Greeting the new year with rolls from Red Sushi Grill.
New Year's Eve. So much pressure. Let's say you were supposed to get reservations for Sujeo's pork and oyster extravaganza, or to Chez Nanou's intimate French meal -- but by the time you picked up the phone, they were booked. Or maybe you're just not the type for locked-in all-inclusives. Or was your 2014 not so hot and you want it forgotten and gone? What to do?
It's still possible to step out on the last night of the year, not have a reservation, and duck in somewhere with a scene that's sane. You'll even have a great meal. Then, sated, watch the ball drop at home.
Red Sushi will likely be populated with like-minded folks, because this King Street spot always feels celebratory. Go big with a couple of high-end rolls or, better yet, the chef's-choice sashimi; then slip back home to eat ice cream in bed. Take that, 2014!
There's something spa-like about Sol's On the Square, a quiet and unassuming Korean restaurant that packs a punch with perfectly executed bibimbap and more. Feast on the elegant cuisine and enter a kimchi-induced coma that will release you from the headaches of a long year.
Feel like ending the final hours of 2014 by hiding out in a cozy booth? Paisan's is the spot for the world-weary (or just the NYE-insanity-averse). The famous Porta salad, a pizza and a pitcher of sangria is the ticket to comfort heaven.
Likewise, both west- and east-side locations of Imperial Garden are cavernous enough to offer a booth tucked away in a corner. Feast on sizzling rice soup, moo goo gai pan and princess prawns. And, who knows, afterwards you may find a fortuitous message in your cookie.
If you like a bit of heat with your bah humbug, the dinner combination for two at Swagat in the Sauk Point shopping center is a must. With both a meat-intensive and a vegetarian version, this is a no-hassle, celebratory feast of samosas and masalas. Why tune in to New York when you can watch a sweet, cheesy ball of gulab jamun drop?
The burger. If the monster at Players Sports Bar in Schenk's Corners were any bigger or deliciously goopier, it would have to be served with a knife and fork. It's legendary -- if you haven't eaten one yet this year, New Year's Eve is your night. And then work off the calories playing at the ping pong table.
Make 2015 better the moment it begins -- finish this year by planning a trip to Greece while sitting at Plaka Taverna on East Wilson Street. There's convenient travel guide material dotted around the restaurant -- sure, some may be outdated, but does the Parthenon change? Dive into a tasty, inexpensive gyro and pop a few dolmas for auld lang syne.