Best NYC Restaurants for Thanksgiving Dinner
It's that time of year again when the Thanksgiving dinner plans are slowly coming into focus. Do you have a certain family member or friend who every year makes a fantastic meal and invites you to come? Congratulations! You are totally set. But for those of us whose annual feast varies from year to year, and you're thinking of maybe going the restaurant route–which, by the way, can be a welcome reprieve from the usual home gathering, not to mention a delicious one–now is definitely the time to grab a reservation. Just like we did for Thanksgiving 2013, here are just a few of the many, many restaurants in town who are serving special Thanksgiving menus.
The hottest ticket in town on the 27th will be at Chef Wylie Dufresne's "house" on Clinton Street, wd-50, which is not only one of New York City's best restaurants (a fact to which I can personally attest), but is also an landmark of modernist cooking technique. Which makes it sound a lot less fun than it actually is. As you've probably heard, after a glorious 11-year run, Dufresne is shutting down wd-50 at the end of the month, but not before serving two-weeks-worth of special, ticketed dinners, one of which, of course, falls on Thanksgiving. For $85, Dufresne and crew will cook you and yours wd-50's traditional Thanksgiving "family (aka staff) meal", three courses and all the fixin's, and they're sending everyone home with a "leftover" turkey sandwich.
Rosemary's is one of the prettiest restaurants in the West Village–which, considering this neighborhood is the world capital of pretty places, is saying a lot–and so seems like a sure bet to serve up a Thanksgiving feast in cozy, holiday-satisfying style. More important, based on a recent visit during which I gorged on the "seasonal Italian" creations of Chef Wade Moises, the food at Rosemary's remains first-rate, even after some two and a half years of dealing with packed houses nearly every night. Still plenty of love back there in the kitchen. Anyway, Thanksgiving at Rosemary's will set you back $70 per person (half that for kids), and the menu includes Cavatelli with Butternut Squash; Turkey "alla pugliese" with Maple Gravy; Kale and Pomegranate Slaw; Chestnut "in Crosta"; and Pumpkin Tiramisu.
Have a Daniel Boulud Thanksgiving!
Chef and restaurateur extraordinaire Daniel Boulud is transforming almost his entire NYC empire into a kind of Thanksgiving party central, with special prix-fixe menus taking over several of his most beloved spots. On the Upper West Side, you'll find seasonal delights like Squash Gnocchi and Pumpkin Custard at the meat-centric Bar Boulud (three courses, plus a side, for $70), and the Mediterranean-inspired Boulud Sud (three for $85). Across the Park, Upper East Siders can get in on the action at the classically elegant Cafe Boulud, where three course will set you back $125 and you can dine on the likes of Striped Bass "en Paupiette" and Wild Mushroom Risotto if you don't feel like turkey (which, by the way, sounds great here, served with chestnut-ciabatta stuffing). And for those of you who'd rather celebrate in a more raucous, downtown fashion, Boulud's DBGB will stuff you silly for $60 with more casual (but no less skillfully prepared) fare like Butternut Squash Soup, Alsatian Apple Tart, and The Gobbler Burger, which is topped with, among other things, toasted pumpkin seeds and cranberry ketchup.
Or have a Jean-Georges Thanksgiving instead!
The Jean-Georges family of acclaimed restaurants also have several special prix-fixe menus in the offing come Thanksgiving. The Mark, Jean-George's ultra-classy spot on the Upper East Side, will be serving a three-course feast for $128 (children can get two courses for $75), featuring traditional dishes like Roasted Turkey with Foie Gras and Chestnut Stuffing as well as traditional-ish ones such as Fresh Angel Hair Pasta with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts. Meanwhile, at Jean-Georges's brilliant Perry Street in the West Village, there will be a four-course Thanksgiving meal on offer beginning at 11:30 in the morning. No choices here, but your $98 will get you Scallop Tartare with Black Truffle, Seared Sea Bass, Roasted Turkey with Crispy Stuffing, and an as-yet-undisclosed dessert. And in Soho, at Mercer Kitchen, the same price will get a different four-course fixed meal, featuring Tuna Tartare, Skuna Salmon, Roaste Turkey, and a similarly mysterious dessert. Maybe do lunch at one, dinner at the other, and compare??
Remember when Freemans opened ten (!) years ago, and it was this really cool secret spot at the end of sketchy-seeming alley off Bowery? Yeah, that was fun. But even though Taavo Somer and William Tigertt's "Colonial American Tavern" has been full mainstream for some time now, the place is still interesting and sceney and the food's still really good, so it's likely that Thanksgiving at Freemans is a solid bet. Menu details are a little scant right now, but we do know that they'll be serving four courses of traditional Thanksgiving dishes (turkey, stuffing, veggies, pies) for $80. And, of course, there will be ample opportunity to sample one (or three) of Freemans' signature cocktails, like the Rose Tattoo, with rye, cognac, Bénédictine, Carpano Antica, and bitters.
Finally, Michael White's Ai Fiori, one of NYC's best Italian restaurants (one star from Michelin; three from the Times) pulls out all the stops every Thanksgiving, and this year appears to be no exception. The four course dinner at White's elegant-but-lively Midtown place will set you back $110, but you can choose from the likes of Agnolotti stuffed with braised veal, butternut squash purée, brown butter, sage, and black truffle sugo; Capesante, or pan seared sea scallops, served with beluga lentils, baby carrots, and pancetta; and a Caramel Apple Confit with brown butter, cider, and vanilla gelato. Buon Giorno del Ringraziamento!
Posted in NYC Dining, Top Picks | Tagged Ai Fiori • Bar Boulud • Best of • Best Restaurants • Boulud Sud • Daniel Boulud • Freeman's • Jean-Georges • Mark Restaurant • November • PErry Street • Rosemary's • Thanksgiving • Thanksgiving 2014 • wd-50