Monday, December 20, 2010

Eat right this Christmas Eve

This Christmas, leave the cooking up to the pros. Henry's End owner Mark Lahm shows off the Brooklyn Heights restaurant's stuffed quail with sour cherry reduction. Photo by Stefano Giovannini

By Michelle Manetti

Sure, Christmas Eve is one of the big “family nights” on the Gregorian calendar, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the family out to a great meal at one of the few borough restaurants that are open. Here’s our guide to the best Christmas Eve dining options (minus Chinese restaurants, which never seem to close):


In Bay Ridge, the seafood-renowned Pearl Room will be serving up a Christmas Eve menu that will live up to its reputation.

Guests can enjoy appetizers like crab cakes, baked clams and a seafood salad and entrees including lobster ravioli, penne a la vodka with a choice of chicken or shrimp and hummus-crusted Atlantic salmon, in an atmosphere as good as the food.

“All ages come here to celebrate,” said waitress Donna Somma. “We have a lot of couples and big families but it’s great because it’s a very safe environment, not rowdy at all. It’s classy.”

In Coney Island, Gargiulo’s is also planning on a big fish feast. Along with the number of pastas being offered for $10-$15, there will also be entrees like fried calamari, broiled lobster tails and shrimp racanati, ranging from $17-$35.

The Pearl Room [8201 Third Ave. at 82nd Street in Bay Ridge, (718) 833-666]; $52 plus tax. Seatings begin at 4 pm on Dec. 24. Also open Dec. 25. Reservations required. Gargiulo’s [2911 W. 15th St. between Mermaid and Surf avenues in Coney Island, (718) 266-4891]. Reservations required, last seating at 8:30 pm. Closed Dec. 25.


If you’re more of the meat and potatoes kind of family, Henry’s End in Brooklyn Heights has just what you’re looking for. And it’s not just the hearty winter fare that creates the holiday mood.

“We have very festive decorations in the restaurant,” said owner Mark Lahm. “Families come here to enjoy themselves in a calm and comfortable place.”

For a pre-fixed price of $60, diners choose from appetizers including a shaved Brussels sprout salad or stuffed quail in a Pinot Noir reduction, and entrees such as duck with spicy orange glaze and Buffalo hanger steak. A glass of sparkling wine and dessert is included.

In Marine Park, Salvi Restaurant will also be big on the land, serving chicken, veal and lamb dishes at a variety of prices, and Buckley’s Restaurant iwill be serving Christmas Eve dinner with a choice of 12 entrees, including its famous roast prime rib for $29.95.

Henry’s End [44 Henry Street between Cranberry and Middagh Streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 834-1776]; $60 plus tax. Reservations required. Closed Dec. 25; Salvi Restaurant [4420 Quentin Road between Flatbush Avenue and Hendrickson Street in Marine Park, (718) 252-3030]. Seatings at 6 pm and 8:30 pm on Dec. 24. Reservations required. Closed Dec. 25; Buckley’s Restaurant [2926 Avenue S at Nostrand Avenue in Marine Park, (718) 998-4222]; Reservations required. Open Dec. 24 from 5-9 pm. Closed Dec. 25.


If you’re looking to keep off the pounds this holiday season, the excellent Sun in Bloom in Park Slope wants to help.

“Raw living food and gluten free items are perfect for people who want to keep pounds off and feel light after their holiday meals,” said owner Aimee Follette. “Friends and family will be delighted by the pleasure of our dishes and feel lighter, energized, and healthy.”

This vegan restaurant is serving delicious treats like pumpkin-yam soup, three bean chili with gluten free corn bread, rosemary thyme stuffing and raw apple pie at a variety of prices. You won’t miss meat.

Sun in Bloom [460 Bergen St. between Fifth and Flatbush avenues in Park Slope, (718) 622-4303]. Open Dec. 24 from 8 am-3 pm. Reservations required. Take-out option is available. Closed Dec. 25.

All of the above

Can’t decide on what you want just yet? Two Williamsburg restaurants will be serving up a range of French and German holiday dishes for you to feast on.

Le Comptoir will be open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas, with specials including baked oysters with champagne sabayon, lobster salad, Beef Wellington, and even a foie gras tasting menu on both nights, as well as a lobster-heavy brunch on Christmas.

For more of a German spin, Loreley Williamsburg will be serving a special dinner on both Christmas Eve and Christmas. For $38, enjoy a three-course meal with a choice of grilled filet mignon or Eisbein (grilled pork shank) or Kartoffelgratin (vegetarian casserole), with a housemade apple strudel or traditional stollen cake for dessert. Drink it all down with a choice of beer or glass of mulled Glühwein. It’ll be the start of a new tradition.

Meanwhile, on Court Street in Carroll Gardens, Marco Polo is doing what it does best. Sticking with traditional Italian fish dishes, guests can enjoy appetizers like fried calamari for $13.95 and entrees such as “baccala alla livornese” which is dry codfish sautéed with potatoes, onions, capers and olives for $24.95.

Le Comptoir [251 Grand St. near Roebling Street in Williamsburg, (718) 486-3300], open Dec. 24 from 5-11 pm and Dec. 25 from noon-8 pm. Reservations recommended; Loreley Williamsburg [64 Frost St. near Meeker Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 599-0025]. Open from 5 pm-midnight for dinner. Reservations recommended; Marco Polo [345 Court St. at Union Street in Carroll Gardens, (718) 852-5015]. Reservations required. 


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