All those people who use the old “but I’m usually in bed before midnight” excuse to not go out to dinner on New Year’s Eve will have a tough time pulling that one this year. With statewide dining restrictions banning restaurants without outdoor seating from going past 10 p.m., this year everyone will have the opportunity to have a lovely dinner and be back home and in bed well before midnight, should they choose to be so lame.
If there was ever a year to celebrate the end of, it’s 2020. And to help you decide where to have your last meal, we have put together a few of our favorite spots offering special New Year’s Eve dining options. But whichever spot you choose, before you dig in, be sure to raise a glass to the promise of hope that comes with the dawning of a new year. May 2021 bring all of us health, healing and happiness. Cheers!
Chelsea Five Gastropub: An utterly breathtaking location with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean, Chelsea Five Gastropub is one of the best kept secrets in Atlantic City. Located in The Chelsea Tower at Tropicana Atlantic City, the Gastropub will offer a four-course prix fixe menu for $85. Selections include a lobster cheesecake, yellowfin tuna tacos, Chilean sea bass, filet mignon, maple whiskey salmon and Colorado lamb chops — and that’s before you hit dessert, which features a choice of Meyer lemon cheesecake, chocolate jubilee cake or a Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey crème brulee. A champagne toast is also included with the meal. For those not looking to do a prix fixe, an ala carte menu will be offered as well. Tropicana Atlantic City is located at 2831 Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Go to Tropicana.net.
Atlantic City Country Club: If it’s simple elegance you seek in your New Year’s Eve dining, Atlantic City Country Club is a fine choice. This year they will offer an ala carte menu from 4 to 10 p.m. featuring exciting and succulent options such as pistachio-encrusted seabass, a seven-spice prime rib, prosciutto-wrapped shrimp and rack of lamb, and more. A complimentary champagne toast will also be included with dinner. Atlantic City Country Club is located at 1 Leo Frasier Dr. in Northfield. Go to ACCountryClub.com for more info.
Faceoff on Tennessee Avenue: If you thought The Iron Room was a thing of the past, think again as the much-loved A.C. restaurant rises from its hibernation this New Year’s Eve to take on Rhythm & Spirits in what is likely to be the tastiest four-course culinary battle of all time.
Rhythm & Spirits: hosts the event, which will include selections from both restaurants on one incredible menu. Guests will select an option for each course, including such classic starters as Rhythm & Spirits’ salami toast and The Iron Room’s thick-cut bacon and udon mac & cheese. Entrees include roasted Scottish salmon, a 32-ounce porterhouse steak for two and a three-piece Southern fried chicken dinner with brie creamed spinach, and more. Each selection on the menu will have either the Iron Room or Rhythm & Spirits logo next to it, so you can see where your favorites came from. Of course in the end they all came from the creative culinary brain of Chef Kevin Cronin, but don’t let that spoil the fun. Cost is $50 per person, and wine pairings can be had for an additional $50 per person. Seatings are available at 6 and 8 p.m. Rhythm & Spirits is located at 129 S. Tennessee Avenue in Atlantic City. Go to RhythmAndSpirits.com.
Deauville Inn: The Deauville Inn’s waterside setting makes for a lovely experience no matter what time of year you are visiting, but for New Year’s Eve they have put together all the ingredients for a classy and elegant evening. Live piano from Robin Gazzarra will set the tone perfectly as you enjoy complimentary champagne to start the night. The menu is ala carte and includes mouth-watering options such as burrata, oysters Rockefeller, a 14-ounce prime New York strip steak and baked Maine lobster, among others. Deauville Inn is located at 201 Willard Road in Strathmere. Go to DeauvilleInn.com.
Beach Plum Farm: Awash in all the rustic, folksy charm you would expect from a dining establishment that is located inside an Amish barn on an active farm during the holidays, dining at Beach Plum is truly an enchanting experience. For their New Year’s Eve dinner, the Amish barn will be decked out in lights and decorations, and the literal farm-to-table menu is forever changing based on what meats, poultry and vegetables are freshest that morning, but you can be sure that Chef Wes Thompson will create an unforgettable feast to ring in 2021. Seating is at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $125 per person, and the event is BYOB. Beach Plum Farm is located at 140 Stevens St. in West Cape May. Go to BeachPlumFarmCapeMay.com.
Josie Kelly’s Public House: Josie Kelly’s seriously upped their culinary game when famed South Jersey Chef Michael Brennan joined their team earlier this year. Irish Pubs are fantastic, but rarely are they known for putting out Brennan’s level of cuisine, which gives Josie Kelly’s a real leg up on the competition. For New Year’s Eve he has come up with a five-course, prix-fixe menu with such standouts as crab and kohlrabi salad, white truffle risotto and butter-poached lobster tail. Desserts boast several options, including a pistachio panna cotta and a flourless chocolate cake. Being an Irish Pub and all, naturally they are celebrating the Irish New Year, which begins at 7 p.m. and works perfectly for both lining up with the Irish time zone and obeying the current COVID dining restrictions in our state. Cost is $100 per person. Josie Kelly’s is located at 908 Shore Road in Somers Point. Go to JosieKellys.com.
The Metropolitan: A trip to Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa always makes for an exciting night out, and for folks looking to play a few slots or a couple hands of blackjack after dinner, we think a lovely New Year’s Eve dinner just off the casino floor at The Metropolitan is the perfect place to start. Pleasantly casual without a lot of the over-the-top fanciness of some of the more high-end restaurants in the resort, The Metropolitan will offer its standard menu on New Year’s Eve, but they are dressing it up a bit with the addition of a surf-and-turf option that comes with a 4-ounce filet mignon and a 4-ounce lobster tail, plus grilled asparagus and roasted tri-colored fingerling potatoes for $26. Borgata is located at 1 Borgata Way in Atlantic City. Go to TheBorgata.com.
The Pier House: There is something beautifully peaceful about Cape May in the winter. The Victorian homes, empty beaches and quiet streets work together to form a cozy backdrop to a very different kind of evening than you might find in this same town in July. And a great spot for New Year’s Eve dinner in Cape May is at The Pier House. Part of the La Mer Resort, this oceanfront restaurant offers guests an exquisite four-course dining experience to celebrate the coming of 2021 in style. Menu highlights include oysters Rockefeller, beef Wellington and seared duck breast glazed with a honey and orange gastrique and accompanied by fingerling potatoes and seasonal vegetables. An equally impressive list of desserts features a variety of options such as a tuxedo mousse cake and vanilla bean crème brulee topped with an amaretto whipped cream. Cost is $85 per person. La Mer Beachfront Resort is located at 1317 Beachfront Ave., Cape May. For more info, go to CapeMayLaMer.com.