There's nothing more festive than hosting a big, home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner: your warm, delicious-smelling home filled with friends, family, loved ones, everybody jolly, children perfectly behaved, a game of touch football in the leaf-strewn back yard…. Nice, right?
But the reality is, some years it's even MORE nice to not have to do any work at all, to keep things low-key and just show up at one of the many great restaurants in town with special Thanksgiving menus, feast to your belly's content, no dishes to clean. If this is one of those eat-out years for you and yours, here are six suggestions to get you started:
Thanksgivukkah at Kutsher's Tribeca
As I'm sure you've heard, the first night of Hannukah falls on Thanksgiving this year, a confluence of holidays that won't happen again until 2070. No surprise, Kutsher's Tribeca, perhaps NYC's only "modern Jewish American bistro" is throwing a party, with a special multi-course, many-sided menu that includes Pumpkin Shlishkas and Challah Chestnut Stuffing. Adults pay $65, kids $48.
Jane Restaurant Thanksgiving
Full disclosure: the only time I've ever eaten Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant was about six or seven years ago at Jane on West Houston Street, and it was fantastic. Really, if it were up to me, this is where we'd go every year. The food was terrific, the servers friendly and fun, the whole scene festive. The 2013 Jane Thanksgiving menu includes such winners as Roasted Pumpkin Risotto and Pumpkin Pie in a Jar with roasted pepitas. Adults pay $55, kids $27.50.
Red Farm Thanksgiving
I know, I know…. Chinese food is more of a Christmas Day tradition here in NYC, but Red Farm's the hottest–and, more important, one of the best–restaurants right now on the Upper West Side, so if you're in the mood for a lively time AND lots of awesome dumplings, this might be the spot. No word yet on Red Farm's Thanksgiving specials, but last year Chef Ng cooked up such delights as a Peking Turkey and Tempura Yams. Here's the Red Farm site, but maybe follow them on Twitter for breaking Thanksgiving-menu news.
David Burke Townhouse Thanksgiving
For a more refined Thanksgiving experience, there's the elegant David Burke Townhouse on the Upper East Side. A three course dinner will set you back $85, but oh what choices you have! Warm Duck Confit and Spiced Cranberry Salad, The "Lobster Steak", Chocolate Pecan Pie…. sounds like a fine meal to me.
Candle 79 Vegan Thanksgiving
For vegetarians, vegans, and those who love them, the Upper East Side's Candle 79 offers a fabulous feast of veggie-based treats. This year's menu is not posted yet, but I hear it will set you back $79 per person for a multi-course meal. In years past they've served such dishes as Grilled Artichokes with haricots verts, Roasted Squash Soup with almond cream, Porcini Crusted Tofu, and a Cranberry, Fig, and Eggnog ice cream sampler. Keep your eyes on their Facebook page for updates, or just reserve your spot today.
Back Forty East and West Thanksgiving
Finally, there's one-two Thanksgiving extravaganzas at Peter Hoffman's pioneering farm-to-table spots, Back Forty East (in the East Village), and West (in Soho). I actually had a Christmas dinner at East one year, and can attest that they do it right, in that homey, family-style kind of way. East will cost you $60, West $65, and past menus looks amazing (Fried Brussels Sprouts Carbonara drizzled with Crispy Pancetta & Hollandaise, anyone? how about a Stuffed Delicata squash with Barley, Black Walnuts, Dried Cherries and Melted Manchego Cheese?). See for yourself!