With the much-needed and wildly welcomed snow that recently hit Utah, it's finally time to head for the slopes. And, if you're looking to escape the downtown crowds on New Year's Eve, a high-altitude celebration in Park City—our own world-class ski town—would be an excellent alternative. There's a bonanza of options for ringing in the New Year at Park City, in every price range, from intimate dining and buffets to kick-up-your-heels dance parties. Here are a few enticing ways to spend the Eve in Park City.
The posh Waldorf Astoria at The Canyons Village (2100 Frostwood Drive, 435-647-5566, ParkCityWaldorfAstoria.com) will host a five-course prix fixe New Year's Eve dinner at its Powder restaurant—which I raved about this past summer ("Powder Pampering," June 18, City Weekly)—beginning with a Champagne toast and chilled shigoku oysters, followed by squash bisque and a lemon sorbet intermezzo. Entrée choices include braised buffalo short ribs, Mary's organic chicken or pan-seared Utah trout. Round out the evening with a trio of dark-chocolate mousse, burnt banana and peanuts. $105 per person; children's menu available.
A little farther up the hill, the Hyatt Escala Lodge (3551 N. Escala Court, 435-940-1234, EscalaLodge.Hyatt.com) invites New Year's Eve guests to dig into a bodacious buffet ($135 for adults, $45 for children ages 2-12) featuring roast venison, sous-vide prime tenderloin of beef, salt-crusted sea bass, duck confit and black-pepper fettuccine, Niman Ranch prime short-rib ravioli and spinach cannelloni with San Marzano tomato sauce; along with accompaniments of roasted vegetables, brown-sugar butternut squash and Parmesan-whipped potatoes; plus seafood items such as fresh-shucked oysters, stone crab claws, seafood ceviche tostadas, New England lobster rolls and beet-cured salmon. Whew! I'm stuffed just thinking about it. There's also a decorate-your-own-cupcake station and a kids' "Young at Heart" station.
If you're looking for a quiet, intimate setting to ring in the New Year, The Mariposa at Deer Valley's Silver Lake Village (7600 Royal St., 435-645-6715, DeerValley.com) would be an excellent choice. The four-course prix fixe dinner ($125 per person) features a first course choice of Maine lobster chowder; nori and sesame seared ahi tuna, wild mushroom beggar's purse or aged Gruyere and chive soufflé. Guests will then enjoy lemon-thyme gnocchi, quail saltimbocca or burrata with fresh basil and heirloom cherry tomatoes, before savoring an entree choice: harissa & herb-crusted Niman Ranch lamb chops, pan-roasted scallops or seared bison fillet. For dessert, there's a classy offering of caramelized pear & chèvre.
Looking to dance the night away? Grab an inexpensive classic Italian meal or pizza at Cisero's (306 Main, 435-649-5044, Ciseros.com) before kicking out the jams with Battleship and Street Jesus. DJs start at 9 p.m.
Just a few doors down from Cisero's is 350 Main (350 Main, 435-649-3140 ext. 101, 350Main.com), which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. (How time flies!) 350 Main has a mind-boggling array of menu options, offering a nice diversion from the standard three-course prix-fixe limited selections. To wit, guests will choose from one of six appetizers, like a tuna tower with avocado and wasabi cream, roasted Colorado elk sausage or chilled seafood ceviche with cream and crispy plantains, just to name a few.
For the entrée, revelers will choose from another six selections, including Utah trout with pumpkin seed crumble, grilled Shetland Islands salmon with lobster-drawn butter, "bootleg" togarashi-dusted venison loin and more, including plenty of gluten-free options such as crispy fried chicken with apple jam. Finally, for dessert, you'll choose between tequila-infused Key lime pie or chocolate-frosted chocolate cake with chocolate truffle. $120 per person.
The hottest new restaurant in Park City is Maggie Alvarez' and Matthew Harris' Tupelo (508 Main, 435-615-7700, TupeloParkCity.com), serving truly innovative globally inspired cuisine. Tupelo's enticing five-course, prix fixe New Year's Eve dinner ($105 for adults, $55 for children ages 5-12) begins with kampachi tartare with crispy potatoes, passion fruit purée, chives and Snake River caviar; followed by risotto with winter truffles; pan-roasted steelhead trout with gold rice, field peas and lobster butter; and sous-vide wagyu strip with wild mushrooms and marrow. For dessert, Tupelo guests will enjoy chocolate chestnut cheesecake with XOXO Chocolate sauce and pomegranate ice cream. In addition, a vegetarian menu will be available, if you reserve in advance.
I can't think of many places to better enjoy the holiday season than at Stein Eriksen Lodge (7700 Stein Way, 435-645-6455, SteinLodge.com), which is festooned with a gorgeous Christmas tree and a gingerbread house that's almost large enough to live in. This year's New Year's Eve celebration at Stein's will feature a harpist, a live band and dancing. A prix fixe dinner menu is served in two seatings at Glitretind Restaurant. The first seating—starting at 6 p.m., priced at $185 per person—features a four-course menu and special kids menu ($50). The second seating—starting at 8 p.m., $235 per person—will feature a five-course menu. No kids menu will be available during the second seating. In addition, Stein's will serve its world-famous Sunday brunch buffet on New Year's Day ($60 for adults, $25 for children).
If, like me, you usually prefer to stay home on New Year's Eve with a low-key, private celebration, Windy Ridge Bakery (1255 Ironhorse Drive, 435-647-2906, WindyRidgeBakery.com) has an array of delectable baked goods and desserts to sweeten your evening, such as Bûche de Noël, a traditional chocolate cake roll filled with sweetened whipped cream and chocolate ganache, garnished with holiday decorations; "Mile-High" apple pie; dark-chocolate truffle cake; and frangipane tart made with apricots and golden almond cake filling, baked in a pate sucrée shell. Or, if you're in the mood for a more savory option, choose from tomato spinach quiche with caramelized onion and goat cheese, or ham & Swiss quiche with caramelized onions & scallions.
Happy New Year!