Auld Lang Dine 

Local restaurants offer safe, sensible choices for New Year’s Eve revelry.

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As another year of this strange new millennium draws to a close, I’m pretty sure you deserve a night out. You’ve earned it. If nothing else, you deserve a special treat simply for making it through another year without going postal on an elected official. So instead of waiting around for that last-minute invitation to the perfect New Year’s Eve party, why not proactively procure yourself a seat at one of the big-time restaurant wing-dings around town? Let someone else cook, clean and pour the champagne.

At press time, these are the local New Year’s Eve restaurant events that I have been provided information and menus for. By way of disclaimer, I’ve included restaurants about which I received New Year’s information by deadline time. But that doesn’t mean I necessarily endorse, condone or recommend any of these events or businesses. I’m just passing the information I have on to you.

Over at Bambara, executive chef Robert Barker and sous chef Justin Jacobsen have put their toques together to create a New Year’s Eve six-course menu sporting mostly modern American cuisine. Among the highlights at Bambara are an amuse of foie gras terrine with cinnamon brioche; a Dungeness crabmeat and Stilton green salad with Meyer lemon honey vinaigrette; and a choice of soups: roasted garlic with Gruyere crostini or beef consommé and petite braised veal ravioli. After the lemon, black pepper and basil sorbet, New Year’s revelers can select from five Bambara entrées'five-spice seared tuna, coriander-seared elk, crawfish-stuffed filet mignon, “Study of Duck” or roasted eggplant tart'followed by a “Chocolate Extravaganza” dessert. The price for New Year’s Eve dinner at Bambara is $75 per person.

Metropolitan’s celebration for New Year’s Eve features live jazz, a six-course dinner menu and a champagne toast at midnight. Menu options for the six-course dinner include cauliflower bisque and lobster tartare; blue fin tuna “crudo”; sweet onion tart with foie gras, chevre and thyme; seared Diver scallop with lemon brown butter and caviar; white asparagus risotto; pork tenderloin with braised winter beans; and braised beef short ribs with salsify, porcinis and rosemary. To wind things up at Metropolitan, there’s panna cotta winter fruit soup, a chocolate “trio” or almond milk and cookies with vanilla-bean ice cream, plus the champagne toast at midnight. The price for Metropolitan’s six-course New Year’s Eve dinner is $75 per person.

Monsoon Thai Bistro also offers six-courses on New Year’s Eve with optional wine pairings. Host and owner Keith Chan will kick dinner off with a jumbo garlic prawn appetizer and coconut-chicken soup paired with Trocadero Tête de Cuvée Blancs de Blancs, followed by yum nuer beef salad with Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Next, a noodle course of pad Thai will be paired with Domaine Wachau Grüner Veltliner. For entrees, guests will select from vegetarian pad khing; green curry chicken; ga prow Thai basil wok fry with beef; spicy mint noodles with chicken; pla prik khing salmon; or honey ginger duck. Among the wines available for pairing with the Monsoon Thai entrees are Bonny Doon Pacific Rim Riesling, Concannon Petite Syrah and Camelot Pinot Noir. A dessert choice will be paired with Dow’s Fine Tawny Port. The cost for the six-course New Year’s Eve dinner at Monsoon Thai Bistro is $35 per person, plus $20 for the optional wine pairings.

At Restaurant Panache in the Wells Fargo Center, New Year’s Eve will take on a “fire and ice” theme as they stage a gala evening looking back at what was hot and what was not over the past year. There will be live music and entertainment, including salsa dance lessons, fire throwers and ice sculpting. But the main attraction at Restaurant Panache will be the seven-course dinner with optional wine pairings. Restaurant Panache’s New Year’s Eve Fire and Ice menu includes braised veal and winter apple fricassee; roasted duck and spinach salad; lobster bisque; oven-roasted rack of lamb with balsamic lamb jus; St. Andre baked crostini with honey and thyme; hand-made chocolates; floating islands with crème Anglaise, and more. In addition, Restaurant Panache has teamed with The Peery Hotel and Hotel Monaco to provide special overnight rates for anyone wishing to stay downtown on New Year’s Eve. The price for the Restaurant Panache New Year’s Eve Fire and Ice Gala is $125 per person without wine or $150 (all-inclusive) with optional wine pairings.

Wherever you find yourself on New Year’s Eve this year'whether out on the town or wrapped up in an Afghan on the sofa with someone special, even if that’s yourself'I hope you have a terrific and memorable launch into 2006.

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More by Ted Scheffler

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