Ringing in 2011: Our Restaurant Picks

For New Years’ Eve in the city, there are usually two ways to dine out: early or late. Most restaurants have two seatings for the night intended to serve those dining before other activities and those looking for “The Activity.” At our Clean Plates-approved spots, this includes rooftop lounging, champagne toasts and a live Cuban band playing salsa into the wee hours of the night. Reserve your last night in 2010 now! And as always, make it a healthy one.

Il Buco

Four courses, two seatings (6-8pm, $85; 8pm, $145); (212) 533-1932
ilbuco.com

Both the early and late seating here start with oysters on the half shell with fennel and Meyer lemon, then an antipasto of either apple-yogurt-seaweed salad or wagyu beef tartare with quail egg. If you eat early, you’ll enjoy three courses, but the later seating features four. As far as entrees, we’d go for the poached halibut with celery root puree, mushrooms and sunchoke chips. From the three dessert options, we’re eyeing the persimmon gallettes with crème fraiche and lemon sorbet. By 9pm, the NYC-based Cuban band, Nu Guajiro, will have you out of your seats on the dance floor and at midnight, enjoy a champagne toast.

Rouge Tomate

Three courses, two seatings (6-8pm, $75; 9-11pm, $110); (646) 237-8977
rougetomatenyc.com

Choose from four first courses including candy cane beet carpaccio, celery root panna cotta and potato leek soup with a slow-cooked farm egg and chives. The second course features black winter truffle risotto with squid ink and a lobster fleischnacke with Santa Barbara sea urchin, leek and Thai basil. Third courses included squab, Piedmontese grass-fed New York strip steak with winter squash and heirloom cauliflower ravioli with Swiss chard. Dessert has not been selected yet, but judging by the rest of the dinner, it won’t disappoint. The second seating includes Champagne, party favors and a DJ spinning tunes all night long.

Print

Three courses with wine pairing, $150 (with lounge reception, $350); (212) 757-2224
printrestaurant.com

At the Ink 48 Hotel, Print has a three-course dinner at 8pm and a rooftop lounge reception to follow from 10pm till 3am; both spaces can be reserved separately. The meal includes appetizers of Maine lobster salad, oysters, American Paddle fish caviar, peekytoe crab salad and a seasonal soup. Of the six entrées, we’d go for the buckwheat pappardelle with braised lamb shoulder, kale and roasted tomatoes. Dessert features a chocolate bread with Catskill Provision honey; carmelized pineapple with moscato zabaglione; and espresso gelato with Turkish coffee granita and caramel cream. Head to the rooftop lounge for dessert and cheese tables, an open bar, a Champagne toast and DJs running 80s, dance and contemporary music.

Aurora

Three courses, $75; (212) 334-9020

aurorarestaurant.com

Start here with lobster croquettes before moving onto a choice of four antipasti like scallops in a porcini mushroom salad with cauliflower emulsion or  hamachi crudo with shaved fennel, blood orange and toasted pistachio. Of the four mains, we like the sound of dry-rubbed grass-fed local lamb loin or roasted halibut with root vegetable gratin. End the evening with one of two desserts: a hazelnut-chocolate tartufo with amaretto cherry in an espresso shot or a Panettone bread budding with champagne gratin.

Northern Spy Food Co.

Three courses, $45 (with wine, $30); (212) 228-5100
northernspyfoodco.com

Crispy pumpkin gnocchi or crab salad with citrus gelee starts this New Years’ Eve meal, followed by a second course of either Fazio Farms duck breast with shaved brussels sprouts and potato galette or poached Long Island striped bass with little neck clams and fingerling potatoes. Dessert is a toss-up between a lemon tart and goat cheesecake with chocolate macadamia short bread.

Editors note: CleanPlates earns a small commission if you reserve online (links added by editor, writer unaware). Photo by ginnerobot.

Five Christmas Eve Dinners Sure to Get You on Santa’s Nice List

The holidays are a time to celebrate past achievements with family, relax, and plan good deeds for the coming year. Take time to enjoy all three at one of these toasty, Clean Plates-approved spots, where you’ll enjoy friends, family time, and best of all: healthy, sustainable, and delicious food—with no dishes to wash afterward.  Check out our Christmas Eve picks for roasted pork loin with herbed spaetzle from Northern Spy or egg fettuccine with sea urchin from Telepan. And yes, there’ll be plenty of eggnog ice cream and sticky toffee pudding to go around.

Print

Four Courses, $95; (212) 757-2224
printrestaurant.com

Print restaurant will start you out with a first course of Maine lobster salad with Asian pear, purple shiso and Meyer lemon vinaigrette before a second course of parsnip honey crisp apple soup with crème fraiche and Indian spices. Then there’s a choice of seared diver scallops (with celeriac purée and black truffle jus) or grilled aged sirloin with mushrooms, seasonal vegetables and potato-leek gratin. The meal finishes with a dessert of either chocolate sticky toffee pudding with brandy hard sauce and candied chestnuts or Seckel pear with Meyer lemon pavlova.

Northern Spy Food Co.

Three Courses, $40; (212) 228-5100
northernspyfoodco.com

Christmas Eve at Northern Spy will fill you to the brim with a choice of roasted pork loin with herbed spaetzle or seared Long Island striped bass with baby winter vegetables for your entree. The meal starts with a warm onion tart or chestnut soup and finishes with either a warm gingerbread cake with eggnog ice cream or chocolate mousse with hazelnut brittle.

Telepan

Three Courses, $75 ($135 with wine); (212)580-4300
telepan-ny.com

The prix-fixe holiday meal here runs from December 15th through the 24th. Start with house-smoked salmon with dill crepes and potato cream before the second course of Nantucket bay scallops with egg fettuccine, sea urchin and scallion. The main features a goose breast and leg confit with goose fat potato gratin, sweet onion and muscato sauce. Then finish the evening with sticky toffee pudding with cranberries and crème fraiche ice cream.

Aurora

prices vary; (212) 334-9020
aurorarestaurant.com

If you’re not into the prix-fixe thing, Aurora simply has some specials for the occasion — and it’s all about the sea. Highlights include a traditional zuppa soup of shrimp, lobster and mussels with toasted Sardinian wheat and garlic fett’unta ($12). You’ll also find a dish of baby eels, garlic and hot peppers for $15. More filling dishes include traditional Pietmontese hand-cut pasta with shaved winter truffle ($19) and a dish of wild halibut baked in a parchment-paper bundle with artichokes, tomatoes and fingerling potatoes ($27).

Gotham Bar & Grill

Three Courses, $110; (212) 620-4020
gothambarandgrill.com

Start with a wild mushroom soup, then choose from six different first courses. We’d go for the artichoke ravioli with smoked mushrooms and Pecorino potatoes or the Yellowfin tuna tartare with sweet miso and Asian ginger vinaigrette. If those don’t tempt you, they’re also offering a mushroom-and-chestnut risotto. The second course choices include a rack of lamb with Swiss chard, a juniper-spiced organic chicken and a roasted rack of Berkshire pork with sauerkraut, baby turnips and Normandy apple cider reduction. A third course of dessert hasn’t yet been announced, but we’re sure that it’ll be a perfect sweet ending to a fabulous meal.