We like to call it amateur night, this occasion known as New Year’s Eve. People who don't usually go out find themselves drawn to head out and party, and they make the rest of us want to stay in. But we've found a handful of restaurants that make us want to break our never-again rule: In creating menus just for this particular night, these homegrown places have us eager to toast a fond farewell to 2010.
At Taverna in downtown Fort Worth, the evening's special menu is priced a la carte. Starters include lobster bisque ($9) and lobster salad ($15.95); first courses include risotto with roasted butternut squash and baby shrimp ($27.95); and the surf-and-turf entree is roasted colossal shrimp with filet medallions,caramelized shallots, wild mushroom ragu and sides of scalloped potatoes and broccoli rabe. Call 817-885-7502.
At Buttons, chef Keith Hicks rolls out a menu to go with 70s Disco Funk music and dancing. It's a $30 fee for entertainment, champagne toast at midnight, a late-night breakfast buffet that includes black-eyed peas and plenty of live music until 2 a.m. Call 817-735-4900.
In Grapevine, Ferrari’s Italian Villa offers an a la carte deal, including flash-fried calamari, shrimp and banana peppers ($14), buffalo mozzarella-tomato-basil salad ($11), old-fashioned lasagna ($18), Chilean sea bass topped with crab ($32) and bone-in rib eye ($40), among many, many choices.
Head up to Roanoke for The Classic Cafe's special four-course menu for $65, starting with yellow fin tuna crudo, continuing with choices of smoked lobster bisque or mixed greens salad with spiced pecans, cranberries and goat cheese, followed by a choice of seared duck breast or center-cut beef tenderloin, and a finish of marshmallow meringue-filled cream puff. Count on excellent wine recommendations from an interesting cellar. Book online or call 817-430-8185.
Out in Weatherford, the Wild Mushroom Steak House & Lounge offers seatings at 6 and 8:30 pm for a $65 menu (or $85 with wine pairings) that starts with escargot, fried oysters over baby spinach or big eye tuna; continues with a primer of salad or soup, followed by a choice of prime beef filet, Chilean sea bass or pan-roasted chicken; and ends with a pick of desserts. Book online or by calling 817-599-4935.
In Dallas's Oak Cliff neighborhood (not a long drive from Cowtown), Bolsa - a restaurant sourcing plenty of regional foods - has cooked up a special menu that includes roasted oysters ($14), white truffle flatbread with caviar ($16), "all damn day" French onion soup, $9, baby artichoke confit ($11), rabbit cassoulet ($27), pan-roasted halibut cheeks ($30) and Meyer lemon honey cake ($9). A glass of champagne is included and seatings start at 6 p.m. Call 214-367-9367.
Want an overnight? wander down to Glen Rose, where the charming Inn on the River has a New Year's Eve package that gives you a guest room (with comfy featherbed), a four-course dinner for two, champagne and black-eyed peas at midnight and, in the morning, a full breakfast for two. It's $230 for two people - a deal that tops all we've seen this season. Call 800-575-2101.