Ultimate New Year's Eve Dining Guide

By Scott Kearnan  |  December 13, 2013
Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Trying to decide where to spend New Year's Eve? Here are a few options, arranged by descending price point, for some of the more exceptional-sounding prix fixe dinners around Boston - plus a few spots where the food takes a backseat to an awesome party.

L’Espalier ($195). Not surprisingly, chef Frank McClelland’s elegant French L’Espalier is the priciest prix fixe on our list. But it sounds like a decadent six-course, wine-paired experience worth every penny. Highlights include chicory-glazed venison loin with Cape Ann poitrine de porc; smoked bluefin tuna with pork jowl; and hot and cold Maine lobster with heirloom apple cannoli.

Bistro du Midi ($95). Chef Robert Sisca’s customizable menu boasts many supplemental courses, so you can tailor your experience based on your level of hunger - and budget. The $95 four-course prix fixe includes options like grilled Spanish octopus with eggplant caviar and grilled pear, and slow-cooked crispy pork belly with parsnip purée. Along the way, you can add on items like a foie gras course ($20) or white-truffle course ($50).

Ribelle ($180/pair). The Chinese New Year isn’t until January 31, but that’s not stopping chef Tim Maslow from diving into the cuisine. He’ll ring in 2014 by bringing in his former Momofuku colleague James Mark for a five-course Chinese dinner with seatings on the hour from 5:30-10:30 PM. Options will include hot and pungent soup with lobster, country ham, crab paste and dried scallop; and skate wing with ginger scallion butter and burnt cabbages. If you can, rustle up a whole posse, since dinner will be served family-style at tables of eight (considered a lucky number in Chinese culture) and the tickets are $180 per pair, with 5% benefiting the Greater Boston Food Bank. Individual seats aren’t being sold.

Catalyst ($75). Chef William Kovel always impresses with his contemporary tweaks of classic New England cuisine. On New Year's Eve, he's serving a four-course prix fixe ($75) with plates like truffle ravioli and ham hock; butter-poached lobster with hedgehog mushrooms and braised gem lettuce; and crispy veal sweetbreads with bok choy, spiced peanut and Tso’s sauce. 

The Sinclair ($50). The Harvard Square restaurant-slash-music-hall is serving up a spirited menu; think fowl rabbit terrine with chestnut mustard and salt-cured blueberries; seared scallops with oyster-tarragon purée and a squid-ink cracker; and pan-roasted Arctic char with pretzel spaetzle and crystallized honey. But our favorite part? For $20 you can choose a flight of drink pairings: either wine, cocktails or whiskey.

For something a little more lively: 

Beat Hotel. The Harvard Square restaurant is known for nightly live music, and NYE is no exception. An '80s new-wave cover band will party alongside circus performers and drag queens from 9 PM-2 AM, plus there's an optional food buffet ($115 with food; $75 without). 

Moksa. It's $125 for a combo ticket that gets you access to dinner (8 PM-3 AM) of an unlimited sushi bar and Pan-Asian apps, plus a DJ dance party (with midnight sake) shot in adjacent Naga nightclub. Otherwise, go strictly for dinner ($80) or the social scene ($65).

Red Lantern. Avoid the ticketed-party circuit. Starting at 5 PM, simply order off the menu at this Pan-Asian nightspot, where DJ Diskino will start spinning at 9 PM.