- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 27, 2006


With 2007 just around the corner, restaurants open on New Year’s Eve are filling up their reservations books. These are some of the options for Dec. 31:

At Taberna del Alabardero (1776 I St. NW; 202/429-2200), chef Santi Zabaleta will prepare a 12-course feast concluding with turron, a traditional Spanish holiday nougat dessert. At midnight, each patron will receive a basket of 12 grapes. As a ceremonial bell chimes the final seconds of the year, guests will eat one grape per stroke of the bell to bring good luck and prosperity for the 12 months ahead. Dinner begins at 9 p.m., and the menu is priced at $145 per person. An abbreviated version of the menu is available from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Italian favorites are on chef Anthony Chittum’s menu at Notti Bianche (824 New Hampshire Ave. NW; 202/298-8085), including lobster tortelloni, pumpkin risotto and beef tenderloin. A three-course menu priced at $75 ($85 with three wine pairings) or a five-course menu for $80 ($110 with five wine pairings) will be available from 5 to 10 p.m.

At Cafe Atlantico (405 Eighth St. NW; 202/393-0812), the three-course early-bird tasting menu is available from 5 to 6:30 p.m. for $60 per person. From 7:45 to 10:30 p.m., chef Katsuya Fukushima’s five-course menu is showcased for $95. At midnight, a glass of champagne will be provided to all guests, and a disc jockey and party favors will enliven the evening with dancing until 2 a.m.

At all three Jaleo locations (480 Seventh St. NW, 202/628-7949; 7271 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda, 301/913-0003; and 2250-A Crystal Drive, Arlington, 703/413-8181) guests can order unlimited tapas from the holiday and seasonal menus for $85 per person beginning at 8 p.m. At midnight, guests will follow the 12-grape Spanish custom to bring in the new year. The Bethesda location will have a DJ on hand for dancing.

At Primi Piatti (2013 I St. NW; 202/223-3600), chef-owner and magician extraordinaire Savino Racine will perform with his illusions through dinner from 8:30 until midnight. He also will make predictions for his audience. The complete a la carte menu will be available from 5:30 to 8 p.m., and a five-course prix-fixe menu at $79 per person will be featured at the second seating beginning at 8:30 p.m.

Guests at 1789 Restaurant (1226 36th St. NW; 202/965-1789) can celebrate with chef Nathan Beauchamp’s five-course menu, which includes licorice-scented hamachi, lobster steamed in banana leaf and tangerine, roast veal tenderloin, and a chocolate bombe. Diners will ring in the new year with noisemakers, balloons, streamers, beads and a champagne toast. Dinner is priced at $85 per person or $150 with wine pairings.

At the Kennedy Center’s Roof Terrace Restaurant (2700 F St. NW; 202/416-8555) the three-course New Year’s Eve menu will be accompanied by an endless flow of champagne and the smooth sounds of the Empire Jazz Trio. Chef Jose Urrutia’s menu, which includes foie gras with pomegranate, pan-roasted breast of goose, and almond macaroon napoleon with mint chocolate cream, will be available for two-hour seatings scheduled from 5 to 6, 7:15 to 8:15 and 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. Dinner is priced at $125 per person.

The Roof Terrace’s last fall/winter wine dinner will be held at 8 p.m. Jan. 18. The dinner will feature the wines of Cambria Winery from California and is priced at $100 per person.

Across the river at Willow Restaurant (4301 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington; 703/465-8800) chef-owners Tracy O’Grady and Kate Jansen offer a “great evening of wonderful cuisine and festive libations.” Their special six-course tasting menu is available for $90 per person with wine pairings for an additional $50 per person. Dishes include a creamy scallop soup, potato-wrapped sea-bass filet, duo of duck, an artichoke tart, and a box of surprises for the ride home.

Sette Bello (3101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703/351-1004) is offering a special New Year’s Eve menu for $49, which includes veal-stuffed ravioli with a porcini mushroom sauce, sauteed fillet of sea bass with pine nuts and basil, and panettone souffle.

In Washington’s Penn Quarter, Zengo DC (781 Seventh St. NW; 202/393-2929) has two seatings — 5 to 7 p.m. and 7:30 to 10:45 p.m. — each with four courses, priced at $69 and $105. The second seating includes a band, a champagne toast and party favors. Dinner includes such specialties as persimmon salad, tuna sashimi, steamed mushroom dumplings, crunchy prawns, Vietnamese coffee pork belly, cinnamon-smoked chicken, and hazelnut cheesecake. A DJ will be in the lounge from 9 p.m. until closing; the $20 celebration fee includes a champagne toast.

South African singing star Keenia will have guests dancing and celebrating at Cafe Milano(3251 Prospect St. NW; 202/333-6183). The evening also will feature a tarot-card reader, a magician and a cigarette girl. Starting at 8:30 p.m. for the New Year’s celebration, premium tables are $200 per person; choice tables are $150 per person. Prices do not include beverages; a charge will be made for cancellations after noon on Dec. 26 and for any no-shows on New Year’s Eve. Reservations can be made by calling Lucy Pear at 202/965-8990, Ext. 111.

At the Oval Room (800 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202/463-8700) chef Tony Conte is preparing a prix-fixe menu beginning with an amuse-bouche followed by three courses, a glass of champagne and party favors, available 7:30 until 11 p.m. for $85 per person, including valet parking. The a la carte menu will be available at the first seating, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Both of Ashok Bajaj’s Indian restaurants are offering special menus. Four courses at Bombay Club (815 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202/659-3727) are priced at $65; at Rasika(633 D St. NW; 202/637-1222), the four-course menu will be available for $45 for diners at the first seating, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., or $75 for the late seating, from 8 to 11 p.m., Both seatings offer wine pairings for an additional $25.

Seasonal fresh farm produce is featured at the Blue Duck Tavern (24th and M streets Northwest; 202/419-6755) in chefs Brian McBride and Mark Hellyar’s five-course tasting menu, priced at $100 per person, seating from 8:30 to 9 p.m. An early seating begins at 5:30 p.m. and features a three-course a la carte menu priced at $65 per person with entree choices such as galantine of quail with figs, roast duck with baked apple, and red-wine-marinated scallops.

Coming up in the new year is Il Mulino New York, which will open at 1110 Vermont Ave. NW toward the end of next month and will feature an Italian menu and wine list. And just opened is D’Acqua (801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202/783-7717), a modern Italian seafood restaurant, the newest creation of chefs Francesco Ricchi and Enzo Febbraro. Mr. Ricchi will contribute his northern Italian style, while Mr. Febbraro is inspired by his southern expertise.

With the new year comes another Restaurant Week in Washington from, Jan. 8 to 14, with 170 local restaurants participating. Prices for the special menus will be $20.07 for lunch and $30.07 for dinner. For a complete list of participating restaurants, go to www.washington.org/restaurantwk.

Happy New Year.

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