Times Square Bash

From a gala dinner in the heart of Times Square with front row seats to the ball drop to a rooftop revel overlooking the lights of the city or a multi-course gastronomic feast with friends, these New Year’s Eve events cover all of the bases at a wide range of prices, $45 to $750 per person.

At the center of it all the Crowne Plaza Times Square on Broadway will present an intimate 100-person bash with all the trimmings – five-course feast, traditional NYE paraphernalia, open bar and dancing – at Brasserie 1605, which overlooks all the action below through walls of windows. To start the evening, guests will dine on an amuse of Butternut Squash and Foie Gras Bisque followed by a choice of appetizer, such as Grilled Diver Scallops with Maine Crab, Blackened Pear Tomatoes and a Brown Butter Vinaigrette. A refreshing sorbet intermezzo will cleanse the palate before it is seduced by Grilled Rosemary Scented Bone-In Filet, Chilean Sea Bass with Cuttlefish Ink Risotto or Seared Duck Breast and Foie Gras Medallions.  As midnight approaches, guests will migrate to a special sidewalk viewing area just in front of the hotel to witness the ball drop.  $250 per person at 1605 Broadway, between 48th and 49th Streets. For information and reservations, call 212.315.6000.

Rooftop Reveling:

For an equally memorable evening, if in a considerably less intimate setting, 230 FIFTH, New York’s largest rooftop bar, in the historic Flatiron District   will take New Year’s to new heights from its 25,000 square feet of rooftop garden and indoor penthouse lounge with sweeping 360-degree views of the city.  230 FIFTH’s “Glamorous and Sexy” New Year’s Eve Celebration offers a variety of packages to ring in the New Year, starting at $150 per person for top shelf open bar and hors d’oeuvres. Table seating ranges from $200 to $750 per person, depending on the size of the party, location of the table and the bottles of Champagne and / or premium liquor included.  All table packages feature the premium open bar and hors d’oeuvre, as well as plentiful platters of 230 FIFTH’s signature Malaysian cuisine.

230 FIFTH celebrants can trip the light fantastic on one of two dance floors, each with its own DJ spinning non-stop dance, rock, Top 40 and classic 80’s music. And they can don complimentary oversized red hooded robes to revel in the crisp winter air on the rooftop warmed by 100 high-powered heaters.  If the robes and heaters (voluminous blankets too) aren’t enough, an intriguing list of steaming hot cocktails served in massive 18-ounce hand-warming mugs will be available. At midnight, a Champagne toast will accompany the broadcast of the countdown in Times Square from giant flat screens placed strategically throughout 230 FIFTH.   Fifth Avenue at 27th Street. Call 212.246.1000.

Sophisticated Soiree:

At the other end of the party spectrum is the urbane New Year’s outing provided by Fiorini, described by Zagat as a “one of midtown’s few well kept secrets.”  Redolent of old world charm and gracious hospitality, it reflects hallmark style of veteran restaurateur Lello Arpaia (dad to Food Network personality, restaurateur, chef and cookbook author Donatella) one of the last of the great owner/operator/hosts who once defined New York’s restaurant scene.  Exquisitely decorated for the holidays, it will be a festive setting in which to greet 2011 with a Champagne toast after savoring a four-course Italian festa sensibly priced at $82.

The meal will showcase such tasty treats as pasta tasting  – spinach gnocchi in four cheese sauce, cavetelli with pesto and ravioli stuffed with roasted vegetables and mushroom ragu – and main course options including, filet mignon, black truffles and Barolo red wine sauce. Celebrants will be issued all the requisite NYE accoutrements – hats, noise makers, etc. – and a DJ will assure a merry atmosphere, one made all the more so by Fiorini’s Holiday Drink Specials, captivating 7 ounce cocktails such as the Ginger, Beefeater Gin, homemade lemon-ginger simple syrup, fresh mint, garnished with fresh candied ginger for just $7! For reservations at Fiorini, 206 E. 56th between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, call 212-308-0830.

Casual Value:

Petite Abeille the popular Belgian boite will greet the new year at all four of its Manhattan locations with a festive three-course menu at just $45 for: Chicken Liver and Foie Gras Parfait, Melba Toast; Roasted Guinea Hen Braised Leg and Potato Rosti, Truffled Natural Jus; and  Pear Frangipane Tart.  The value quotient is further enhanced by a complimentary cocktail and tasty amuses bouches treats.  And it goes through the roof with the availability of the regular a la carte menu, so that there can be merry-making over Petite Abeille’s two pounds of mussels in a variety of tempting preparations served with Belgian fries for $19 or the restaurant’s celebrated $13.95 hamburgers, also accompanied by fries.   Whatever the culinary choice, the city’s most extensive selection of Belgian beers will provide plenty of bubbly, in addition to the wine list’s sparklers.

At the 401 E. 20th Street location, another dimension will be added to the festivities courtesy of rocking live musicality of Soul of Anubis, a five piece ban d featuring the guitar playing talents of Pascal Jadot, son of owner Yves Jadot. .  The other Petite Abeilles buzz at 466 Hudson Street, 44 West 17th and 134 West Broadway, which can be reached via 212-741-6479, 212-727-2989 and 212-791-1360.   For reservations at 20th Street, call 212-727-1505. 

Jazzy Celebration:

Pera Mediterranean Brasserie will address a broad range of celebration styles, appetites, dietary preferences and price points on December 31st, all presented with the infectious, swinging sound of the Lapis Luna Jazz Band.

For a casual welcome of 2011, guests can linger in Pera’s stylish bar and lounge sipping the special Champagne cocktails that will be served all night long for just $10 and / or dine on  dishes from a condensed version of Pera’s a la carte menu – including 14 intriguing mezes such as Turkish smoked lamb tacos at $6 to $13.  Another option is $65 three-course fixed price menu which will be served  in the dining room prior to 9 p.m. and throughout the evening in the bar / lounge.  It will feature offerings, featuring such dishes as Seafood Crostini Trio, Grilled Octopus, Raki Lobster Ceviche, Sea Urchin and Homemade Gnocchi with Oxtail Ragout and Pan-Fried Chicken Liver as two of the four appetizer choices. Among the four entrée options:  Mediterranean Mixed Grill Platter with a selection of Pera’s signature specialty meat preparations including Lamb Adana, Skirt Steak, Chicken Brochette and Lamb Riblets and Grilled Dover Sole, Tomato Lemon Confit, Fresh Herbs and Fresh Lemon Spritz.

For a splashier culinary experience, the 9:30 seating in the dining room will present two five-course menus, one for carnivores and one for vegetarians, $140 and $110 respectively.  Both will begin with a cheese centric presentation for the table, complemented by meats or vegetables and will conclude with Tangerine Creme Brulee, Chocolate Nirvana or an Assortment of Sorbets.

In between the vegetarian menu will present: Gigante Bean Salad, Giant White Beans, Goat Cheese, Zucchini and Winter Truffle; Turkish Yoghurt Soup with Smoked Tomato Phyllo Rolls and Mushroom Pappardelle with Seasonal Mushrooms Baby Rocket Pesto and Parmigiano.  Meat mavens will also be able to opt for the salad or the seafood crostini detailed above as appetizers.  Ditto the soup as a “prelude to the main course” or homemade gnocchi with oxtail ragout and pan-fried chicken liver.  And for the main event, the $65 menu’s Mediterranean Mixed Grill and the Dover sole will be available, as well as Veal Osso Buco, Classic Gremolata Garnish, Ratatouille and Feta Lasagna. Pera is located at 303 Madison Avenue, between 41st and 42nd Streets, and reservations can be made by calling 212-878-6301.

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