2022’s upon us. The past two years have been rough and tumble and tough so it’s time to look forward to some celebration. Time to get out and enjoy the night at a restaurant with food and music and party favors. Just being out and festive is welcome and think of those mandatory masks as one of the party favors. Being out and welcoming in the new year beats being landlocked and watching Anderson Cooper & Co. narrating from Times Square leading up to the 11:59 PM iconic ball drop. Let’s leave that to those who prefer to cater in, have takeout, or some form of shuteye.
There are those, mostly tourists, who brave the streets in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, starting in the early or late afternoon, where they stand and wait for the midnight ball drop. While it may be more fun or exciting than staying home, welcoming 2022 deserves celebration the old-fashioned way by going to a restaurant and partying with some noisemakers.
Since this is Manhattan - NY NY - you can be in the heart of it all yet without being a part of the madding crowd and the perfect spot is Dino Redzic’s, Paul Nicaj’s and Nick Krkuti’s Paul’s on Times Square restaurant in the Garden Hilton Hotel on 42nd St. just off Seventh Ave. and diagonally across from One Times Tower where there’s a spectacular view of the ball drop at midnight. You spend the evening listening to live DJ music, picking and choosing from the sumptuous five-course buffet - a raw bar with lobster tails, tiger shrimp, caviar, snow Alaskan crab legs, oysters; a carving station with a rack of lamb, prime filet mignon, roasted salmon, vegetables, salads, desserts. And at the appointed hour you step outside to the restaurant’s fourth floor terrace and see and hear the street life and watch the the ball drop with complimentary champagne in hand to welcome in the new year and then step back inside for an hour’s open bar.
That’s one kind of 42nd St NY NY New Year’s Eve. There’s another just cross town, also on 42nd St., where you can have an entirely different NY new year’s eve celebration, at Mirso Lekic’s Tudor City Steakhouse. It overlooks the UN and the East River. No tumult on the streets, just New Yorkers coming and going, some maybe to the steakhouse, others maybe to Times Square. If they’re making it to the steakhouse, they are in for a gala evening - a champagne toast, sit-down three-course dinner, with entree offerings including a Porterhouse steak for two, grilled salmon, pan-roasted duck breast medallions, filet mignon and appetizers, vegetables, salad, assorted desserts and a champagne toast - and dining to the live music of the Tony Middleton Trio - Tony singing, Kyoko Oyobe on piano, Kenji Oshitaki on bass. And then you’ll get to hear and maybe see the fireworks bursting and crackling from the nearby East River. Seating is indoors, outdoors on the covered patio and in the street shed which has come to signify outdoor dining, and on the bridge overlooking the river.
Although located just across town from Times Square (think the M42 when it’s not New Year’s Eve), Tudor City Steakhouse in its enclave above First Ave., is unlike Times Square in every way. So take your pick - Times Square or Tudor City. At either, you’ll be enjoying a quintessential NY New Year’s Eve at the crossroads of the world. Cheers and Happy New Year.
Paul’s Times Square, $400 pp, excluding drinks, tax and tip.
Tudor City Steakhouse, $155 pp, excluding drinks, tax and tip.