Just as every New Year has potential for peace and prosperity, every New Year's Eve has potential for glamour and coolness. Cocktails, hors d'oeuvres on passing trays, candlelight, people around a table.
This brings great hope and anticipation to those of us who somehow manage to spill red wine on ourselves, or sport the dregs of a spinach puff in our teeth, or something equally uncool, every year.
Well, you can't say Triangle restaurants aren't doing their part for coolness. Here's a surely incomplete list of planned New Year's Eve festivities. Make your reservations NOW; they are required for all the events mentioned. Have fun, and be safe.
In Raleigh: The Mint (219 Fayetteville St., 821-0011, themintrestaurant.com) will serve a four-course meal for $65 per person, alcohol not included. For the main course, newly promoted Chef Eric Foster plans your choice of black grouper with parsnip, beets, citrus and leeks, or pork chops with black-eyed peas and collard greens in a sorghum jus. Three seatings are planned: 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Zely & Ritz (301 Glenwood Ave., Suite 100, 828-0018, www.zelyandritz.com) will serve a three-course meal, including a glass of champagne, for $50 per person (or $65, depending on the time). Its main-course choices are pan-seared North Carolina bass over a root-vegetable risotto with herb sauce, hearty duck and sausage cassoulet with beans and dried cherries, and a slow-roasted ribeye with creamy mashed potatoes, sautéed greens and roasted garlic and thyme sauce.
The three-course dinner at Enoteca Vin (410 Glenwood Ave., Suite 350, 834-3070, www.enotecavin.com) is $55 per person, and the restaurant will also provide a bar menu for "those who would like to pop in for a glass of wine." The main course is a choice among brown butter scallops with blood oranges, wilted frisee and beets; braised osso bucu with saffron risotto and pearl onions; or filet au poivre with rutabaga puree and creamed spinach.
In Apex, Peak City Grill and Bar (126 N. Salem St., 303-8001, www.thepeakcitygrill.com) plans two seatings (6 and 8 p.m.), each with five courses for $60 per person, or $75 with wine pairings. The fifth course is vanilla-scented beignets served with coffee ice cream, Bailey's caramel sauce and berries. Lovely, lovely.
In Durham, Rue Cler and Pop's are offering gastronomic trips to Europe. Rue Cler (401 E. Chapel Hill St., 682-8844, www.ruecler-durham.com) plans "An Evening in the Loire," with three courses plus an amuse bouche for $35. Rue Cler's regular prix fixe menu will be available as well. Pop's (810 W. Peabody St., 956-7677, www.pops-durham.com) will feature "A Night in Tuscany": also three courses for $35. Pop's regular menu will not be available, but choices for children will be.
In Chapel Hill, Bonne Soiree (431 W. Franklin St., Suite 10, 928-8388) will have only one seating. Meaning, if you reserve a table, no matter what time you arrive, it's yours for the rest of the year. You'll be served a chef's tasting menu that has yet to be finalized, with paired wines.
Know about a fun food happening in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at firstname.lastname@example.org.