If you are thinking of ringing in 2011 with a good dinner, now is the time to secure a reservation. In fact, some restaurants are already booked solid -- Thinking of celebrating at Area 31? Think again. However, there is still plenty out there to choose from. Here are some of the better deals out there, all, of course, with the requisite New Year's Eve price hike.
Fontainebleau: Gotham Steak, Scarpetta, and Hakkasan
We'll start out by saying all the expensive dining packages at the three restaurants, which went for $295 per person, are sold out. That will save you from deciding whether to choose the four- or five-course dinners -- except for Hakkasan which will be serving family-style.
Honestly, for the $120 difference, those who paid full price were suckers. Besides different seating times ($175 diners eat at 6:30, while those who paid $295 dine at 9:30), the menu is almost exactly the same. For example, at Scarpetta the only difference is that at 6:30, you miss out on the raw yellowtail appetizer and the entrees aren't served with fresh shaved truffle.
For the 6:30 dinner at Gotham Steak, the third and fourth courses are combined into a single third course.
Hakkasan is the only place that has two almost completely different menus for each dinner.
Reservations require a 100 percent deposit. For more information or to make reservations, call 305-695-2414, or visit the Fontainebleau site, which includes the complete menus for each restaurant.
We hate DJs in our restaurants and nobody breaks that rule more than STK. But since this is NYE, we'll lift our ban. In fact, STK's party is more nightclub than dinner -- which is the reason we are highlighting it.
The price is steep -- $275 per person, more if you want VIP seating -- but the party goes from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., with open bar from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. and hors d'oeuvres being served from 9 to 11 p.m. There is also a free champagne toast at midnight, but you'll probably be too drunk to care by then. For more information or to buy tickets, call 212-724-3900.
Got to love a good theme party, and Pelican Café promises that with a 2011 A Dance Odyssey. The '50s sci-fi party has a great menu to boot by executive chef Stefano Zen. The five-course menu includes Chilean sea bass with winter vegetables, speck-wrapped filet mignon, and a stone crab salad.
Dinner is $295 per person, not including tax or tip, and includes one bottle of champagne per couple. For more information or to make reservations, call 305-673-3373.
If the prices so far have shocked you, Joey's is here to bring us back to Earth. The Wynwood eatery might have lost some publicity steam this year, but it still continues to put out amazing dishes. And we expect the same for New Year's.
The restaurant is actually offering two different menus (at two different prices) from 8 p.m. to midnight. A $55 seafood-heavy four-course meal, or an $80 well-rounded five-course dinner. For more information or to make reservations, call 305-438-0488.
Michelle Bernstein is also taking a more simple route for NYE at her flagship restaurant, Michy's. One five-course menu will be served from 6 p.m. until last seating at 11 p.m. That also means one price of $110 no matter when the reservation.
The very decadent menu includes toro-wrapped Kumomoto oysters, seared foie gras, braised pork shoulder, and more. For more information or to make reservations, call 305-759-2001.
The Restaurant at the Setai
If you are going to spend large amount of cash during New Year's, you might as well do it right. And for that, there is the Restaurant at the Setai. Want to know the price? It's about equal to a second mortgage on your home: $588 per person -- not including tax or tip.
If there is one thing though we know about the Setai, it is that it's worth every penny. The night starts out with a cocktail reception, natch, with passed hors d'oeuvres that include ingredients like lobster, smoked salmon, and Parma ham.
Then you'll move on to a five-course gala dinner, which -- rejoice -- also includes a vegetarian dim sum menu. For more information or to make reservations, call 305-520-6400.
Got cash to burn? The Forge has a $350 NYE dinner -- which doesn't include tax and tip, natch. Still, Dewey LoSasso promises to make it worth your money with four-course dinner and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot per couple. Menu includes a Hawaiian blue prawn risotto, foie gras salad, basil-seared Chilean sea bass, and more. The dinner starts at 9 p.m.
If you are looking for a taste at a cheaper price, the 6 p.m. dinner includes most of what later diners will eat, but comes with a $95 price (no free champagne, though). For more information or to make reservations, call 305-604-9798.
Eos at the Viceroy
Area 31 is booked, but there is still another downtown/Brickell option. Remember Eos? Everyone seems to have forgotten about it. Why don't you take time to rediscover the place that had Lee Klein saying is "damn impressive and clearly the new benchmark for Miami's hotel restaurants."
There are two different seating times: 6 to 7:30 p.m. for $65 and 8 p.m. to midnight for $125. The menus are almost identical except for the lack of an amuse bouche for the $65 and a few other minor differences. For more information or to make reservations, call 305-503-0373.
If you don't mind dining between 5 and 7 p.m. You can save about $50 off Eden's New Year's Eve menu. Seating for the five-course tasting menu is $75 per person or $100 with wine pairings. Reservations after 10 p.m. jump to $125 per person but include a bottle of champagne per couple.
And because this is a party, a DJ will help you celebrate starting at 9 p.m. For more information or to make reservations, call 305-397-8760
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Michael's Genuine Food & Drink
If you are looking for the familiar, Michael's has you covered. Schwartz could be doing a fancy shmancy NYE menu, but instead he's opting for the full regular Michael's menu available a la carte. That's right. No prix fixe menu, no absurd prices. This is probably the winner in our book.
Still, there will be a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, so the festive occasion isn't completely lost at the Design District eatery. To make reservations, call 305-573-5550.