Many people find the New Year's Eve kiss awkward. So why bother stressing over it? Instead, worry about reservations. That's our biggest concern this time of year. Charleston's reservation roulette is a game we're not interested in playing Dec. 31. So, here are eight suggestions for NYE dinners based on your style. (Note: this list is not comprehensive. Share your NYE dinner recommendations with us online.)
Ready for Adventure?
149 Wentworth St.
Six-course prix fixe
$125 per person excluding gratuity and tax, cost includes a complimentary glass of champagne
If you feel like 2014 was lacking in the travel department, might we suggest a culinary journey courtesy of Executive Chef Mark Collins of Circa 1886. The first course: Samoa. Collins will dish up Suafa'i, a Samoan banana coconut soup. By the second course, guests will be whisked to Japan for a Kobe beef salad with Fuji apple purée. Then it's off to Greece for sous vide swordfish with olives, lemon, horta vrasta, and Greek yogurt. By the fifth course you'll be lounging in Jamaica, enjoying jerk pork loin with coconut and pineapple yucca hash. And before you know it, you'll be back home with an all-American dessert spread of cornbread pudding, peach cobblestone cobbler, "Snickers" bar, and salted caramel.
Shake it Off with Sushi
463 King St.
If this past year didn't go quite as you had anticipated, pull a T-Swift and shake it off at O-Ku. The sushi restaurant is offering not just dinner, but dancing, the prime way to let your 2014 stress go. Enjoy a special dinner menu, then, at 11 p.m., work the dance floor to the sounds of DJ Jake B. Guests will enjoy passed hors d'oeuvres and a champagne toast at midnight.
Low-key with a View
Vickery's Bar & Grill
1313 Shrimp Boat Lane
$33 per person, $62 for two, $12 for bottle of Barefoot Brut Cuvée bubbly
For a coastal city, we're short on waterfront restaurants. And that's a shame considering what an ocean view can do to top off an evening. Get your sea and starlight on — and at a reasonable price — at Vickery's. The Shem Creek restaurant is offering a $62-for-two deal that includes four courses: shrimp bisque or a garden or caesar salad, baby lump crab cakes, prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, and strawberry creme brûlée. For an additoinal $12 you can add a bottle of Barefoot Brut Cuvée.
An Affair to Remember
6 Payne St.
$100 per person four-course prix fixe
We can't think of many more romantic places to greet 2015 than Chez Nous. The house itself could qualify as an aphrodisiac: cozy corners (which necessitates whispering), candlelit (who doesn't look better in dim light?), and French (just pronounce all the dishes with a heavy accent and you're guaranteed to up your appeal). For the occasion the restaurant will be offering a four-course dinner. Owner Patrick Panella wouldn't reveal the details, but says it will include some special items, like a cheese course. There will be six different seating times.
Down-home haute cuisine
76 Queen St.
$65 per person three-course prix fixe
Surprisingly, one of the most affordable fine dining NYE menus we've seen is from arguably the city's most well-known restaurant. Husk is offering a three-course prix fixe menu for $65 with an optional wine pairing for $35. If you're looking to wow out-of-town guests who have read about this landmark in INSERT FAVORITE FOOD MAGAZINE HERE: ________, then perhaps this is the ticket.
112 N. Market St.
$90-$160 per person
If you're looking to really show your date you're a baller, Peninsula Grill is the place. The price goes up depending on the reservation time — 9:30 p.m. maxes out at $160 and really would you go any earlier? Not if you want to be in your cups by the stroke of 12. Of course, that's going to take a bottle of wine or two considering the considerable menu Peninsula is laying out: grilled filet of beef with (yes, with) butter-poached lobster, roasted domestic lamb, North Carolina speckled trout ... and those are just the entrée options.
Creative and Cozy
Two Boroughs Larder
186 Coming St.
$150 per person, tickets must be purchased before 12 p.m. on Tuesday Dec. 30
Where else can you get raw bison with juniper and pine? If sophisticated cooking in a cozy, off-the-main-drag path is what you're looking for, you can do no better than Two Boroughs Larder. There, James Beard-nominated Chef Josh Keeler will serve a seven-course dinner paired with five wines. In addition to the bison, expect fermented vegetables with buttermilk, aged capon, slow-cooked steelhead trout, charcoal-roasted ribeye, and perhaps the most unique dish we've seen on a New Year's Eve menu: kouign-amann — a Breton cake — with sunchokes and white chocolate.