Yeah, yeah, we know. New Year's Eve is supposed to be a time of reflection filled with hope and promise for the coming year, a time to move forward and leave our struggles in the past. But for those of us resolving to lose weight in 2012, New Year's Eve is a lot like Fat Tuesday -- a last hurrah of excess and indulgence before the fast.
Luckily, we live in one of the richest, most diverse culinary landscapes in America (which is probably how we got so paunchy in the first place), with no shortage of decadent dining options to ring in the New Year. Seriously. The long-ass list we've posted below only accounts for a fraction of Bayou City restaurant action going down on December 31. But while pricing and menus may vary, one thing remains constant: reservations are required.
And if an alcohol-heavy New Year's Eve celebration leaves you feeling a little lackluster come January 1, we've also provided a few food-centric options to get you back up to speed -- or, at least, get you drunk all over again. Happy New Year!
NEW YEAR'S EVE PRIX FIXE MENUS & SPECIALS
Backstreet Cafe 1103 S. Shepherd, 713-521-2239 Four-course prix fixe dinner, complimentary champagne toast at midnight, and live music by Bob Chadwick. $69 per person.
Bistro Provence 13616 Memorial Dr., 713-827-8008 Choose from hour-long three-course "pre-party" seatings at 5 and 5:30 p.m. ($45 per person) or a more leisurely four-course meal with seatings at 6, 6:30, 8, and 8:30 p.m. $70 per person.
Branch Water Tavern 510 Shepherd, 713-863-7777 Four-course prix fixe dinner and Perrier Jouet Grand Brut champagne for $70 per bottle (while supplies last). $60 per person.
Brennan's of Houston 3300 Smith St., 713-522-9711 Brennan's creole New Year's Eve celebration features a special a la carte menu with entrees ranging from $39 to $72.
Chimichurri's South American Grill 1600 West Lake Houston Pkwy, 281-360-0015 Four-course prix fixe dinner with complimentary champagne at midnight. Seatings begin at 5 p.m. $59 per person.
Down House 1801 Yale Street, 713-864-3696 Holiday punch aperitif followed by a four-course prix fixe dinner, champagne toast at midnight, and DJ spinning classic R&B, soul and rock vinyl all night. $80 per person.
Fratelli's Authentic Italian 10989 Northwest Freeway, 713-957-1150 Choose from regular menu or five-course dinner and a glass of sparkling wine. Doors open at 5 p.m. and will remain open past midnight. $39 per person.
Haven 2502 Algerian Way, 713-581-6101 Haven's 2nd seating (after 8 p.m.) features a special menu and live music by Luther and The Healers. $85 per person.
Hugo's 1600 Westheimer, 713-524-7744 Vispera de Año Nuevo (New Years Eve Celebration) features a four-course prix fixe dinner, complimentary champagne at midnight, and live music by Viento. $69 per person.
Giacomo's cibo e vino 3215 Westheimer, 713-522-1934 Vigilia di Capodano (New Year's Eve) celebration featuring a four-course prix fixe dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. $45 per person.
Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar 1985 Welch, 713-533-0200 Four-course prix fixe menu, party favors, and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. $75 per person / $115 with sommelier's wine pairing.
Nardino Ristorante 14800 Westheimer, Ste. D, 281-496-1022. Five-course dinner with seatings from 3 to 9 p.m. $75 per person.
Prego 2520 Amhearst, 713-529-2420 Four-course prix fixe menu with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight and live music by Danny McKnight. Seatings start at 5 p.m. $60 adults / $10 children.
Ra Sushi - CityCentre 12860 Queensbury, 713-331-2792 "Roll into 2012 with a bang" at the CityCentre location's New Year's Eve party. Includes music by DJ Kaito, $6 sake, and specials on popular menu items like the Tootsy Maki ($5), Crunchy Calamari ($5), Shishito Peppers ($5) and Crispy Spicy Shrimp ($8), as well as a variety of NYE-themed cocktails. 8 p.m. until close.
Rattan Pan-Asian Bistro 1396 Eldridge Parkway, 281-556-9888 Choose from the regular menu or a four-course prix fixe dinner with the option of a wine pairing that includes champagne with dessert. $50 per person ($75 with wine pairing).
Quattro - Four Seasons Houston Hotel 1300 Lamar, 713-276-4700 "Early Bird Celebration" from 6 to 8 p.m. features a three-course prix fixe dinner for $70 per person ($100 with wine pairing), while the "Gala Dinner" kicks off at 8:30 p.m. and includes a six-course prix fixe feast, wine pairing option, live music, and a champagne toast at midnight. $155 per person ($200 with wine pairing).
Skewer's Mediterranean Grill 3991 Richmond Ave., 713-599-1444 Early birds can enjoy a three-course dinner with seatings at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. for $35 per person, but the real party begins at 9:30 p.m. with a four-course prix fixe dinner, live music by Youssef, belly dancing and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. $75 per person.
Ristorante Cavour - Hotel Granduca at Uptown Park 1080 Uptown Park Boulevard, 713-418-1000 Four-course prix fixe dinner and amuse-bouche with option of a wine pairing. $125 per person ($190 with wine pairing).
Tila's 1111 S. Shepherd, 713-522-7654 The River Oaks Mexican restaurant's "Motown New Year's Eve" promises a soulful soiree with a three-course prix fixe dinner, live music, dancing, and party favors. $65 per person.
Union Kitchen 4057 Bellaire Boulevard, 713-661-0025 Ring in the New Year around the world with a three-course prix fixe menu and countdowns at 7 p.m. (London, England), 8 p.m. (The Azores) , 9 p.m. (San Paulo, Brazil), and 10 p.m. (Nanortalik, Greenland) -- complete with noisemakers and hats -- perfect for little party animals with early bedtimes. Regular dinner and kids menu also available. $60 per couple.
NEW YEAR'S EVE PACKAGES
A.D. Players 2710 W. Alabama, 713-526-2721 A.D. Players presents a "faith-full" New Year's Eve celebration with a 6 p.m. dinner at Ouisie's Table (3939 San Felipe), followed by a an 8 p.m. performance of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at Grace Theater (2710 W. Alabama). The evening culminates with dessert and a special worship service led by Jeanette Clift George. For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.adplayers.org. $125 per person.
Hotel Derek 2525A West Loop South, 713-850-9200 Four-course prix fixe dinner and wine pairing option at Valentino with seatings at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. ($65 per person / $90 with wine pairing) or a package with dinner for two and overnight accommodations for $299.
Hotel Icon 220 Main, 713-224-4266 The downtown hotel is kicking off its 100th birthday in 2012 with a range of luxurious New Year's Eve packages with names like "Diamonds and Pearls" ($557), "Ruby Slippers," and "The Tiara" ($307), that include hotel accommodations, complimentary valet parking, a four-course dinner for two at the hotel's new Line & Lariat restaurant, and access to the NYE lobby party, exclusive to hotel guests and restaurant patrons. Those opting not to stay the night can enjoy dinner, a complimentary champagne toast, and party until 2 a.m for $115 per person ($105 per person for groups of four or more), and/or drop in the next day for an a la carte New Year's Day brunch (also included in the "Diamonds and Pearls" package).
Hotel Sorella 800 Sorella Court, 1-866-842-0100 The Hotel Sorella has packaged an overnight stay, upscale meal for two at Bistro Alex, and access to the private New Year's Eve party at the hotel's Monnalisa Bar, offering a prime view of the midnight fireworks display at CityCentre plaza from $399 - $479 per couple. Those opting to forgo a room and dinner can enjoy the bar party, complete with champagne toast and balloon drop, for $249 per couple.
San Luis Resort 5222 Seawall Boulevard, 800-392-5937 Party like a Roman at the Galveston resort and spa's Italian-themed New Year's Eve celebration -- complete with hotel accommodations, a four-course meal for two, live music and party favors, balloon drop, and champagne toast at midnight for $645 per couple (or $190 per person without the room).
NEW YEARS DAY HANGOVER FIXES
Freebirds World Burrito's 2nd Annual Hangover Brunch 3735 Greenbriar, 713-524-0621 The Shepherd Plaza location's 2nd Annual Hangover Brunch vows to ease the pain of late-night revelry with a full menu, $2 mimosas, Bloody Marys, draft beer, and margaritas, and live music by various artists throughout the day. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hugo's 1600 Westheimer, 713-524-7744 Restore equilibrium with Hugo's El Buffet que te Vuelve a la Vida -- Spanish for "New Year's Day Return to Life Brunch." $27 adults / $10 children.
James Coney Island's Ten for $10 Multiple locations The locally based hot dog chain is celebrating it's 89th year in business with "the best doggone deal in town" -- ten James Coney Island Original Hot Dogs (with or without cheese) for $10 from open to close on January 1, 2012. Guess we'll have to start our diet on January 2.
Rainbow Lodge 2011 Ella Boulevard, 713-861-8666 Rainbow Lodge's New Year's Day brunch includes an a la carte menu brimming with auspicious fodder, $7 Bloody Marys, $10 Grapefruit Martinis, and Mimosas for only 99 cents. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Original Ninfa's on Navigation 2704 Navigation Boulevard, 713-228-1175 Start off 2012 with a day of Tex-Mex and football, on-view all day in Ninfa's enclosed patio. Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on New Year's Day, serving regular menu.
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Quattro - Four Seasons Houston Hotel 1300 Lamar, 713-276-4700 Quattro's New Year's Day "Detox" brunch seeks to rectify the damage done the night before with fresh juices, a raw bar, and herbal infusions. $55 per person / $22.50 children.
RA Sushi New Year's Industry Remix Party 3908 Westheimer, 713-621-5800 For many of our friends in the restaurant and bar industries, New Year's Eve is just another day at the office. For those planning on spending December 31 waiting on everyone else -- or those that feel the best cure for a hangover is to never stop drinking -- RA Sushi's Highland Village location offers a second night of celebration the following day. The party kicks off at 8 p.m. on January 1 with DJ music, drink specials starting at $3, and select sushi, appetizers and tapas from $2 - $7 in the Flying Fish Lounge.