Food & Drink

Kiss 2021 Goodbye With These Culinary Celebrations

Ring in the New Year on a full stomach with prix-fixe menus and takeout specials at local restaurants.

Proving that time is but a blur these days, New Year’s Eve festivities are right around the corner. But with COVID cases surging, and a string of rainy forecasts set to saturate the week, we don’t blame you if you want to skip the glitzy blowout and keep it low key this year. Luckily, local eateries are standing by to help us celebrate with chef-driven offerings. Below, we round up a list of spots to help you say goodbye to 2021 on a full stomach.

Charleston: In addition to a requisite Champagne toast at midnight, Chef Cindy Wolf will be offering two festive, four-course menus (and smooth wine pairings to boot) at her Lowcountry home in Harbor East. Secure a reservation here.

Cinghiale: Make reservations here to indulge in a four-course, prix-fixe meal (and midnight Champagne toast to follow) at this Italian enoteca and osteria in Harbor East.

Cosima: Ring in 2022 by taking your taste buds on a trip to Sicily at this Hampden hotspot. Highlights on the special three-course  menu include bolognese-filled arancini, a warm shrimp salad with sun-dried tomatoes, pan-seared tuna over squid ink gnocchi, roasted chicken over saffron risotto, and lemon mascarpone cheesecake.

Guilford Hall Brewery: Dance away 2021 at this new modern-industrial taproom in Station North, which is offering all-inclusive ticket packages for its first New Year’s bash. The $40 price of general admission includes hors d’oeuvres and non-alcoholic beverages. An upgraded ticket including unlimited beer and wine is also available for $75.

Guinness Open Gate Brewery: If an early night is more your pace—this Halethorpe hangout is counting down Dublin-style (at 7 p.m.) with a mystery release and celebratory toast. Of course, Guinness will also be serving its impressive menu of Irish staples including bangers with grainy mustard and the famous St. James Gate beef stew.

H3irloom Food Group: As expected, this farm-to-table soul food staple plans to ring in 2022 with downhome cooking. Place an order here to score a family-style meal, complete with braised greens, black-eyed peas, corn bread and and crispy-fried blue catfish. You can also opt to purchase treats (think scratch-made yuzu pound cake and pineapple upside down-inspired biscuits ) a la carte.

Heritage Kitchen: Chef Rey Eugenio has been consistently serving up top-notch takeout in the wake of the pandemic, and New Year’s Eve will be no exception. The chef is preparing a Filipino feast for diners to enjoy at home for the holiday, complete with reheating instructions and an explanation of festive traditions. Standout dishes include shrimp bola bola misua (Filipino shrimp meatballs in a coconut and shellfish broth with mushroom and rice noodles.)

Magdalena: Housed inside Mt. Vernon’s Ivy Hotel, this sophisticated spot has curated a three-course prix-fixe with optional wine pairings. Settle in one of the many cozy dining rooms to enjoy dishes such as a Brussels sprout and bitter green salad topped with crispy rice and citrus, hand-cut beef tartare, and truffle-buttered tagliatelle pasta.

Johnny’s: If you’re in need of a hangover helper, make New Year’s Day brunch reservations to scarf down a mushroom gravy-smothered half pound bison burger (topped with crispy onions, of course) at this reliable Roland Park spot. To say hydrated, grab a loaded Bloody Mary or a clementine-tinged pomegranate spritz.

Lebanese Taverna: Place orders here to score a lavish take-home mezza spread including stuffed grape leaves, tabbouleh, hummus, chicken samosas, arnabeet, and more. Each package, available for pickup from Lebanese Taverna’s Harbor East location, comes complete with party favors, a bottle of bubbly, reheating instructions, and even a belly dancing show to watch from home.

The Manor: Dress to the nines and join hosts Cazwell and Raja (of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame) at the swanky Mt. Vernon venue. Tiered ticket packages include options for open bar access, hors d’oeuvres, and all-you-can-eat plates of The Manor specialties including truffle fries, charcuterie, and butternut squash bisque.

The Milton Inn: To celebrate its first New Year’s Eve under new ownership, this scenic Sparks establishment is set to boast an elevated prix-fixe spread. Indulge in everything from roasted breast of guinea fowl with winter black truffle sauce to rich potato gratin. To end on a sweet note, the dessert course includes options such as a pear and vanilla bean torte and a decadent pot de creme.

NiHao: It wouldn’t be a holiday without a feast by this contemporary Chinese restaurant in Canton. Ahead of Friday night, sign up on Tock to fill your plate with everything from whole peking duck to pork spare ribs and salt-and-pepper calamari. The special a la carte menu (also available on New Year’s Day) also includes an array of dim sum dishes like confit duck spring rolls and orange-glazed Grand Marnier shrimp.

New Year’s Eve at Atlas Quarter: Hop back and forth around Atlas Restaurant Group’s adjoining venues Tagliata, The Elk Room, Italian Disco, and Monarque to enjoy an open bar, standing buffets, and live music at each location. (Think jazz at The Elk Room and live piano in the lounge at Tagliata.) End the night at Italian Disco to tune in to the Times Square ball drop while sipping complementary bubbly.

Sally O’s: Your last meal of 2021 is sure to be comforting if you opt for Chef Jesse Sandlin’s prix-fixe menu, which is available for dine-in or carryout. Head to the Highlandtown neighborhood gem to fill up on three courses, including dishes like Oysters Rockefeller, vegan mushroom toast, brown butter-basted seared scallops, butternut squash-filled cannelloni, and a ribeye and crab cake combo. The party continues on New Year’s Day with Sandlin’s special a la carte brunch menu that features cinnamon rolls, deviled eggs with smoked trout roe, and a Croque Madame with truffle-fried egg.

Topside: Take in killer views of the Washington Monument at this top-level bar inside Mt. Vernon’s Hotel Revival. Groove to a soundtrack provided by musician Marcus Johnson while enjoying a three-course dinner and optional wine pairings. Revival is also offering special overnight packages if you want to make it a mini staycation.

Verde: Make a beeline to this Canton-based pizza palace to fill your New Year’s Eve with prix-fixe bites. Treat each person in your party to a ginger-infused welcome cocktail, followed by a loaded antipasti plate (each comes piled with snacks like crispy arancini, crusty bread, imported meats and oven-roasted veggies.) To sweeten things, each person in your pizza-loving crew receives a wood-fired pie to savor, plus a delicate dessert (wine pairings optional.)