It's happened again: The year has changed just after you got used to signing paperwork "2015." Time keeps slipping away. Sometimes, it's bad. Other times, it's nice to earmark a new phase. No matter which sentiment you hold for the closing annum, it's good to take a moment to savor the last moments, reflect on the past, and consider goals for the future. The best way to pause the clock: a killer dinner. From extravagant to wallet-friendly, here are the best places to eat, drink, and toast New Year's Eve 2016 in Broward County.
10. Ocean 2000 (2000 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-556-7667)
Sample six-courses steps above the sand. For $115 per person, Ocean 2000 at the Pelican Grand is featuring a special set menu to ring in New Year's 2016. It commences with an amuse bouche of blue crab and caviar, before moving onto cream of fennel soup with lobster dumpling. Appetizers are a pick among caramelized French Onion soup, swordfish crudo, and sweet potato gnocchi. There's a Champagne and strawberry gelée intermezzo, followed by the entrée courses: baked halibut, two-day short rib, or grilled lamb chops. Dessert is either dark chocolate cake or lemon cheesecake.
9. Kuro (1 Seminole Way, Hollywood; 954-585-5333)
Kuro, the modern kaiseki restaurant the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, is getting a lot of acclaim for its creative riffs on high-end Japanese dishes. This place is on the pricier side of Broward's dining spectrum; however, a meal here is worthy of special-occasion status. It's serving a memorable seven-course, family-style meal for $180 per person, including a seafood platter, soba salad, lobster tempura, roasted grouper, charcoal grilled Japanese Wagyu, Kuro sushi, and chestnut cake. The regular menu is available too, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Reservations are available between 5:30 and 11 p.m. Romina Gentilini is DJ'ing onsite throughout the night.
8. Burlock Coast (1 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-465-2300)
Try a Farmer's Feast Tasting Menu for $125 per person (excluding tax and gratuity) at the Ritz's glitzy new restaurant, Burlock Coast. Each meal includes a Champagne toast and access to the luxe afterparty in the Astor Lounge. The regular kids' menu will also be available. First course includes choice of Iberico jamon with black mission fig, Sans Andres, asparagus, and Zak’s baguette; striped marlin carpaccio with radish, fennel, pomegranate, citrus, and watercress; or crispy squash with fennel soubise, rainbow chard, confit squash, and honey. Lobster ravioli, scallops, or gnocchi come next, followed by third-course options of sea bass, turbot, or foie gras. Meat is on the docket for the fourth course: Anson Ranch lamb, Broken Arrow venison, or Palmetto Creek pork belly. Finish on a sweet note with warm lava cake or bourbon pecan pie.
7. Blue Moon (4405 W. Tradewinds Ave., Lauderdale-by-the-Sea; 954-267-9888)
Instead of standing in a swarm of drunks to watch the ball drop, sit in peace, gazing at the moon rising over the Intracoastal. For decades, Blue Moon Fish Co. has been Broward's best place to take in South Florida's natural beauty while celebrating. It's serving a four-course menu for the new year. Starters include miso honey tuna, jumbo shrimp cocktail, prosciutto and Brie, local fish and shrimp ceviche, jumbo lump crab cake, and seafood gumbo, followed by hearts of romaine caesar, iceberg wedge, or fresh burrata. For entrées, pick from lump crab and corn roasted grouper, pan-roasted mahi-mahi with conch and shrimp hush puppies, Faroe Island salmon quinoa, and eight-ounce filet mignon with potato pancake and Gorgonzola butter, jerk-spiced grilled swordfish, rotisserie-roasted half-chicken spicy andouille, shrimp, and crawfish risotto. The first seating, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., is $85 per person. The 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. seating is $135 apiece, which includes hats, party favors, and a Champagne toast at midnight.
6. Beauty and the Feast (601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-567-8070)
Feast at this appropriately titled beachfront eatery on NYE. The early seating, from 6 to 9 p.m., includes a three-course family-style (what they call) "feast" with the restaurant's signature pig roast paired with a selection of small plates. At $59 per person, it's certainly not the cheapest dining option for the night, but you can definitely get your money's worth. The midnight seating kicks off at 9 p.m. Four courses are paired with a DJ, party favors, and a Champagne toast at midnight for $119 per person.
5. Louie Bossi (1032 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale)
This Las Olas hot spot is serving a special holiday menu for the change of year. Expect to see a range of appetizers and entrées including roasted cauliflower garlic and truffle oil, wood-grilled octopus salad ($16), duck yolk raviolo en brodo with shaved urbani white truffle ($18), 16-ounce wood-grilled veal chop with wild mushroom sauce and taleggio crostini ($48), house-made parpadella with duck ragu ($28), and warm panettone bread pudding topped with stratatella gelato ($8). The à la carte options allow guests to spend as much — or as little — as they wish to fork out.
4. Chimney House (701 W. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-900-5352)
Chimney House is starting its own party blocks away from the inebriated hordes of Himmarshee. Stop in before strolling to the Orange Bowl Downtown Countdown, or settle in on the porch for the evening. The Latin-inspired eatery is serving an inexpensive $35 three-course menu until 8 p.m. After that, the price goes up to $45 — still far less than most places in town. A DJ will be spinning Top 40 tunes. Staff are handing out party favors for the free Champagne toast at midnight. The last seating begins at 10 p.m.
3. Big City Tavern (609 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-727-0307)
Fort Lauderdale offers several walkable areas ideal for ringing in the new year. The beach will be packed; so will Himmarshee. Las Olas Boulevard gets crazy too, but out of all three, it's certainly the most chill — and adult. The only problem: It can be expensive as hell. Big City is on the more affordable side of the scale. Executive chef Steven Zobel is preparing a number of specials to welcome 2016, including creamed oyster stew with bacon, pernod, potatoes, and cream ($14); roasted prime rib of beef au jus with fingerling potatoes and market veg ($34); and lobster and scallop risotto with corn and black truffle ($33).
2. Market 17 (850 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-835-5507)
Looking for good fortune in 2016? Observe the holiday at Market 17. The restaurant is offering a special menu designed with items believed to bring happiness, prosperity, and joy. Get three-courses for a reasonable $95. Start with dishes like Champagne ceviche, lobster bisque, crispy rabbit croquette, or Farmer's 12-Grape Harvest Salad before moving onto grass-fed beef tenderloin, grilled antelope, or pan-seared cobia. For dessert, stick a fork into pumpkin mousse, chocolate semifreddo, or vanilla ice cream and sorbet. Dinner is served until midnight.
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1. Hot and Soul (3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 754-206-2155)
You don't have to spend a fortune to eat well on the last holiday of 2015. At this craft brewcentric Oakland Park place, get four soulful courses and a beer pairing for $60. Representing owners Christy Samoy and Mike Hampton's previous homes, the brews and dishes are inspired by Boston, New Orleans, San Diego, and Fort Lauderdale. Look for lobster tikka masala based off the legit Indian fare on Massachusetts Avenue and barbacoa de borrego for San Diego's Mexican food. The regular menu is also available.