After the extravagance of last year's New Year's Eve, many restaurants are toning things down, opting for a la carte menus and reservations throughout the night in lieu of elaborate prix fixe meals with set seatings. Several will still offer live entertainment and party favors while others will close for the night. Accordingly, our listings for the evening are not comprehensive; restaurants not listed below probably fall into one of the above categories. Prices for the evening have also come back down to earth--there are only a handful of options that hit the hundred-dollar mark, which was the norm for last year's festivities. Prices cited are per person, exclusive of tax or tip unless otherwise noted. Reservations are required across the board. Check our Web site at www.chicagoreader.com for updates.
--Laura Levy Shatkin
BD's MONGOLIAN BARBEQUE
3330 N. Clark, 773-325-2300
This recently expanded Mongolian restaurant will offer a buffet that includes filet mignon, tuna steak, scallops, and jumbo shrimp in a create-your-own-stir-fry format. It's $20.01 per person, which includes the soup and salad bar.
339 N. Dearborn, 312-755-9463
There will be three seatings at this Marina City restaurant and wine bar: the first, at 5:30 PM, offers a four-course meal for $65; the second (7:30) and third (9:30) feature five-course meals for $75 and $90 respectively. Each meal includes a champagne toast, and wine pairings will be available for an additional $30-$40.
1437 N. Wells, 312-587-3660
This French bistro will offer an a la carte menu with specials like beef Wellington, smoked salmon terrine, and sweetbreads, and a champagne toast at midnight. Seating will begin at 5 PM and end at 11; the restaurant will also be open for brunch from 10:30 until 2.
3443 N. Southport, 773-281-3443
You can celebrate a truly French New Year here with a four-course prix fixe menu for $75. Reservations begin at 5 PM and run through 11; late diners will enjoy a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.
BLUE POINT OYSTER BAR
741 W. Randolph, 312-207-1222
Three seatings are scheduled at this market district steak-and-seafood house--at 6, 8, and 10 PM. Diners can order off the regular menu, but specials will also be offered. Live music and dancing will start at 10:30.
815 Chicago, Evanston, 847-475-6100
Chef Michael Altenberg's refined Italian cuisine is offered in three seatings in the downstairs room: a $50 four-course menu at 5:30 or 7:30 PM and a $60 five-course menu at 9:30, followed by a champagne toast. The meal in the upstairs room is more elaborate; for $150 diners can enjoy a 12-course meal with live music by Stuart Rosenberg and a champagne toast. There's only one seating, so the table is yours for the night.
816 W. Armitage, 773-248-6228
This world-renowned restaurant has scheduled one seating only, offering a special seven-course tasting menu for $275 (wine not included).
358 W. Ontario, 312-266-9525
Chef Geno Bahena's (Ixcapuzalco) new upscale Mexican restaurant will offer a $65 dinner, which includes a glass of sparkling wine followed by a series of three appetizers, your choice of one of six entrees, dessert, and coffee or tea. A mariachi band will circulate throughout the night. Reservations will be taken from 5:30 to 10:30 PM.
6730 N. Northwest Highway, 773-775-6438
Reopened after a fire this year, the Concannon family's upscale Mexican restaurant will offer two seatings, at 5 and 8 PM. Diners can opt for a five-course meal with matched wines for $75, or the same meal without alcohol for $55.
1950 W. North, 773-235-5700
Chef Michael Kerwin will feature an a la carte menu showcasing his specialties from throughout the year. Seating begins at 5 PM and continues all night. The festivities culminate at midnight with party favors and a champagne toast.
2925 N. Halsted, 773-528-7200
This subdued Lincoln Park American restaurant will celebrate with a $75 four-course menu that includes your choice of entree. Seating begins at 5:30 PM and continues until 11.
440 S. LaSalle, 312-663-8920
Jean Joho's elegant French restaurant will offer two seatings: the first, at 5 PM, is for a $95 multicourse meal; the second, at 9, features a special degustation menu for $195. A five-piece jazz band will perform, and there will be dancing and party favors.
FINESTRA DI CALO
5341 N. Clark, 773-334-4525
This Italian restaurant in Andersonville will ring in the New Year with a six-course menu, champagne, and party favors at two seatings--6 PM ($55) and 9 ($65).
1312 S. Wabash, 312-939-3870
The Roaring Twenties will be the theme at this rustic Italian eatery in the South Loop, and special menu items will be offered along with the regular dishes. The party will continue in both the ballroom and speakeasy, where a DJ will spin tunes, party favors will be distributed, and champagne will be poured at midnight. There are no set seatings.
2044 N. Halsted, 773-348-8228
Owner Hiroshi Tanimoto is offering a $75 five-course meal plus a special Japanese tradition--soba noodles at midnight. The price includes three glasses of champagne, sake, or wine.
2845 N. Clark, 773-528-9050
This cozy French eatery will offer a reasonably priced three-course menu ($16) with live music, complimentary champagne, and party favors. Reservations will be taken only for parties of six or more.
LAWRY'S THE PRIME RIB
100 E. Ontario, 312-787-5000
Two packages are offered to celebrate the "real millennium:" an appetizer, a side dish, dessert, and your choice of prime rib or fish for $75 or lobster for $100. Both packages include a goody bag with party favors and a $20 gift certificate. A $35 kids' meal package is also available. Seating begins at 5 PM.
222 E. Ontario, 312-649-9010
Roland and Mary Beth Liccioni will celebrate the New Year with two seatings at their exclusive French restaurant, the first at 6 PM, the second at 9. Both will feature a ten-course tasting menu and a champagne toast for $125.
833 W. Randolph, 312-226-8399
This popular market district restaurant hosts a Marquis de Sade-themed bash this year. There will be two seatings: the first, from 6 to 7 PM, is $65 for a four-course meal; the second, from 8:30 to 10, is $125 for a five-course meal plus champagne, party favors, a fashion show by Feitico gallery, and admission to a postdinner party featuring live music, DJs, and dancing.
1670 W. Division, 773-276-8700
Chef John Manion hosts a nuevo Latino New Year's Eve with seating throughout the night and, as a departure from the usual policy, reservations will be taken. He's offering a four-course menu for $50, plus a champagne toast and a live DJ.
868 N. Franklin, 312-482-9179
Chef Michael Kornick goes all out this year, offering only a single seating to allow diners to settle in for the night. Cocktails and appetizers start at 8 PM, and dinner is at 9, featuring a six-course menu of the chef's most opulent dishes, from caviar and lobster to foie gras. The $185 ticket includes a champagne toast at midnight.
325 W. Huron, 312-664-2727
Guests can mambo past midnight while dining on chef Randy Zweiban's cuisine at this swank nuevo Latino restaurant. There aren't any set seatings or fixed menus; just the a la carte menu with several New Year's specials along with a champagne toast and dancing.
800 N. Michigan, 312-239-4030
This elegant seventh-floor dining room inside the Park Hyatt will feature two seatings--at 6 and 9 PM--and variable fixed price menus that start at $70 per person for a three-course meal and $240 for a five-course meal with champagne for two. The later seating includes live music; room packages are also available.
NORTH POND CAFE
2610 N. Cannon, 773-477-5845
You can celebrate a very midwestern New Year's in this beautiful Prairie-style dining room on the pond at Lincoln Park. Chef Bruce Sherman will offer a $100 six-course meal of his signature regional cuisine, including luxurious items like squab, truffles, and caviar, with wines to match. There's only one seating, which should allow for a long, relaxed evening.
5525 N. Broadway, 773-878-1061
There will be three seatings at this north-side Vietnamese restaurant--at 5 ($50), 7 ($75), and 9 PM ($100). The prices include a six-course tasting menu with wines paired with each course. Late diners will be treated to a champagne toast and live piano music. A limited a la carte menu will also be offered at all seatings.
1935 N. Damen, 773-772-3719
This funky Damen Avenue eatery will offer a four-course menu with your choice of New York strip, salmon, or duck for $60. There'll be two seatings: the first at 5 PM, the second at 9. One glass of wine and two glasses of champagne are also included in the price, along with party favors to ring in the midnight hour.
1156 W. Grand, 312-491-1122
Chef Mara Brie Deckter plans to pull together an eclectic seven-course tasting menu for two seatings--the first at 6:30 PM, the second at 9. Priced at $95, both include a live jazz quartet, dancing in the bar area, and a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Their liquor license is still pending; call ahead to see if the restaurant is still BYO.
676 N. Saint Clair, 312-202-0001
Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand have opted to keep this New Year's subdued, with no entertainment or midnight toasts scheduled. Instead, they'll be offering special tasting menus of their favorite dishes from the last year: a six-course "vegetable collection" ($100), a seven-course "grand collection" ($150), and an eight-course "chef's collection" ($200). There will be two seatings: the first from 5 to 6:45 PM and the second from 9 to 10:45.
1625 Hinman, Evanston, 847-733-8746
Chef Shawn McClain's Asian-influenced French cuisine will be offered in a decadent eight-course degustation menu in two seatings. At 6 PM the ticket is $100; from 9:30 through midnight it's $125 but also includes a champagne toast.
419 W. Superior, 312-475-9112
Chef Michael Taus is going all out with two seatings. The first, from 5 to 6:30 PM, will feature a six-course tasting menu for $125 and the second, from 9 to 10:30, will be a seven-course meal for $225. Wine pairings are available for each menu for an additional $125 and $150 respectively. The chef's table will have only one seating; it's $300 for a seven-course menu. The evening is black-tie optional, but jackets and ties are required.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Tom Bachtell.