Holiday Guide: Christmas Eve and Day DinnersBy Scott Kearnan
December 9, 2013
The days of take-out pizza and delivery chow mein on Christmas Eve are long gone. The chef crowd has embraced holiday cooking, and some of Boston's best restaurants are open for business, with special meals on Christmas Eve and Day. Here, a list of the some of most exciting.
Lumiere: Chef Michael Leviton will be serving up a special dinner ($75) that, inspired by his own ritual of childhood Chinese-takeout-and-movies on Christmas Eve, will pair Asian plates with Hanukkah and Christmas classics. Think chow fun with squid, Chinese sausage and pickled mustard greens; potato latke with house-smoked sturgeon; and bourbon- and soy-marinated squab with wilted pea greens, ginger and garlic (617-244-9199).
China Pearl: For something a little sillier, head here for dinner and a show: Moo Shu Jew, a Jewish-inspired stand-up comedy show based around spending Christmas Eve in a Chinese restaurant. Four funnymen, including Comedy Central and Letterman alums, will each do a set of stand-up while China Pearl rolls out a five-course dinner that is $65 in advance, $75 at the door (617-426-4338).
Restaurant Dante: The Cambridge Italian from Dante de Magistris will celebrate the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes, incorporating recipes passed down to the chef from his own nonna. The dinner ($75; $115 with wine pairings) will include antipasto di mare (heaped with shrimp, eel, clam, octopus and more); pasta served with anchovy, capers and golden raisins; and striped bass baked in salt, with mushrooms, leek purée and walnut stuffing (617-497-4200).
Davio’s: Though the à la carte menu will also be offered, the Italian steakhouse is also serving a version of Feast of the Seven Fishes prix fixe (pictured, $75). Expect to find fried baccala with calamari and oysters; spaghettini with Nantucket Bay scallop and black truffle chive cream; and pan-roasted striped bass with lobster, shrimp and saffron brodo (617-357-4810).
Top of the Hub: Hopefully it’s a white Christmas so you can get an especially pretty view from the landmark dining room on the 52nd floor of Prudential Tower. Top of the Hub will offer a four-course holiday menu ($85) from 4-10 PM. A few highlights include artichoke and black truffle soup, braised short rib with petite crab cake, and New Zealand rack of venison accompanied by creamed salsify and cranberry compote. Afterwards, hit the lounge for a nightcap and live jazz (617-536-1775).
Bond: The Langham Hotel’s Bond, built inside a former Federal Reserve Bank, is an elegant destination for a four-course Christmas dinner anchored by smoked duck breast with a sherry orange gastrique (617-956-8765).
Meritage: We’re not surprised chef Daniel Bruce won’t be taking the day off: the chef's work ethic is pretty well known. His four-course prix fixe menu ($115) also sounds ambitious: expect leek ricotta with Parmesan cheese cannelloni, blackberry and five-spice-rubbed roast duck, and prosciutto-wrapped venison loin (617-439-3995).
Asana: Since “asana” refers to a state of mindful relaxation, relax and let others mind the dinner plans at the Mandarin Oriental’s restaurant. The centerpiece of the Christmas Day menu ($90) is a carving station serving beef tenderloin, organic turkey and slow-roasted Berkshire pork. There will also be sides served at the table (from squash to Brussels sprouts) and a chef’s table “dessert parlor” with everything from red-velvet cake to a peppermint ganache pop (617-535-8888).
Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro: By Beacon Hill standards, chef Josh Lewin’s special Christmas menu is rather affordable: $61 for appetizers like duck liver mousse and potato latke with juniper crème fraîche, and main courses like roast goose with braised winter greens and Maine salmon with pumpkin and cranberry couscous (617-723-7575).
Artisan Bistro: After a little Christmas Day ice-skating on the Boston Common frog pond, warm up at the Ritz Carlton’s Artisan with a soul-warming menu that includes toasted barley with haricot vert and confited quail, and olive oil-poached venison loin. For dessert, they’re serving Yule logs - naturally (617-574-7176).