There is an old saying that whatever you are doing on New Year’s Eve is a symbol of what your coming year will be. Should you find yourself working, vacationing, laughing, loving or all of the above, get ready for the prosperity to insue (let’s not even think of the converse). So if this saying is true, I want to be with people I love, eating and (moderately) imbibing when the clock strikes midnight and the 365-day countdown begins yet again.
Having had a dynamite time last year in Harlem dining, we decided not to fix what ain’t broke. We took this party for two to Lido (@LidoHarlemNYC, 2168 Frederick Douglass Blvd.) for four courses of Italian morsels and a ten count to 2015.
Dressed to the nines, we headed out into the last hours of 2014 ready to celebrate. Lido was ready for us, too, as well as the other hundred diners in the late seating. We had a pole-position table in the middle of the festive restaurant.
Before we knew it, our server emerged with her facinator hat perched to the side of her head. We started with two glasses of sparkling rose before our first course arrived: chicken liver pate with dried figs and walnuts, served with crostini and housemade ricotta crostino with truffle mushrooms and fried sage. Both were a great start.
Not too soon after the first-course plates were cleared came the pasta course. I fought with myself against getting my favorite truffle gnocchi with guanciale and opted for the seasonal pumpkin ravioli with pinenuts, parmesan and balsamic glaze. He got the housemade pasta with rabbit ragu.
His pasta was gone lickedy split, but I was savoring mine to enjoy every bite, and to slow the service down. I think the staff might have still been wound up from the early seating and trying to get everyone out by the second seating. A neighboring table agreed with the new pace.
After a break, two more glasses of rose and then a bottle, our main dishes came out. We both ordered the petite filet with root vegetable gratin and brussel sprouts. While the dishes were both cooked perfectly medium-rare, the presentation was a little sloppy. The sauce was thin and unflavorful, and I am not a fan of rutabega/turnip, which was used for the gratin. I should have gone with my first choice of seafood risotto.
Finally, with about 20 minutes to spare in 2014, the desserts befell our table. I ordered the aptly titled “No Resolutions” sundae of gingerbread cake with maple and vanilla ice creams, caramel and chocolate sauces and whipped cream. There is no shade of wrong to that, but I was having dessert envy over his lemon pistachio semifreddo with blackberries. The bright and rich texture of that frozen lemon mousse balanced well with the crunchy, creamy green taste of the pistachios. I will return for this one or make it myself soon.
Champagne, hats and horns are passed out … 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … Happy New Year!
There, another great New Year’s Eve is in the annals! There is something to be said about dressing up and sitting down to a nice meal that finishes with a champagne toast and a kiss.
I hope your New Year’s Eve celebration was filled with visions and projections for a prosperous 2015.
Happy New Year (again), happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations? Email her at kysha@iSCHOP.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl or on Facebook www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc. For even more recipes, tips and food musings, subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com.