rose is celebrating with its first-ever New Year's Eve block party. The party begins at 4 p.m. with the grand opening of Gordon Street Tavern, and at 6 p.m. visitors can take in a sneak peek at Italian fare from the forthcoming Il Manzo Rosso (five courses, NYE entertainment and breakfast buffet for $130).
Keep to the Barbed Rose a la carte menu before 9 p.m. or buy the $50 tickets for the official New Year's Eve party, which includes three bands, a champagne toast and a midnight buffet.
Celebrate in global style at Skewer's, where the 9:30 p.m. seating for a three-course dinner ($75, $35 for earlier seatings) also includes a performance by international singer Youssef and belly dancing.
8. The Capitol at St. Germain
Whether you live a champagne lifestyle or just have champagne taste on a beer budget, capture that swanky downtown vibe for the night at the lovely new Capitol at St. Germain.
9. Flora & Muse
Want a high-style experience without the restrictions of a seated multi-course dinner? Head to Flora & Muse at CityCentre. The $90 tickets include appetizers and premium drinks served all night, plus a live performance from local fave Moodafaruka and the CityCentre fireworks.
10. BlackFinn American Grille
The enormous and stately new BlackFinn American Grille reminds me a little bit of the Clue boardgame (I think it's the multiple rooms with different styles, not because I've seen any stray lead pipes around).
So how better to discover the newest midtown magnet than during a Roaring Twenties party? I'm just saying you won't be the only Miss Peacock there. Tickets that include passed appetizers, party favors and a midnight toast are $15 per person, dinner packages are $90 per couple.