ring in the new year
Make the last meal count: Special NYE dinners at a few of our favorite Austinrestaurants
For some, New Year’s Eve is all sparkly dresses, disco balls, wild parties, numerous fancy cocktails and finding that midnight kiss. For others, the only way to pay homage to 2011 is a memorable, leisurely and tasty meal with a loved one or close friends. For the latter, I’ve gathered a handful of festive and foodie menus around town to help you end 2012 with one final and fabulous dinner. You wouldn’t want to start the New Year hungry now, would you?
For Hudson’s on the Bend’s fancy yet festive New Year’s Eve affair— diners sport their best duds and sit under hundreds of apples and Christmas lights strung from the ceiling— Executive Chef Kelly Casey has planned a menu to close out 2011 with a full belly and happy tastebuds. The seven-course tasting menu will include a lobster shooter, foie gras on maple cornbread with cranberry gastrique, ruby red grapefruit and avocado salad, black pepper gnocchi, a back strap of venison Wellington wrapped with duck truffle pate and duxelle baked in a puff pastry and ginger cheesecake.
Each course will be paired with a special wine selected by Hudson’s wine expert, Phillip Dubov, and will be introduced by Casey. Dubov will discuss each wine. If seven courses is two too many, Hudson’s will also offer a five-course menu. Cost for the seven-course dinner is $150 per person. (Call Rosi at 512-266-1369 for reservations.)
While Chef Parind Vora awaits the reopening of Restaurant Jezebel, he will channel the New Year will a four-course menu prix fixe menu at Braise, which celebrates modern American cuisine and has an award-winning wine list.
The New Year’s Eve menu includes eclectic items such as roulade of tuna sashimi, Niman Ranch prime rib au jus, crisped farmed pork belly, crispy and crunchy Idaho trout served with Cajun crawfish cream and white chocolate chip bread pudding. Cost is $49.95 per person and $99 per couple. Reservations are not required, but recommended. (Call 512-478-8700 for reservations.)
Ring in the New Year South Texas-style at Contigo’s New Year’s Eve Cocktail Dinner. Each of the five courses will be paired with a cocktail created by bartender Houston Eaves, who couldn’t let 2011 end with just one glass of bubbly.
The tasty food and libation menu will include chestnut gnocchi paired with a chestnut seelbach; seared foie gras on a buttermilk pancake with maple syrup and black pepper paired with a sauternes sazerac and chocolate cake with cherry ice cream and peppermint dusk paired with a New York sour. Contigo will offer two seatings, 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Cost is $115 and $145 per person, respectively. Tickets are required.
Ned and Jodi Elliott, the husband and wife team behind Foreign & Domestic, will be preparing a delicious five-course menu to deliciously eat your way out of 2011. There will be two seatings, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and both counter and table seats are available. Each course will paired with wine.
The menu includes smoked 3rd Coast fish, Louisiana Bowfin caviar, a porridge of chestnuts, sea urchin and dashi, dry-aged Sika venison rack and chocolate and cranberry bread pudding. Diners have a choice between two offerings for each course. Cost is $100 per person.
Chef David Bull’s restaurants, Congress and Second Bar & Kitchen, will be celebrating their one-year anniversary on New Year’s Eve. Congress will offer both five and seven-course dinners. Menu items will include Wagyu Beef and braised oxtail with bone marrow aioli; Alba white truffle with mascarpone pomme puree and black trumpet mushrooms and golden Ossetra caviar with Wellfleet Oysters.
If you are a vegetarian, or if you are giving up meat as a New Year’s resolution and want to get a head start, Congress will also have a five and seven-course vegetarian menu. Prices are $125 and $185.
Next door at Second Bar + Kitchen, which will be open until 2 a.m., will offer New Year’s Eve specials to celebrate its first birthday. Reservations accepted for only 6 or more. (Call 512-827-2750 or email email@example.com for reservations.)
Food & Wine’s Best New Chef 2011, Bryce Gilmore, has put together a locally-sourced 10-course menu New Year’s Eve menu for Barley Swine, his restaurant named for his love of beer and pork. The menu was inspired by the fresh beginnings and new bounty offered by a new year.
Diners can order malty beverages a la carte from an impressive beer list or have wine paired with each course for an additional $30. Reservations are required and expected to go fast for the 35-seat restaurant, which opened is now one-year old. Cost is $125 per person.
Chef Shawn Cirkiel’s gastropub on 6th Street, Parkside, will offer two New Year’s Eve experiences— a rocking party upstairs and a unique four-course fine dining menu downstairs. The main dining room will have a prix fixe menu, which will include sweetbreads and blue prawns, handmade raviolo, goose pastrami, a beef duo with mascarpone polenta and mushrooms, artic char with pancetta, chocolate beignets, citrus green tea mousse and more.
Cirkiel offers several different choices for each course— even house-made tofu in a miso broth with braised root vegetables for the main course. For an additional $35 diners can add a wine pairing by Parkside Sommelier Ashley Gaas and for an additional $28 add an oyster course. Cost is $60 per person.
The upstairs party,10 p.m. to 2 a.m., will feature music from DJ Resinthol, DJ Jah Mighty, DJ Mahealani, MC Tigre Liu and percussionist El Cocinero. Cost is $100 per person and includes and open bar, a midnight champagne toast, hor d’oeuvres and sweets prepared by Cirkiel and a special New Year’s Eve photo booth.
To purchase tickets to the upstairs party, click here. (Call 512-474-9898 for reservations.)
Nestled in cozy Hyde Park, Asti Trattoria will offer a special New Year’s Eve prix fixe menu to end the year with season Italian home cooking. With both three-course option for $60 or four-course option for $75, diners can customize the number of courses to their appetites.
The menu includes lobster zuppa, fresh figs and Prosciutto de Parma with Round Rock Honey, butternut squash risotto with Maine lobster, beef short rib tortellini, grilled beef tenderloin, wild mushroom, chestnut and cipolline onion ragu, chocolate truffle tart, mascarpone chiffon cheesecake and an Antonelli’s artisanal cheese plate. Asti’s wine list of over 60 wines, curated by Josh Loving, draws from every region in Italy. (Call 512-451-1218 for reservations.)
The W Hotel's swanky restaurant downtown, TRACE, will have two separate seatings and menus for New Year’s Eve, each with its own vibe. The first seating, from 5:30 - 7 p.m., offers a four-course menu for $95 (or $145 with paired wine), which includes a chestnut and toasted barley risotto, roasted Niman Ranch beef ribeye, wild mushroom Northwest halibut and Meyer lemon pie.
For those looking to start the evening a bit later, a second seating begins at 9 p.m. and features a menu of various small plates and shared items such as a house-made and artisanal charcuterie platter, chilled shellfish plateau, roasted beet salad, griddled black-eyed pea cakes, banana leaf baked redfish, grilled caramel-glazed pork belly, drunken doughnuts and s’mores. The second seating has a food and beverage minimum of $75 per person. (Call 512-542.3660 for reservations.)