- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 27, 2005

It’s not too late to make a reservation for a festive New Year’s Eve dinner to toast 2006 or as the prelude to seeing in the new year with friends. Here are some suggestions.

Saturday is Ris Lacoste’s last evening as the chef at 1789 Restaurant (1226 36 St. NW; 202/965-1789) before she ventures out on her own. She will be preparing a five-course dinner ($75 per person) that will include oyster and champagne stew, medallions of venison and her special rack of lamb. Seating is available from 5 to 11 p.m.

At Firefly (1310 New Hampshire Ave. NW; 202/861-1310) chef John Woback will have two seatings for his three-course ($54) and five-course ($75) dinners, which will include smoked duck salad with dried apricots, risotto with oyster mushrooms and crisp oyster, and bread and butter pudding with cashew sauce.

Indebleu’s (707 G St. NW; 202/333-2538) first seating (6:30 to 9 p.m., $75) will offer a four-course meal; the second seating (9 p.m. on, $150) will have five courses. Fortunetellers will be on hand for the second seating, and dance music will ring in the new year. Chef Vikram Garg’s exotic menu promises shaved Virginia ham with cardamom lemon curd, milk-chocolate mousse with caramelized bananas, and butter-poached Maine lobster with fenugreek beurre blanc.

At Yannick Cam’s Le Paradou (678 Indiana Ave. NW; 202/347-6780) there will be late-night entertainment and dancing.

The new Finn & Porter (900 10th St. NW; 202/719-1600) has 5 p.m. to midnight seatings and is offering three-course dinners for $49. Traditional Southern black-eyed peas will be served for good luck in the new year.

At Circle Bistro (1 Washington Circle; 202/293-5390), the five-course degustation menu ($65 per person) offers four courses of lobster in different preparations — except dessert is made of apples. Circle Bistro is one of the few restaurants where the a la carte menu will be available.

The Roaring ‘20s is the theme for Poste Brasserie (555 Eighth St. NW; 202/783-6060), where chef Robert Weland is preparing a four-course feast (5 p.m., $75) and a five-course menu (8 p.m., $110) with wild-mushroom consomme, seared Maine sea scallops, pan-roasted sirloin steak, chocolate cake and lemon tart, among other delicacies.

The Melting Pot’s (1220 19 St. NW; 202/857-0777) four-course fondue menu ($70 per person) includes a chocolate treat for guests to take home and a disposable camera to record the festivities.

Hank’s Oyster Bar (1624 Q St. NW; 202/462-8888) will start the 9 p.m. dinner ($200.06 per couple, including a bottle of champagne) with an “ocean of oysters for the table” and continue with lobster bisque, lobster fettuccine and a surf ‘n’ turf of grilled sirloin and jumbo shrimp. At the 6 p.m. seating ($60 per person), chef-owner Jamie Leeds will feature a four-course a la carte New Year’s Eve menu that will include a dozen oysters and some of her seafood favorites.

At Union Station, B. Smith’s (202/289-6188) will offer 16 tastes in six courses, a flight of wines, a champagne toast and live jazz throughout the evening for $125 per person, all inclusive. Guests also will receive a souvenir champagne flute. The menu starts with a lobster-and-tomato martini and ends with a sweets sampler or artisanal cheeses featuring a selection of cheeses from the South.

Chef Jose Andres (whose new tapas cookbook is out) has treats in store at his restaurants. All three Jaleo restaurants will entertain guests with flamenco dancers performing during the second seating, 9 to 10:30 p.m. downtown (480 Seventh St. NW; 202/628-7949) and 8 to 10:30 p.m. in Bethesda (7271 Woodmont Ave.; 301/913-0003) and Arlington (3250-A, Crystal Drive; 703/413-8181), $75. Dance music will begin after midnight. Jaleo Crystal City has a new wine shop, La Vinoteca de Jaleo. Wines range in price from $10 to $200 per bottle and can be purchased for home consumption or to drink with lunch or dinner at the restaurant, where a $15 corkage fee applies.

Zaytinya (701 Ninth St. NW; 202/638-0800) also has two seatings, and guests will be entertained by belly dancers after midnight. Guests may order unlimited servings from the mezze menu. The first seating, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., is $75, and the second seating, from 8:30 to 9:45 p.m., is $125.

Cafe Atlantico (405 Eighth St. NW; 202/393-0812) will offer a three-course tasting menu for $50 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and a five-course tasting menu from 8 to 11 p.m. Dancing and merrymaking begin at midnight, and dancing will go on into the night.

Spanish traditions and food are on the menu at Taberna del Alabardero (1776 I St. NW; 202/429-2200). Chef Santi Zabaleta’s seven-course dinner ($145 per person) will include a glass of cava and the traditional 12 grapes to be consumed on the 12 strokes of midnight. On the menu are mussel saffron cream soup, Spanish langoustine, beef tenderloin with Rioja red-wine truffle sauce, and almond nougat and New Year’s pastries.

Latin-Asian is the theme for Zengo’s (781 Seventh St. NW; 202/393-2929) four-course menu, featuring such festive dishes as wok-sauteed whole lobster with cilantro butter and chili-rubbed hanger steak with Chinese long beans, Vietnamese baby back ribs and pan-seared foie gras. Dinner is $88 for adults and $32 for children.

Olives (1600 K St. NW; 202/452-1866), together with Capitol File magazine, is hosting a New Year’s Eve party featuring Mediterranean cuisine and unlimited access to raw seafood bars, carving stations, dessert displays and cocktails. Hats, horns, tiaras and take-home gift bags will be supplied. There will be live music for dancing, and one couple will win a K Street Getaway Package — two nights at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel, dinner for two in the refurbished hotel dining room, dinner for two at Olives and other gifts. The party will go on from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.; tickets are $150.

Dino (3435 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202/686-2966) will serve a seven-course dinner of Italian specialties from 7:30 to 10 p.m. for $85. A first seating for $75 will be served from 5 to 7 p.m. A four-course tasting menu also will be available during the first seating for $60 per person. Dino now serves lunch on Friday and Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. and brunch on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In Arlington’s Shirlington restaurant row, Extra Virgin (4053 28th St.; 703/998-8474) will celebrate the evening with a five-course menu for $79 per person, including dancing, live entertainment, a midnight toast and party favors.

For a sample of what 2006 has to offer, there’s a free rib-tasting event Saturday at the new, 250-seat Famous Dave’s restaurant in Chantilly (14452 Chantilly Crossing Lane), which will open Jan. 9. Ribs can be sampled in the parking lot of the Northern Virginia restaurant, at the corner of Chantilly Crossing Lane and Lee Jackson Highway, beginning at noon. Corn-bread muffins and beverages also will be served.

Le Gaulois (1106 King St., Alexandria; 703/739-9494) will celebrate its 25th anniversary and that side of the Potomac with a specially priced three-course menu at lunch ($12.95) and dinner ($19.95) through January and February. The French country bistro moved to Alexandria from its Pennsylvania Avenue location near Washington Circle in 1981. Each time customers dine at Le Gaulois, they can enter a drawing for an anniversary prize for two; the winner will be announced Feb. 10.

The next Washington Restaurant Week is Jan. 9 through 15, with special menus priced at $20.06 for lunch and $30.06 for dinner at participating restaurants. Happy new year.

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