Restaurant Guide to New Year’s Eve

Gougères, foie gras parfait, and Champagne are all on the New Year's Eve menu at Central Michel Richard.

Looking for New Year’s Eve plans? Here’s how local restaurants are ringing in ’08—from traditional Spanish feasts to laid-back neighborhood gatherings to foie-gras-laden dinners. All events are on December 31.

Italian-Style Celebrations


3435 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-686-2966;

This relaxed Cleveland Park wine bar and dining room is offering a lavish feast for New Year’s. The five-course meal begins with a trio of American caviars and a glass of Prosecco. Choices on the menu include shrimp-speck-porcini-and-asiago ravioli in a smoked-tomato broth; American Wagyu short ribs braised in Pinot Noir and served over polenta; and a rack of wild boar with an aged-cheddar/potato gratin and juniper jus. Each course will include a seafood and vegetarian choice. Owner Dean Gold’s wine pairings are available in two levels: “really good” for an additional $40 and “incredible” for an additional $81.
Dinner reservations available between 5 and 10:30 pm; $95 per person (before 6:30, $75 per person). Diners with reservations after 8:30 are invited to stay and ring in the new year with hats and noise makers.


5471 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-986-8785;

Set amid the luxury boutiques of Chevy Chase, this striking dining room will offer a four-course Firenze-themed special menu, which includes sautéed lobster and crab served with fried artichokes; duck terrine with orange sauce; porcini-filled gnocchi with white truffles; slow-cooked turbot with asparagus, quail eggs, and yellow-pepper sauce; and persimmon gelato with chestnut cream.
Dinner reservations available between 5:30 and 10; $90 per person. Famoso’s regular menu will also be available (dinner entrées $22 to $43).

633 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 202-547-0002;

This rustic neighborhood trattoria is putting on a five-course Mediterranean dinner that’s a few notches fancier than its typical fare. For the first course, choose among chorizo-stuffed squid, smoked wild-mushroom soup, or shrimp with garlic and tomatoes; next, there’s a shaved-porcini salad or puntarelle, a salad of chicory, grapefruit, and anchovies; the third course is lobster ravioli with black truffles; then, choose among seared scallops, grilled lamb chops, or papardelle with porcinis. Dessert is bread pudding or brandied-cherry rice pudding.
Dinner reservations available between 6 and 10; $85 per person ($110 with wine).

Fun and Festive

701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-393-0701;

At this swank downtown spot, a four-piece band will play throughout the evening while guests dine on dishes such as pepper-crusted tuna sashimi; seared foie gras with baked lemon purée; lobster ravioli with butternut squash; Dover-sole filet with wilted spinach; grilled squab breast and leg confit with curried lentils; braised organic goose with Savoy cabbage; and mushroom-crusted lamb loin. The first seating, from 5:30 to 7:30, features the regular à la carte menu in addition to a special fixed-price menu; from 8 to 11, only the fixed-price menu is available. Guests at the second seating receive a free glass of Champagne and party favors.
Dinner reservations available between 5:30 and 11; $100 per person.

The Carlyle Club

411 John Carlyle St., Alexandria; 703-548-5953;

Alexandria’s new supper club celebrates its first New Year’s Eve with a black-tie-optional party featuring a five-course dinner and dancing to the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. A midnight Champagne toast and party favors are included. For diners who already have party plans, there’s an early seating at 5:30.
Party (7:30 to midnight) $225 per person. Early-seating dinner $79 per person.

Central Michel Richard

1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-626-0015;

Central offers a five-course dinner with two seatings—before or after 8. The meal includes an amuse-bouche of gougères followed by chestnut-and-duck soup or mussel-and-celeriac chowder; a foie-gras parfait with apple chutney and corn brioche or a smoked-salmon terrine; lobster ravioli or poached turbot with leeks and caviar sauce; porcini-stuffed veal loin or 72-hour short ribs with grits and black-truffle sauce. For dessert, choose between chocolate-and-praline opera cake or fresh berries. The later crowd gets a glass of Champagne and party favors.
Dinner reservations available between 5:30 and 10; $75 per person before 8; $95 after 8.


2030 M St., NW; 202-872-8700;

This colorfully mod new spot in DC’s West End is offering a four-course fixed-price menu at two seatings. Choices include day-boat scallops with wild-mushroom ragout; grilled filet of bronzino; Angus tenderloin; a selection of artisanal cheeses; and five-layer midnight chocolate cake. There will be DJ entertainment, and the late seating includes party favors and a Champagne toast at midnight.
6:00 seating $70 per person; 9:30 seating $100.


8081 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring; 301-565-9700;

Jackie Greenbaum’s zany-cool restaurant serves a five-course fixed-price menu, followed in its backroom by a masquerade party. The meal includes choices such as potato-and-duck-confit terrine; seared foie gras with chestnuts, apple, and vanilla; pumpkin ravioli; mushroom-stuffed quail; grass-fed rib eye; and turbot with vegetables. For dessert, there’s an apple tartlet with ice cream or a chocolate terrine, both followed by a cheese course.
Early seatings at 5:50 and 6; late seatings at 8 and 8:30. $75 per person; wine pairings an additional $60 per person.

Kennedy Center Roof Terrace Restaurant

2700 F St. NW; 202-416-8555;

Want to join the KenCen’s annual party without buying tickets to a show? The Roof Terrace Restaurant is offering a four-course meal including tickets to the New Year’s celebration in the Grand Foyer. Along with panoramic views of Washington, you’ll find choices such as beef carpaccio with shaved fennel, Parmesan, and extra-virgin olive oil; vanilla-scented scallops with blood oranges and mâche; lemongrass-marinated lobster with cashews, jasmine rice, and coconut/kaffir-lime sauce; and warm pear-ginger cake with almond milk foam and Champagne sorbet.
Dinner reservations available between 5 and 10:30; $125 per person.

777 Ninth St., NW; 202-393-1400;

At this stylish, white-on-white Penn Quarter dining room, the full sushi menu and the standard three-course prix-fixe menu are available in the early evening. After 7, a five-course, French/Asian tasting menu includes butternut-squash dumplings with apple purée; a foie-gras duo with quince marmalade; turbot and lobster with lychee, ginger, and Asian pear; filet of beef with truffled port reduction; and a chocolate s'more. There will also be a DJ, dancing, and a midnight Champagne toast.
$30 three-course menu and regular sushi menu available between 5 and 7; chef's tasting menu ($125 per person; wine pairings an additional $30) available between 8:30 and 10.

Restaurant Nage
1600 Rhode Island Ave., NW; 202-448-8005;
In this cozy dining room inside a nondescript Courtyard Marriott Hotel on DC’s Scott Circle, a “seven deadly sins” tasting menu is filled with preresolution indulgences. Each of the seven courses represents one of the infamous sins: A spoonfed dish of potato cream with sturgeon caviar represents sloth, while truffled lobster mac and cheese with shaved truffles translates to lust. The tasting menu includes a Champagne toast at midnight.
Dinner reservations available from 5 to 10. Tasting menu $85 per person; the regular dinner menu will also be available (entrées $14 to $32).

781 Seventh St., NW; 202-393-2929;

This chic, low-lit Penn Quarter small-plates spot is offering a fixed-price Latin/Asian menu. A DJ will spin Latin music while diners sup on dishes such as Kobe-beef tiradito with miso-mustard/ponzu sauce; truffled huitlacoche empanadas with shiitake mushrooms; broiled sea bass with kabocha-squash purée, pumpkin seed, and white-soy/foie-gras foam; and saag tofu with fenugreek curry, spinach, and taro crisps. In the lounge, there will be passed nibbles and sushi from 8 to midnight.
Dinner reservations available between 5 and 8; $69 per person; after 8, $99 per person; lounge, $40 per person.


800 F St., NW; 202-654-0999;

At this sleek restaurant in the International Spy Museum, three tasting menus are available before 7:30: a three-course menu for $55, a four-course for $65, and a five-course for $80 per person. After 8, there’s a $90 five-course tasting menu, with such choices as sunchoke tortelloni; pancetta-wrapped rabbit loin; roasted quail with foie-gras emulsion; lobster crepe; porcini risotto; grilled Texas antelope; orange-glazed black cod; veal chop with braised artichokes; Wagyu-beef rib eye; chocolate decadence cake with brandied-fig compote; and persimmon crème brûlée.
Tasting menus: 5:30 to 7:30, $55 to $80 per person; 8 to midnight, $90 per person.

All-Out Splurges

Charlie Palmer Steak
101 Constitution Ave., NW; 202-547-8100;

At this sleek Capitol Hill power spot, chef Bryan Voltaggio is adding some luxe New Year’s Eve dishes to his regular à la carte menu. Special offerings include whole roasted turbot for two with artichokes and white-bean cassoulet ($82); scallop ceviche with black winter truffles ($21); black-winter-truffle risotto ($18); and an ounce of California Estate Osetra caviar served with corn blinis ($87).
Dinner reservations available between 5:30 and 10. 

Latham Hotel, 3000 M St., NW; 202-625-2150;

In the mood for extravagance? The New Year’s soiree at Michel Richard’s destination dining room starts with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the upstairs lounge, followed by a six-course dinner, dancing, and a midnight Champagne toast. On the menu will be such whimsical Richard creations as “eggs surprise” with Osetra caviar; scallops two ways; foie-gras torchon à l’orange; Maine lobster à l’américaine; stuffed braised veal with truffles; “2008 cake”; and petits fours.
Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres begin at 7:30; dinner is at 8:15; $300 per person (additional $125 for wine pairings). 

1330 Maryland Ave. SW; 202-787-6868;

At this foodie destination in the Mandarin Oriental hotel, Chef Eric Ziebold has planned an ultra-luxe nine-course tasting menu to ring in 2008. The feast includes a Matsutake-mushroom macchiato with lime zest and juniper salt; "CityZen frisée au lardon," a carpaccio of Pekin-duck bacon with frisée and Himalayan black salt; Mediterranean cuttlefish salad with sweet peppers, Lucques olives, and artichoke-tea gelée; sunchoke agnolotti with spinach, uni, and yuzu broth; Lobster Mont Blanc with Madagascar-vanilla-poached lobster, celery branch, Perigord truffles, and chestnut sauce; whole roasted moulard duck foie gras with carrot bread pudding and winter-spice gastrique; braised beef short ribs with spinach subric and Parmesan gnocchi; huckleberry sorbet with crispy crème pâtissier; and a warm coriander scone with white chocolate, Grand Marnier ice cream, poached tangerine, and tangerine crème anglaise.
Dinner reservations taken from 5:30 to 10; $200 per person.

Taberna del Alabardero
1776 I St., NW (entrance on 18th St.); 202-429-2200;

This gilded Spanish restaurant is ringing in 2008 with a traditional Nochevieja celebration, which includes a ten-course dinner and the Spanish New Year’s ceremony of the 12 grapes: During the 12 seconds before midnight, guests eat one grape per second—each represents a month of good luck for the new year. At midnight, there’s a toast with Cava (Spanish sparkling wine). The dinner menu includes Serrano ham with Manchego cheese; foie gras with truffles; shrimp croquettes; Basque-style crab with eggplant and olive-oil emulsion; lobster over garbanzo beans; grouper confit with almond cream and asparagus; pistachio-crusted lamb; a chocolate soufflé with iced bananas; and holiday pastries.
Nochevieja celebration, including a ten-course dinner, begins at 9; $145 per person. Reservations for the regular à la carte menu are available from 5:30 to 7.

Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert
Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C., 1150 22nd St., NW; 202-835-0500;

The New Year’s Eve package at this downtown luxury hotel includes overnight accommodations for two plus a three-course dinner for two with wine pairings and a Champagne toast in its new restaurant, a bistro conceived by New York star chef Eric Ripert. The next morning, you can choose between having breakfast in the Lobby Cafe or staying in bed and ordering room service. Valet parking is included.
$649 for a deluxe room with dinner and breakfast; $749 for a one-bedroom suite with dinner and breakfast.


Quiet and Relaxed


3311 Connecticut Avenue, NW; 202-244-6750;

This airy, elegant neighborhood spot in Cleveland Park will offer both its à la carte menu before 8 and, later, a three-course New Year’s menu prepared by chef Trent Conry (also included with the later seatings: a glass of Champagne at midnight and party favors). On the special menu, you’ll find dishes such as Gulf shrimp and diver scallops with fennel confit; baked oysters stuffed with crab meat; foie-gras terrine with plum marmalade; ahi tuna with pork belly; venison with bourbon “mash,” corn pudding, and an apple-foie-gras-and-duck strudel; prime rib with wild mushrooms and rapini; chocolate-cashew-caramel chews with a root-beer float; and pear-pecan upside-down cake.
À la carte menu (dinner entrées $12 to $22) available between 5 and 7:30; New Year’s menu ($65 per person) available between 8 and 11.


1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria, 703-519-3776;

At this charming Old Town bistro, chef Christophe Poteaux is offering two seatings with two special menus. From 6 to 7:30, choices on the four-course menu include a lobster beignet or a bisque of sunchokes; pan-seared foie gras with caramelized-apple jus or frisée-and-endive salad with Gruyère; duck with spiced-wine reduction, filet mignon with red-wine/porcini sauce, or pan-roasted cod with leek-and-onion soubise; and pastry chef Michelle Garbee’s dessert duo. From 9 to 10:30, a six-course tasting menu includes some of the earlier dishes plus additions such as cream of foie gras with apple/Banyuls compote and Wagyu-beef short ribs.
Early seating $59 per person; late seating $79 person; wine pairings an additional $50.

Bombay Club

815 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-659-3727;

At this elegant Indian dining room, you can tuck into a four-course family-style meal accompanied by live piano music. Dishes include scallops peri peri; lamb galouti; chicken tikka; lobster lababdar; shrimp curry; tandoori grouper; pheasant korma; and a complete vegetarian thali (tasting platter). Dessert choices include hot chocolate cake with pink-pepper ice cream as well as traditional Indian gulab jamun.
Dinner reservations available between 5:30 and 11; $55 per person.

Butterfield 9
600 14th St., NW; 202-289-8810;

At this romantic downtown restaurant, strolling string musicians will set the mood as guests dine on chef Michael Harr’s special four-course menu. Dishes include “cappuccino-style” squash soup with toasted brioche and black-truffle emulsion; diver-scallops and short ribs with chanterelles and saba grape must; Arctic char with lobster fondue, wilted Swiss chard, and caviar; venison with parsnip fondant, red-onion confit, and black-currant sauce; and pineapple carpaccio with chestnut-rum ice cream. A midnight Champagne toast is included.
Dinner reservations available from 5:30 to 11. Tasting menu $115 per person; the regular dinner menu will be available until 8 (entrées $22 to $38).


1310 New Hampshire Ave., NW; 202-861-1310;

Chef Daniel Bortnick is planning a few celebratory surprises in addition to the à la carte menu at this cozy Dupont Circle restaurant. Every diner will be sent home with a gift, and guests who miss the midnight toast will receive a gift certificate for a glass of Champagne if they brunch at Firefly.
Dinner reservations available between 5:30 and 10:30; dinner entrées $17 to $26.

3241 M St., NW; 202-625-4488;
At this minimalist Georgetown seafood dining room, choose between a five-course early-evening menu (served between 5:30 and 8) and a later six-course menu (between 9 and 11). The menu includes a selection of crudo (raw fish paired with accompaniments): tuna with mint and nutmeg, house-cured anchovy, and Cava-marinated trout roe; pumpkin soup with sea-urchin cream; a choice of smoked salmon with molasses oil, goat cheese, and pea shoots or warm beet salad with herbed goat cheese and orange; wahoo with cranberry/red-wine/butter sauce, strip loin with roasted onions and bleu-cheese cream, or lobster with vanilla butter; and a chocolate-rum torte with salted cashews or poached pear with bleu-cheese mousse.
5:30 seating $80 per person (wine pairings an additional $70); 9 pm seating $115 per person (wine pairings an additional $80).


Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.