Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, or what have you, there is always a good reason to dive into a plate of roasted venison or sip a cup of mulled wine this time of year.
Start the celebrating early at the Basque restaurant Txikito in Chelsea. There, from December 19 through the 21 they are celebrating Saint Thomas, or Santo Tomas, with a special feast. In Basque country, usually they parade a pig around town that later gets raffled off. Since letting livestock loose is illegal in the city, Txikito will be offering three suckling pig feasts instead. You can also indulge in customary dishes including Talo Con Txistorra Casera, or tortillas with homemade paprika and sausage.
For a feast closer to Christmas, there is no better place to get in the holiday spirit than at the Rock Center Café. Not only can you ice skate and ogle the tree, but you can chase it with a $69 holiday feast including lobster bisque, braised short rib with pumpkin polenta, and New York-style cheesecake. Over at The John Dory Oyster Bar, chef de cuisine Josh Even has taken Christmas dinner and done it British style with his take on the feast of seven fishes. For $85 this includes a rich seafood stew and chorizo-stuffed squid, or, you can forgo the prix fixe and order a la carte.
On Christmas Eve, chef Ben Pollinger at Oceana also is doing a feast of the seven fishes with plates of roast Maine lobster and caviar, Arctic Char with fennel and a razor clam vinaigrette, and gingerbread panna cotta, all for $95 or $145 with wine pairing.
Now, if game meat is what you crave, you can get it at Tocqueville. There, chef Marco Moreira serves spice-crusted venison loin, house-made sausage, glazed chestnuts, and an array of hot cocktails to warm you for the holiday. The meal, sans drinks, runs $95 per person on Christmas Day.
Finally, to round out the full holiday dining experience, Takashi is open for their usual dinner hours, and offer a take on the traditional Jewish feast for Christmas—Asian cuisine. True, usually it’s Chinese food that makes the scene, but up the ante here, and celebrate at this West Villageyakiniku with a make-your-own cow blood pancake with apple cider butter or the seven-day miso-marinated grilled sweetbreads with saffron risotto.
No matter how you do it, these are all bloody great starts to 2013.