Toasting 2014 doesn’t have to mean filling up on champagne alone. Instead of hitting up a club with an expensive cover and a measly toast at midnight, try one of these prix fixe New Year's Eve dinners, ranging from humble taco party to an ultradecadent $10,000 feast. Read on for our best NYE suggestions, listed in order from the cheapest to most expensive.
Salvation Taco: If you're planning on spending New Year's in Murray Hill, April Bloomfield's four-course dinner is one of the best values the city offers. For $55, partygoers can fill up on frozen margaritas with champagne floaters while snacking on a family-style dinner. Guacamole, spicy Cesar salad and tacos filled with fish or pork are a few of the items available, with the festivities taking place until 4 AM (212-865-5800).
Northern Spy Food Co.: We always appreciate a restaurant that cares about local, seasonally available ingredients. This East Villager is offering a four-course dinner for $75, with additional wine pairings available for $30. Select courses include a winter vegetable minestrone, poached cod and a blood orange cake with honey ice cream. The restaurant is taking three seatings, at 6, 8 and 10 PM (212-228-5100).
Miss Lily’s: The Jamaican restaurant and juice bar is offering $75 prix fixe dinner beginning at 9 PM. A midnight champagne toast is included along with a performance by a DJ. Those interested in dining earlier in the night will have the option to order off the à la carte menu (646-588-5375).
Balaboosta: Chef Einat Admony's Moroccan-themed menu is a cool option for diners looking for something unusual. The $85-per-person menu includes a smorgasbord of mezes along with lamb stew, chicken tagine and challah bread. Seatings take place from 5 PM to midnight, and the dishes will be served family-style (212-966-7366).
Toro: Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s Boston import is celebrating its first New York New Year’s Eve with a Barcelona-style tapas party at 10 PM for $125. The hosts have set up a sangria bar along with Spanish wine, beer and cocktails. If you’re looking for a sit-down dinner, reserve a table at either 5 PM for $85 per person or 7 PM for $100. Reservations for the late-night bash - which includes a DJ set - can be purchased here (212-691-2360).
Maison Premiere: If you'd prefer to celebrate the new year in Brooklyn chasing the green fairy, this oyster and absinthe hideaway has a four-course prix fixe for $95, with the first seating at 6 PM. Starting at 9 PM, guests can enjoy tuna tartare and cauliflower veloute with uni toast, all with a complimentary glass of champagne, for $125 per person (347-335-0446).
Rouge Tomate: Starting off with a health-conscious meal from this Michelin star winner might be the best way to keep your new year’s resolution this time around. From 5 to 7:30 PM, guests can indulge in a $95 three-course dinner highlighted by branzino with vegetables and caviar. During the second seating starting at 7 PM, the meal expands to five courses for $150, and diners receive complimentary champagne as well as live music by a band to welcome in 2014 (646-237-8977).
MaisonO: We love not having to travel far between a big meal and a spot to watch the ball drop. To start the night off, chef Tadashi Ono's izakaya dining room showcases a $125 seven-course tasting menu with a glass of champagne beginning at 9 PM. The menu will feature items like Kumamato oysters, yakitori and sushi among other small plates. There will be karaoke in the attached Stardust Lounge area while courses are being served, with a toast to Tokyo planned for midnight (212-274-9898).
Il Buco: The Italian restaurant is offering a special foie gras course as part of a $145 prix fixe. Starting at 8:30 PM, diners can enjoy house specialties like gnocchi with shaved white truffle and a grilled rib-eye with marrow butter. There will also be a champagne toast and live band included with the evening seating. The offer is available for early-bird diners from 6 to 7:30 PM for $85 (212-533-1932).
Kingside: Marc Murphy’s latest venture is celebrating its first New Year’s Eve with a $150 four-course feast, which will include Nantucket bay scallop crudo, grilled octopus with chorizo, and a cowboy rib-eye (212-707-8000).
The Standard Grill: If you enjoy being entertained while dining, head to this Meatpacking District hotel for a $175 three-course prix fixe. Seatings take place from 9:30 PM until midnight, and Moulin Rouge bingo and a DJ will be part of the in-house festivities. The menu features American classics like grilled beef tenderloin, butter-poached Maine lobster and for dessert, baked Alaska (212-645-4100).
Betony: Offering something for everyone, executive chef Bryce Shuman and company are offering their regular à la carte menu for diners seated from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. At a second 8:30 PM seating, the restaurant is putting together a $250 nine-course tasting menu featuring poached lobster, grilled short rib, caviar and a champagne toast at midnight (212-465-2400).
Armani Ristorante: This fashionable Upper East Side spot has a special menu centered around Italian dishes that are said to bring good fortune, like pork with lentils. The six-course prix fixe starts at $300, and live music will be played throughout the evening (212-207-1902).
The NoMad: Saying goodbye with a grand cocktail party is just the kind of epic send-off the year of the Cronut deserves. For $325, revelers can enjoy food stations and bites courtesy of chefs Daniel Humm and James Kent. Leo Robitschek will prepare a selection of cocktails, and a live band and DJ will help set the tone from 9:30 PM to 2 AM (347-472-5660).
Empire Steak House: For those of us who are looking to start 2014 in debt, a $10,000 “Emperor's Delight Menu” for two begins with a wallet-whopping pound of fresh Osetra caviar per person and a bottle of 2010 Château Lafite Rothschild Pauillac. There's more: Wagyu Kobe beef and a chocolate torte with cognac pudding. If you didn’t get ten grand in your stocking this year, not to worry. The restaurant has a four-course prix fixe from 4 to 9 PM at $89.95 per person, while from 10 PM to 2 AM, there’s a $250 four-course option that comes with an open bar. No matter what time you opt to dine, you’ll be serenaded by Ol' Blue Eyes - the steak joint is playing live Frank Sinatra performances in the dining room all night (212-582-6900).