- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 26, 2002

Washingtonians can celebrate New Year's Eve next week by dining out for as little as $60 a couple or as much as $295 a person, with a bottle of champagne included at each place. (The $295 sum also includes parking, taxes and gratuities.)
Wherever celebrants choose to go, eating early means spending less. However they choose to travel, they will find varied menus at top-quality restaurants within walking distance of Metro stations. So many dining spots are located close to Metro stations that hungry revelers need not be out in the cold for long.
The following is only a sampling of what is available for those planning to celebrate in style. Most places require a reservation, so it is wise to call ahead to check times and prices.
Equinox, 818 Connecticut Ave. NW, (202/331-8118), offers dinner seating every half-hour from 5:30 to 10 p.m. with an a la carte menu available as well as chef Todd Gray's tasting menu. The latter is $100 per person or $140 with wine (both excluding tax and gratuity) and has for its main course a choice of farm-raised lamb, rack of veal, halibut fillet or tuna. (Like a majority of local restaurants, Equinox will be closed on New Year's Day. Farragut North Metro also is nearby.)
Taverna del Alabardero, 1776 I St. NW, (202/429-2200), offers a seven-course Spanish feast, one seating only at 8:30 p.m. The cost is $125 per person and includes a glass of champagne. Reservations can be made for the a la carte menu from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. A special Spanish ceremony is promised for midnight that involves having patrons eating one grape per second in the final 12 seconds before midnight, said to ensure a joyful and prosperous 2003. A band will play tunes that inspire dancing into the wee hours.
Jaleo, 480 Seventh St. NW (and at 7271 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, near the Bethesda Metro), has a special menu of unlimited tapas for $69.95 during the second seating only, at 9 p.m. Party favors, good-luck grapes, and a midnight toast will be on the house. The first seating, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., is a la carte. (A sherry martini, at $6.50, is made with Fino sherry, vodka and Biqueron.) Call 202/628-7949 or (for Bethesda) 301/913-0003.
Zola, 800 F St. NW, in the Penn Quarter( 202/654-0999), is taking reservations for 6 p.m., 6:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. for $75 a person. A second seating is timed for 9 p.m., 9:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., priced at $125. The latter includes an invitation to join a party with entertainment by a swing band at 10:30 p.m., ending at 1 a.m. in the Ultra Room above the International Spy Museum. A cash bar will be open to partygoers.
Maggiano's Little Italy, 5333 Wisconsin Ave. NW (202/966-5500), has a la carte dinner service beginning at 5 p.m. and a special dinner at 9 p.m. A charge of $25 a person after 9 p.m. covers dancing and champagne that will continue until 1 a.m. with music by the Darryl Davis Band.
Michel Richard's Citronelle, 3000 M St. NW (202/625-2150, extension 1226), was nearly sold out at print time for its only seating, at 8 p.m., costing $200 per person, exclusive of beverage, tax and service. Dancing is on the bill, along with a truffle boudin blanc sausage, osetra caviar, foie gras and lobster.
Marcel's, 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (202/296-1166), has two seating options and piano entertainment between 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. The first seating, with three courses, is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and costs $85 timed for those who wish to go to the nearby Kennedy Center for the special New Year's Eve festivities. The second seating, beginning at 7:30 p.m., is a five-course menu (including a champagne toast) for $165. Anyone wishing to stay the night in a hotel can book a room for $79 at the Melrose across the street.
Seasons at the Four Seasons Washington, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (202/342-0444), has a New Year's Day brunch, and special Tuesday evening prices and menus. The dining room will feature a five-course "Evening in Paris" for $125, between 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. A pianist will play from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., after which live music from the Garden Terrace Lounge will be piped in. Expect oysters, lobster mousse and a choice of four entrees plus a selection of French cheeses. The less formal Garden Terrace event has a $25 cover charge between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. in addition to an hors d'oeuvres menu and party favors. The New Year's Day brunch is a Mediterranean buffet costing $58 per person or $39 for children 5 to 12, and takes place between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
The Colonnade in the Fairmont Washington, 2401 M St. NW (202/457-5045), is one of the most elegant settings in Washington for brunch, and on New Year's Day, it is brunch with a large assortment of meats, seafood and vegetables and the Colonnade's memorable 18-dessert buffet. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the brunch $70 per person with unlimited Roederer Estate sparkling wine. The hotel's New Year's Eve dinner will be served in its Bistro restaurant from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. $55 per person.
Cafe Atlantico, 405 8th St. NW (202/393-0812), features Latin cuisine, and will have an early four-course menu from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for $45 that includes a glass of Spanish cava. The 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. seating costs $85 for five courses and comes with a traditional daiquiri. Both seatings serve for dessert a chocolate and banana cake with a creamy coconut heart. DJs Juan & Fausto move onto the premises at 10 p.m. for some lively rhythms.
Signatures, 801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (202/628-5900), is doing a "Signatures of Two Chefs" menu on New Year's Eve. Each of the five courses features two creations on the same plate with the same main ingredients prepared by each of the restaurant's chefs. (A caramelized lobster filet with truffle will share a plate with lobster sashimi, beluga caviar and wasabi sauce, for example.) Cost is $95 or $135 when paired with wine selected by the house sommelier/general manager. Seating begins at 8 p.m. An early seating served from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. has three courses taken from the winter menu and costs $50. A jazz band will play later.
Les Halles de Paris, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (202/347-6848), is open regular hours with a regular a la carte menu, from 11:30 a.m. until midnight. Three seatings late in the day at 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. will feature special appetizers and a range of rich entrees and desserts. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., which is midnight in Paris, with a glass of champagne all around. A DJ starts to play at 8 p.m. and more champagne is on the house at midnight.
The Willard Inter-Continental, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (202/628-9100), has a variety of packages and menus available over the holidays, with the most spectacular taking place in the Willard Room on New Year's Eve. A seven-course dinner at 8 p.m. includes a bottle of champagne per couple, music of Gene Donati's orchestra and dancing all evening for $295 a person. The set menu includes scallops, Maine lobster, dorade, and loin of venison. Black tie is recommended.
Bistro Bis, 15 E St. NW, (202/661-2700) will offer a five-course tasting menu at 8 p.m. for $75 and a six-course dinner for $100 until 10:30 p.m. Guests are asked to reserve seating before 8:30 p.m. if they intend to be somewhere else at midnight.
B. Smith's at Union Station (202/289-6188) will have an early-bird seating between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for $35, and a second between 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. with a band and a midnight toast.
New Heights, 2317 Calvert St. NW (202/234-4110), will be open between 5:30 p.m. and midnight and have what it calls a decidedly "low-key" celebration, with two dinners in "the low $40s and the low $60s," depending on the diner's choice.
Firefly, 1310 New Hampshire Ave. NW (202/861-1310), follows suit with two seatings offering different courses: $50 between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., $80 with wine; The 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. seating is $75 for five courses and $105 with wine.
Tunnicliff's American Restaurant & Bar, 222 Seventh St. SE (202/544-5680), has one of the bargains of the night a three-course meal for $60 per couple that includes free champagne and live music from 6 p.m. until midnight.
Montmartre, 327 Seventh St. SE (202/544-1244), has a three-course dinner for $37 without wine between 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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