News & Politics

How Restaurants Are Ringing in the New Year


Count the seconds, not the calories, with an indulgent New Year’s Eve dinner. Make your reservations soon, especially for the later seatings—or snag an earlier, less crowded 5 PM spot and head somewhere else to dance it off.

This new Brit-inspired gastropub is adding two holiday specials to its usual bangers-and-mash lineup: a country-style pork terrine with spiced-pear chutney and toast, and a sous vide lamb loin with globe artichoke, stinging nettles, and preserved lemon. Seatings begin at 5:30, and the restaurant closes at 1. Call 202-639-9830 for reservations.

Two seatings are planned at this Cleveland Park restaurant. The first, from 5 to 7:30, will offer an à la carte menu with entrées ranging from $24 to $32. The second, from 8 to 11:30, is a $65 three-course set menu (midnight Champagne toast included). The menu includes appetizers such as roast foie gras with rose honey; roasted beets with blue cheese and cara-cara marshmallows; and tea-crusted beef carpaccio with three-bean salad. Among the main courses are venison with rosemary bread pudding; duck two ways (roasted breast and leg confit) with quince purée and farro; roasted lobster with chive gnocchi; and braised short ribs with red-wine sauce. Desserts are Meyer-lemon crème brûlée; chocolate-date cake; white-chocolate-and-pecan bread pudding; and pear tarte Tatin.
Call 202-244-6750 or click here to make reservations.

Asia Nine
New Year’s wishes are a part of the menu here, with à la carte items such as shrimp-filled Happiness Dumpling ($7) and Asian-grilled Lucky Lamb ($20) with cumin-herb sauce. The desserts are just as colorful: There’s a red-bean-and-ice-cream Red Lantern ($8) and a crisp-fruit Firecracker Wonton ($8). The New Year’s specials will be offered alongside Asia Nine’s regular menu from 7:30 until 2. There’ll be a DJ and free midnight Champagne toast. Call 202-629-4355 for reservations.

This Old Town Alexandria French bistro has two seating options. The first, from 5:30 to 7:30, is a $55 four-course prix fixe menu. The other, from 8:30 to 10:45, features a $79 six-course tasting menu. On the earlier menu, you’ll find foie gras with pineapple Tatin; lobster ravioli; venison tournedos with sauce financière; pan-roasted John Dory with celeriac cream; and Manjari-chocolate cake.

The later menu includes oysters and caviar; a trio of foie gras, lobster, and bacon; venison tournedos; and Valrhona-chocolate-and-espresso terrine. Call 703-519-3776 for reservations.

Belga Café
Each dish on the $79 five-course menu at this Belgian restaurant—such as smoked-salmon brochette or venison with oyster mushrooms—has a vegetarian counterpart. Meat-free dishes include tomato consommé with cheese crisps; green-lentil salad; and veggie pizza with arugula and Parmesan. Desserts are chocolate gelée with currants and sponge cake, and raspberry lollipops with white-chocolate sorbet. Call 202-544-0100 for reservations.

Ashok Bajaj’s new downtown Italian restaurant will celebrate with L’Ultima Cena—“the last supper.” If you opt for the early seating—5:30 to 7:30—you’ll have a choice of a three- ($48) or four-course ($65) menu. The later seating, 8 to 11, offers a four- ($75) or five-course ($96) dinner. There are several choices for each course, including roasted beet salad; grilled baby octopus with green olives and grapefruit; black spaghetti with sea urchin; and olive-oil-poached rockfish. Two dishes carry surcharges: Risotto with winter black truffle and Parmesan is an extra $10, and plancha-seared Maine lobster with rapini is $5 more. Call 202-216-9550 or click here for reservations.

Bistrot Lepic
This Georgetown bistro’s French-accented five-course menu ($69.50) includes foie-gras-and-truffle boudin with parsley mousse; steamed lobster with spinach and mango; and roasted guinea hen with Jerusalem artichokes au gratin. The menu is available from 5:30 to 10:30. Call 202-333-0111 for reservations.

Blue Duck Tavern
Two New Year’s Eve seatings are scheduled at this farmhouse-inspired American restaurant in the swank Park Hyatt hotel. The first seating, from 5:30 to 6:30, features a $75 four-course menu. Expect canapés and charcuterie, prosciutto-wrapped rockfish, Châteaubriand with béarnaise, and baby winter greens. The second seating ($280), which begins at 9, includes menu upgrades such as glazed sweetbreads and Wagyu strip loin as well as all beverages. It also gives you access to the Park Hyatt’s lounge celebration, running from 9 to 2, which will have an open bar, tapas, chocolates, cigars, and Scotch on the hotel’s heated terrace. There’ll be a Champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight. Call 202-419-6755 for reservations.

Bourbon Steak
San Francisco celebrity chef Michael Mina’s steakhouse in the Four Seasons Hotel has two dinner seatings. At the first, from 5:30 to 6:30, you’ll find an $80 four-course menu, which includes caviar parfait with smoked salmon, crème fraîche, and Iranian osetra; and Maine lobster basted in brown butter. The second seating, 8:30 to 10, offers a $175 six-course menu with live music. Menu additions include duck with sweet-and-sour red cabbage and gingerbread as well as apple sorbet with mulled cider and streusel. Call 202-944-2026 for reservations.

Brabo by Robert Wiedmaier
There are two special menus at this Old Town restaurant in the Lorien Hotel & Spa. A $65 four-course menu will be served from 5:30 to 7 (wine pairings are $35). From 7:30 to 11, there’ll be a $95 six-course tasting menu (wine pairings are $55). Menu items include pan-seared scallops in sherry-shallot butter and duck-confit ravioli. The meals end with either lemon-chiffon tart with glazed cranberries or molten cake with hazelnut and chocolate. There’s a free Champagne toast if you make it to midnight. Call 703-894-3440 for reservations.

Brasserie Beck
This might be the only place in town where beer gets top billing over Champagne: Robert Wiedmaier’s brasserie is pouring Aventinus Ice Bock ($15), a German lager that comes from one of only two kegs in the country. An à la carte menu will be available from 5 to midnight, with entrées ($19 to $39) such as roasted venison with sausage, pear, and turnip purée as well as seared scallops with wild mushrooms and risotto. Finish things off with a triple-chocolate terrine with espresso anglaise. Call 202-408-1717 for reservations.

ChurchKey and Birch & Barley
There’ll be no cover at this beer-focused bar, but get there early—the place is mobbed even on weeknights. Open from 5 PM to 3 AM, it’ll feature specials on beer flights to go with flatbreads, panini, charcuterie, and mac-and-cheese sticks ($8 to $15 each), all served until 1, and there’s a toast at midnight.  Downstairs, Birch & Barley is offering a slightly fancier evening, with two seatings and two menus. The first seating—from 5:30 to 8:15—features a $55 three-course menu, which includes French onion salad with beef-broth vinaigrette; and beef strip loin with potato purée and braised red cabbage. The second seating, from 9 to 10:30, offers a $90 five-course menu. Dishes include oysters with green-apple mignonette; risotto with butter-poached lobster; and venison with squash purée, wild rice, chestnuts, and cranberries. Call 202-567-2576 for reservations.

At Eric Ziebold’s restaurant at the swank Mandarin Oriental hotel, two seatings are available: The first, from 5:30 to 7, will offer a $185 six-course menu. The second, from 8 to 10, features a $225 seven-course menu, a dessert reception, and Champagne toast at midnight. Call 202-787-6006 for more information.

Co Co. Sala
At this chocolate lounge in DC’s Penn Quarter, there’ll be a six-course, symphony-themed menu. Courses include a porcini terrine with macerated cherries; chestnut-apple soup with an artichoke tart; and the “grand finale,” chocolate truffles served with Champagne. There’s an early seating, from 5 to 8:30, when customers can order à la carte. The second seating ($110 to $150), from 8:30 to 10, requires the full six-course menu, and it includes a midnight toast, party favors, and a DJ.CommonWealth
The first part of this gastropub’s celebration starts at 5, with a three-course dinner ($45 per person) that includes a lemon-tarragon crabcake with bacon hollandaise and a poached egg; beer-braised lamb leg; and farro risotto with wild mushrooms and sheep’s-milk cheese. Starting at 9, there’ll be a “vicars and tarts” costume party with prizes and a midnight Champagne toast. No cover is required for the party, and the pub menu and drink specials will be available all night.

Evening Star Cafe
This low-key Del Ray neighborhood restaurant will have a six-course, $70 tasting menu and a performance by the local band Brother Seamus in the cafe’s No. 9 Lounge. Menu options will include sweet shrimp with Tasso-ham grits as well as braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and haricots verts.

Lots of seafood is on the New Year’s menu at this American restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City. Chef Amy Brandwein’s five-course meal includes an oyster-and-blood-orange amuse-bouche; clementine salad with peekytoe crab; Maine lobster with potato gnocchi and cauliflower; and a seared scallop with grapefruit-caviar beurre blanc. The dinner, $115 per person, ends with warm chocolate cake with roasted pineapple or a Champagne mousse with a liquefied red-currant center.

Hank’s Oyster Bar
Both locations of this seafood restaurant are hosting celebrations, with an à la carte menu from 5:30 to 11:30. Dishes include Nantucket bay-scallop cocktail with micro greens and a clementine vinaigrette as well as lobster ravioli with crabmeat sauce. At both locations, you can expect a Champagne toast at midnight and, at the bar, a special cocktail with St. Germain elderflower liqueur, pomegranate juice, and sparkling wine.  

Kaz Sushi Bistro
At Kaz Okochi’s downtown sushi restaurant, a seven-course tasting menu is available December 28 through January 9. The menu features appetizers such as an omelet with soy-braised shrimp and eel and small-plate entrées such as Japanese tai-snapper carpaccio as well as green-tea crepes for dessert. The menu is $90 per person; sake pairings are an additional $25.  

This spacious Greek restaurant, a New York import, has lots of seafood on its New Year’s menu, beginning with an assortment of clams, mussels, crab legs, and oysters on the half shell. Small plates include sashimi-grade tuna tartare and saganaki, a flambée cheese. Main courses are simply dressed cuts of fish, such as barbounia, plaki, lavraki, and sinagrida, as well as Corfu-shrimp risotto; shellfish with orzo; and a 16-ounce New York strip with fries. Dinner start at 4.

La Tasca
All four locations of this Spanish restaurant have a “gala dinner” from 5:30 to 7:30, where $40 gets you unlimited tapas plus a bottle of wine per couple. From 8:0 to 10:30, there’s the Fin de Año celebration for $85 per person, which includes unlimited tapas, a bottle of wine per couple, party favors, live music, and dancing plus a Champagne toast and celebration at midnight. Tapas for both events include a tenderloin medallion with blue cheese and sweet potato as well as scallops sautéed with grapes in wine sauce.

Mie N Yu
At this Georgetown pan-Asian hot spot, there’ll be a $65 three- or $100 five-course menu. Diners can choose between Near East (Sri Lankan, Nepalese, Afghan) or Far East (Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese) cuisine. Dishes include Sri Lankan coconut curry with local chicken; gul jeon pancakes with Chesapeake Bay oysters; jasmine-rice pudding with cardamom, rosewater, and almond crisps; and sticky-rice cakes with lotus seeds, dates, and candied ginger. Wine pairings are an additional $25 and Champagne pairings are $35. The price of the five-course menu includes complimentary Champagne at midnight. Diners can enjoy the Silk Road Celebration, starting at 9, with music from the ’80s and ’90s, Champagne cocktails, martinis, and party favors. For those who’d like to attend the party but aren’t eating dinner, there’s a $10 cover charge.  

New Heights
At this Woodley Park American restaurant, there are three- ($60) and four-course ($70) menus. Expect dishes such as duck confit with rutabaga mousse; squid-ink risotto with dried cranberries; and a roasted guinea-hen breast with caramelized-onion soubise, polenta, and a foie-gras emulsion. For dessert, there’s a bittersweet-chocolate tart with passionfruit meringue as well as jasmine-tea mousse served with wine-glazed mango. Dinner hours start at 5:30. Click here for reservations.

The $75 three-course, prix fixe menu at Occidental features such dishes as cauliflower soup with trout roe, scallops with leeks and cranberry reduction, and venison loin with black-walnut purée and Swiss chard. There’s a chocolate-coconut pyramid and chocolate-walnut cake for dessert. Dinner hours start at 5; make reservations online or by phone.

Oval Room
At this downtown DC dining room, the $85 five-course menu includes dishes such as pastrami-cured Kampachi with hot mustard and tomato jam; skate topped with artichokes, blood oranges, chorizo, and black olives; and a tasting of chocolate and exotic fruit. To make reservations, which start at 5:30, click here or call the restaurant.
Chef Bryan Moscatello is serving three New Year’s menus: a three-course ($40), a four-course ($50), and a five-course ($65). Expect house-cured and imported salumi, hand-cut saffron egg noodles with lobster, and lamb loin with Pecorino Grand Cru polenta. Desserts include white-truffle panna cotta and baked doughnuts. The menu is available from 5 to midnight. 

Executive chef Haidar Karoum has four courses on his $95 prix fixe menu, including a bouillabaisse with Thai lobster and bouchot mussels and a sake-glazed sablefish with smoked eel and poached egg. There are two dessert options—a bittersweet chocolate crepe with dulce de leche mousse or a cheese plate. Wine pairings are available for $45 per person. For reservations, which begin at 5, click here.

At this inventive Indian hot spot, the menu includes tandoor-grilled appetizers such as masala-marinated venison boti kebabs and samudri seekh—made with minced crab, salmon, and shrimp. Entrées include fish anaari in pomegranate-yogurt sauce and chicken pista korma, spiced with mace and green cardamom. Dinner hours start at 5. Click here for reservations.

The $65 four-course menu at this sprawling restaurant includes lobster-and-baby-artichoke ragoût, foie gras terrine with oxtail marmalade, and a Valrhona chocolate-pudding cake. There’ll be favors, live music, and a midnight Champagne toast. An à la carte menu is available in the main dining room until 7:15 and all evening at the bar. Seatings are from 5 to 11. A wine pairing is $29.

Roof Terrace Restaurant at the Kennedy Center
The $95 four-course dinner includes live jazz and tickets to the Kennedy Center’s grand-foyer celebration from 11 PM to 1 AM, with music from the Salon Orchestra of Washington and Full Swing. The menu includes a seafood martini with avocado-mango vinaigrette, wild salmon with jasmine rice and fried parsnips, and ratatouille napoleon Provençal with fontina and pepper coulis. The price includes Chandon California Brut and chocolate truffles. Call for reservations, which start at 5.
At this Alexandria restaurant, the party—$55 in advance, $65 at the door—includes a DJ, passed pizzas and hors d’oeuvres, and four “food action stations.” From 7 to 11, there’ll be couscous carbonara, orecchiette with meatballs, and sirloin. The festivities continue until 2 with a cash bar. The dinner includes one beer or cocktail for a midnight toast.

At this contemporary American restaurant, chef Adam Longworth is serving an à la carte menu (from 5 to 7) and a $100 four-course tasting menu (including live jazz and a Champagne toast) with seatings beginning at 8. The tasting menu starts with choices such as seared foie gras with pineapple-and-tangerine reduction; tuna sashimi with pickled jalapeño; and king-crab salad with cream-cheese wonton. Next, there are scallops with oranges, grapes, and balsamic-brown-butter as well as seared halibut with tamarind glaze and coconut emulsion. A meat course with Wagyu beef, lamb, or maple-glazed duck follows, and a sampler of desserts will end the meal. Call 202-393-0701 for reservations.

This Georgetown institution is putting out an indulgent five-course dinner, which includes roasted foie gras with chestnut polenta, chestnuts, and kumquats; lobster with vanilla-scented parsnip purée; veal with chanterelles and black Périgord truffle; and a cheese plate of extra-aged Pleasant Ridge Reserve, house-made membrillo, and Marcona almonds. Dessert is a sampler with bittersweet-chocolate terrine, apple strudel, and vanilla crème caramel. The price, $85 per person, includes noisemakers, hats, beads, streamers, and a Champagne toast at midnight. Add wine pairings for an extra $40. Seating is available from 5 to 11, and valet parking is free. Call 202-965-1789 for reservations.

The Source by Wolfgang Puck
Two seatings in this celeb-headlined restaurant are scheduled in the upstairs dining room. The first ($65) will be served at 5:30, 6, and 6:30; the second ($95) will be at 8, 8:30, and 9. On the menu are veal sweetbreads with drunken noodles and coconut-peanut sauce, Kobe short ribs with kabocha squash, and tandoori wild salmon with eggplant masala. The later seating includes unlimited wine and Champagne, passed appetizers, and music until midnight in the downstairs lounge. For the lounge party but not dinner, the cover charge is $50.

Chef Eric Ziebold’s newest culinary venture will offer a $75 three-course prix-fixe menu. There’ll be a number of choices for each course.  

Sushi-Ko Chevy Chase
At this sleek fishhouse, the $125 cover includes salmon confit, flounder carpaccio; hors d’oeuvres, such as fried oysters, beef skewers, potstickers; and house wines, beer, and cocktails. DJ Freedom is spinning until 2, and there’s a Champagne toast at midnight.

Several selections from chef Barry Koslow’s usual à la carte menu will be available as well as a $70 five-course tasting menu. You can sample dishes such as tarragon-spiked lobster-and-scallop taglierini, pan-roasted foie gras with kumquat preserves, and huckleberry-almond cake with buttermilk ice cream. A wine pairing is $30, or $50 for an “ultimate” pairing.

Trummer’s on Main
The first seating at this new restaurant, from 5:30 to 6:30, offers three courses for $75 per person. The second seating, $125 per person, lasts from 8:30 to 9:30 and includes access to the after-dinner “winter garden” party with music, late-night snacks, and a cash bar plus a Champagne toast at midnight. Both menus feature dishes such as a chilled scallop with apple-wasabi sorbet and a beef tenderloin with trumpet mushrooms and Jerusalem artichokes. If you’d like to skip dinner but attend the after-party, the cover charge is $20. Call for reservations.


There are two seatings at this elegant Falls Church restaurant: The early one, from 4:30 to 6:30, offers a $95 three-course menu. It begins with such appetizers as burrata ravioli with Provençal black truffles; foie gras with pumpkin bread and pear; and hamachi tartare with blood orange and fennel. Main courses include steamed onaga (a Hawaiian fish) with vermouth sauce and roasted cauliflower as well as pan-seared snapper with shrimp/taro-root crust and ginger-turmeric broth. For dessert, there’s pear soufflé with eggnog ice cream; coconut-water granité with lemongrass panna cotta; or warm-chocolate cake with Earl Grey ice cream. The second seating, from 8 to 10, features a truffle-heavy seven-course menu for $135. It begins with canapés and sea-scallop “black tie” with duck consommé. Additional courses include braised oxtail with huckleberry jus; and Japanese Kobe beef with Kobe tartare and pine-nut oil (add caviar for an extra $55). Dessert is a vanilla meringue with grapefruit sorbet and rose-hip marmalade. Call 703-270-1500 for reservations.  

Local ingredients have been incorporated into chef Tony Chittum’s four-course New Year’s menu: The rockfish is from Virginia and served with regional oysters, and the lamb chops—with sausage, Brussels sprouts, and two mustards—are from Pennsylvania. The dinner is $85 per person and begins with seasonal canapés. 

Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro
The $125 four-course menu, which include a Champagne toast and after-dinner jazz, includes such dishes as salmon carpaccio with wasabi and lime, consommé with roasted duck, and butter-poached lobster. Seatings are scheduled from 5:30 to 7 and 9 to 11; click here for reservations. A special overnight package, available for $299, includes dinner for two plus a one-night suite stay at the Westin Reston Heights hotel, a bottle of Champagne, and breakfast in bed on New Year’s Day. To reserve, call 703-391-9000.
Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert
Ripert’s usual menu is joined by several special à la carte options: a ravioli appetizer with chestnuts and squash, salad with langoustine and foie gras, braised lamb shank, and a chocolate-vanilla soufflé with rum ice cream. Each dish is individually priced; entrées range from $16 to $32.  

The four-course dinner at this Latin/Asian fusion restaurant is $59 from 5 to 8 and $79 from 8 to midnight. The menu is sharing-friendly and includes Peking-duck tacos with foie gras as well as braised short ribs with Oaxaca-cheese potatoes, mushrooms, and dragon sauce. The second seating includes a midnight Champagne toast and Latin music starting at 8. If you’re not eating but want to join the party, the cover—which also includes the midnight toast—is $20. 

There are three- ($45), four- ($55), and five-course ($75) menus at this Penn Quarter spot. Expect dishes such as chive pancakes with crème fraîche and American caviar; Riesling-glazed quail with tater tots; and veal sweetbreads with golden raisins and creamed spinach. For dessert, there’s a passionfruit-chocolate tart with ginger tuiles. The five-course dinner includes a glass of Champagne. Reservations are available from 5 to midnight.