Staying in New York for Christmas? Greatest feeling in the world, isn't it? Perhaps the only greater feeling is knowing you don't even have to bother cooking. To that end, here are a number of last-minute dining options for those of you who just suddenly said, "The hell with it, why toil in the kitchen when I could spend the day viddying classic Christmas DVDs, like Die Hard?"
The festive Commerce in the West Village is offering a menu to cover all the bases: Potato Latkes with Smoked Salmon and Creme Fraiche for Channukah or an Italian “Seven Fishes” Christmas feast served in two courses. The superb chef Harold Moore will also be dishing out his winter favorites, Christmas Goose with sweet potato and red cabbage and Traditional Roast Beef with Yorkshire pudding and roasted potatoes. For the first time, Commerce will also be adding Stollen, a German Christmas bread speckled with dried fruits and nuts, to their legendary bread basket.
Upper West Side American restaurant Compass is doing a three course Christmas Day dinner for $45. You can choose from appetizers like Cauliflower Soup and Lobtser & Heirloom Salad, entrees such as Alaskan King Salmon and Braised Beef Short Rib and desserts including Chocolate Coconut Cake and an Eggnog Pot de Crème.
For more casual Christmas Eve eaters, check out Chef Mathieu Palombino at Motorino, the Neopolitan pizzaria located in the East Village and Brooklyn, with pizza "that is light, soft and flavorful with a crust that is airy, thick and slightly charred," from 11am until 1am. The Village location also just started delivering!
If you aren't looking for an especially yuletidey time, Brooklyn Bowl is presenting their first annual Matzah Bowl, a Christmas Eve "tribal" music festival and holiday party featuring a cavalcade of bands all night, including Israeli rockers Days Like Months and Pey David, and an array of menus from local Kosher restaraunts, as well as all the bowling specials you can imagine.
Loreley Restaurant and Biergarten on Rivington will be serving a German "Ex-Pat" Christmas Eve lunch & dinner from noon till closing - three courses plus a half-liter of beer or glass of mulled Glühwein for $38. Diners will enjoy German specialties such as Eisbein (pork shank) or Sauerbraten (beef roast), Grilled Fillet Mignon with beer-braised brussels sprouts, as well as Stollen (a traditional Christmas cake) and Apple Strudel.
For an authentic hearty Italian Christmas spread on the actual day, Beppe is serving a 4-course $95 prix-fixe menu all day on Christmas, including the traditional tasting of seven fish, and whole duck roasted with Orange and Spice, served over Soft Polenta.
Piccola Cucina in SoHo will be offering a 6-course modern Sicilian menu by native chef/owner Philip Guardione for Christmas Eve Dinner, featuring scallops with black truffles, sole with citrus and rabbit with fresh herbs, as well as pistachio semifreddo with chocolate sauce ($75).
If you're in the Financial District, do give the elegant yet reasonably priced Sho Shaun Hergatt a whirl. On Christmas they're serving a la carte or prix-fixe menus for lunch from 12-2, and dinner from 5-10, from their "modern French, Asian-accented menu."
Emporio tantalizingly offers a "decadent" prix fixe menu on Christmas Eve "as you gaze into the winter sky through the restaurant’s custom glass atrium." Choices on the menu include braised beef and prosciutto tortellini and the roasted sunchoke soup, for $55 a person, all served with a complimentary glass of Champagne with burrata and winter truffle crostino.
The Oak Room at the Plaza is offering a Christmas Eve $110 prix fixe dinner (5:30 p.m.-9 p.m.) for three-courses, including selections like Miso Glazed Virginia Ham, Lobster Pot Pie and Goose "A L'Orange." There is also Christmas three-course brunch (12 p.m.-8 p.m.) with offerings like Lobster Eggs Benedict and Bagel Crusted Scottish Salmon.
Family-style Italian favorite Carmine's (Theater District and Upper West Side) has specials on Christmas Day and Eve in addition to their regular menu: Marinated Seafood Salad (Shrimp, scallops, scungili, calamari and octopus in lemon olive oil and fresh herbs served over field greens) at $26, Chilean Sea Bass Cipino (Chilean sea bass, sea scallops, clams and mussels in a tomato-fennel broth) $48.50, and a Roasted Rack of Lamb (two full racks of lamb over roasted vegetables and potatoes served with rosemary sauce) at $60.50.
Family-style Chinese food is on the menu at Macao Trading Co. on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For $65 per person, you can try soup dumplings with local heritage breed pork, sea salt roasted Kumamotos, Maine lobster curry and braised beef short rib.
Austrian restaurant Klee Brasserie is featuring some special dishes on Christmas Eve, such as a Creamless Roasted Chestnut Soup (with Porcini mushroom schnitzel croutons), a Charred Pennsylvania Venison (accompanied by Winter root vegetable pot roast, black walnuts and quince chutney) and a Green Market Pear & Chocolate Strudel (served with pine cone ice cream and mint distillate).
Patsy's Italian Restaurant on West 56th Street is serving its Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner ($59.95 per person) through Christmas Eve. The feast includes a choice of Calamari Salad or Baccala Salad; a half-order of Linguini with Frutti Di Mare Sauce; and a choice of Shrimp Scampi, Stuffed Calamari, Shrimp Fra Diavolo, or Tilapia Livornese. Then, for dessert, there's either homemade Strufoli (honey balls) or homemade Biscotti.
And David Burke's Fishtail is also offering an Italian feast of the seven fishes dinner on Christmas Eve. For $55, the five courses will include dishes such as oysters Rockefeller, tuna crudos, angry linguine with littleneck clams & Mayan prawns, and roasted branzino.