Yes, fireworks and countdowns are the stars of New Year’s Eve, but the party doesn’t have to begin there. A final great meal for 2022 sets the course for great food to come in 2023.
At many Birmingham restaurants, New Year’s Eve isn’t just one more Saturday night. Chefs in one of the country’s best culinary mid-tier cities are creating special menus to celebrate with their food-loving fans.
For some diners, it’s an opportunity to ring in the new year early and get home before things get too crazy. Or it can be the starter course for a long and memorable New Year’s Eve.
Here are a few Birmingham restaurants hosting special New Year’s Eve events. This list is far from exhaustive, so check in with your favorite spot to see what they might have.
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Details: The owners of The Essential and Bandit Patisserie ring in the new year at their latest venture, Bar La Fête, with a five-course seated dinner. Tickets are $125 per person, with optional $50 wine pairing. Two seatings: 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Menu: First course, Murder Point oysters or paddlefish caviar, sets the tone for Bar La Fete’s Bonne Année dinner. Another course includes foie gras on Bandit brioche, octopus hushpuppies; Filet Oscar on a crabcake and mushrooms au poive on leek bread pudding are among the mains. Sweets or cheese finish the meal.
Swingshift Popup by Savoie Catering (Southside)
Details: Popup dinner features drinks by Birmingham cocktail ace Steva Casey and food by James Beard Award-winning author and chef, Robin Bashinsky, who now runs the kitchen at Blueroot. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve seats. Vegetarians and vegans can be accommodated with notice. Cost is $100, cash only; tips are appreciated. Drinks at 7 p.m.; dinner starts around 7:30 p.m.
Menu: Four courses filled with good luck food for the new year, paired with a treat created by Casey. “Expect to see lots of bubbly,” Swingshift’s announcement says.
Details: James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Hastings celebrates at both of his restaurants. Hot and Hot Fish Club’s prix fixe menu is $125, with a complimentary champagne toast. Reservations available online or by calling the restaurant. OvenBird’s prix fixe menu is $95 plus 20 percent gratuity, alcohol extra. Make reservations online or call the restaurant.
Menus: Hot and Hot’s three-course menu (with dessert cocktail options) includes an amuse bouche of Good Luck Gumbo. First course (“Opening Act”) features roasted quail, surf and turf tartare, and tomato crab pie. Seafood, duck, rabbit, and ribeye are on the main course (“Big Show”) menu. The “Closing Act” includes beloved desserts like Elton’s Chocolate Souffle. No announcement yet on OvenBird’s menu.
Details: Chef Tom Saab’s restaurants specializing in Italian (Bocca on Second Avenue North) and French (Bistro 218 on 20th Street North) cuisines will have four-course prix fixe menus. Each is $125 per person, plus drinks, tax, and tip. Reservations can be made via each restaurant’s website.
Menus: At Bocca, starters include arancini and spicy veal meatballs. Wild boar cassoulet, braised rabbit pappardelle, and slow-braised short rib are “primi” and “secondi” course highlights. Desserts include Italian buttercrunch doughnut.
At Bistro 218, various course offerings include char-grilled baby artichoke, duck confit, beef Wellington, grilled rack of lamb, and finishing with almond pear gateau or chocolate pomegranate entremets.
Helen (Second Avenue North)
Details: The regular menu, mostly cooked over a wood fire, will be available all night. But executive chef Rob McDaniel, whose resume includes working at and running some of Alabama’s finest restaurants, also plans a special prix-fixe menu. Reservations can be made via Helen’s website.