We sifted through the inevitable landslide of New Year's Eve offerings to see what some of L.A.'s most exciting dining destinations are doing for the end of the year. Among the highlights capping off 2012 is a meal at Michael Voltaggio's Ink. inspired by Salvador Dali's French cookbook, dishes of elk at Josie Le Balch's place, bottomless bubbly and endless sliders at Umami Burger, new dishes at Picca and M.B. Post, and a six-course prix-fixe at Red Medicine. Plan your last meal of the year now with a look at Grub Street's guide to eleven of the most worthy offers available on December 31.
A.O.C.: Suzanne Goin's wine bar restaurant is having a final blowout at its original space before moving to the former home of Il Covo. Coinciding with the restaurant's birthday, Goin is throwing a pig roast, featuring two seatings, one at 6:30 for $95, another at 9:00 P.M. for $125, both with $40 wine pairings on offer. Four courses include prosciutto and coppa with smoked ricotta, scallops with cornbread chorizo stuffing, sherry, and chanterelles, and a roast suckling pig with butterball potatoes, caramelized apples and quince, spicy romesco, fried sage, and chestnuts. Bittersweet chocolate tart with Santa Barbara pistachios for dessert. 323-653-6359 for reservations.
Church & State: Executive chef Tony Esnault is planning a true French celebration with four and six-course prix-fixe menus tailored to both vegetarians and omnivores. Dishes include lobster and chestnut soup, gravlax with pink peppercorns, seared John Dory, and canard à l’orange. Prices are $70 for a four-course menu at the first seating, from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M., and $95 for six-courses from 8:30-10:45 P.M. Wine pairings are available, as well, with reservations at 213-405-1434.
Ink.: Michael Voltaggio and Ink. chef de cuisine Cole Dickinson have an ambitious New Year's plan to cook a twelve-course menu inspired by Salvador Dali's 1973 "Les Diners de Gala" cookbook. Priced at $150 per person, with $75 wine pairings, dishes could include cauliflower with roquefort and peacock l'Imperiale dressed and surrounded by its Court." Seatings are offered from 6:00 to 10:00 P.M., with reservations at 323-651-5866.
Jar: Suzanne Tracht and Preech Narkthong are opening the doors at 5:30 P.M. for an a la carte celebration featuring a few new dishes and the promise of "party favors." New additions include Shanghai noodles with Nantucket bay scallops and thyme cream, shrimp and pork dumplings with matsutake broth, roasted lobster tail with purple yam, and a $42 veal chop with truffles and truffle butter. 323-655-6566.
Josie: Josie LeBalch's Santa Monica restaurant is holding two seatings for menus that include elk meat. The first seating, from 5:30-7:30 P.M., features an the chef's regular la carte menu, including elk specials, while the second, from 9:15 to 10:30 P.M., features a fixed $125 four-course menu with dishes like elk ragu over soft polenta, elk chops, lobster bisque, and pumpkin gnocchi, along with a complimentary glass of Champagne. Reservations at 310-581-9888.
M.B. Post: For the end of 2012, chef David LeFevre is offering his standard menu, along with seven new dishes like Thai coconut shellfish soup with mussels and shrimp, a saikyo-miso black cod, steamed Atlantic lobster with fennel and Pernod butter, and white oak grilled lamb chops. 310-545-5405.
Picca: Ricardo Zarate's Beverly Hills destination for elevated Peruvian cuisine is offering two seatings, one from 6:00 to 7:00 with a $95 eight-course menu and wine pairing, and another from 9:30 to 10:30 P.M. priced at $120 with a $25 wine pairing. Served family-style, dishes include black tiger shrimp tartare, pisco shooters, Peruvian paella, and filet mignon anticucho. DJs will fill the space between the two seatings, with a $40 open bar party offered at 10:30 P.M. 310-277-0133. Zarate's Mo-Chica is also holding a family-style dinner with two seatings and a family-style prix-fixe for $95.
Red Medicine: Jordan Kahn's Vietnamese-inspired Beverly Hills restaurant is serving a six-course menu from 6:00 to 11:00 P.M., featuring dishes like kaffir lime-cured Nantucket Bay scallops, charred uni with cauliflower custard, Dungeness crab spring rolls, and his esteemed dessert, coconut bavarois, and a milk chocolate cream served in a crispy devil's food "cage." Reservations at 323-651-5500.
Tasting Kitchen: Casey Lane is planning a six-course prix-fixe for $100, with optional menus for vegetarians and pescaterians. Wine director François Renaud will compliment dinner with a $45 pairing of European wines. Lane will riff on Old World recipes with dishes like porcini crudo with ricotta salata, saffron arancini with gold flakes, beef brasato with gnocchi, black truffle, breadcrumbs, and vin santo onions, and a prosecco sundae. 310-392-6644.
Umami Burger: From 6:00 to 10:00 P.M., Downtown's Umamicatessen, along with specific locations of Umami Burger, will offer bottomless Champagne and all-you-can-eat sliders for $45.
Waterloo & City: Brendan Collins' bastion of British cooking in Culver City is offering a $60 three-course dinner from 5:00 to 7:30 P.M. and an $80 four-course dinner is served from 8:00 to 10:00 P.M., featuring choices like potted rougie liver with Moscato jelly and toasted brioche, pan-seared bass, roast pheasant pie with pomegranate molasses, 30-day dry-aged steak, truffle cavatelli, hamachi with nam jim, yuzu, fennel, and basil, veal shank hot pot, and baked Alaska. 310-391-4222.
Wherever you choose to be, have a happy and safe New Year's Eve!