New Year’s Eve is arguably the biggest party night of the year. Undoubtedly there will be hordes of folks heading out to load up on booze while obnoxiously twirling and honking on a variety of noise makers until the clock strikes midnight. And while there is certainly a lot of (mostly) harmless fun to be had in that scenario, there are a variety of options in South Jersey for a more low key, yet classy New Year’s Eve. Think dinner and maybe a few drinks. Here are a few of our favorites for this year.
1. The Pier House, Cape May
A trip to Pier House makes for an elegant evening no matter what day of the year it is, but for New Year’s Eve, they’ve really pulled out all the stops. This year they will offer a full seven-course prix fixe regional tasting menu, featuring an array of enticing options such as poached pear, oysters Rockefellar, steak tartar, toasted caraway and rye gnocchi, various local cheeses, truffle and wild mushroom risotto, local sea scallops, whipped butternut squash cheesecake, and many more. The Pier House is located inside the La Mer Beachfront Resort at 1317 Beach Ave in Cape May. Go to CapeMayLaMer.com.
2. The Smithville Inn, Smithville
About as charming as humanly possible, the Smithville Inn sits at the front of the quaintest of South Jersey spots — Smithville Village. It’s a labyrinth of folksy shops and restaurants set over the backdrop of a serene lake, where at night a holiday light show makes for the perfect accent to a meal. The Inn itself is a colonial masterpiece, complete with a roaring fireplace that Santa undoubtedly makes his way down annually. For New Year’s the Inn offers a special menu of tasty options including corn and crab fritters, burrata caprese, peach-glazed pork chops, porterhouse veal and a braised short rib pasta that is one of the best dishes we have had all year. The Smithville Inn is located at 1 N. New York Road in Smithville. Go to SmithvilleInn.com.
3. The Iron Room, Atlantic City
Just about any meal prepared by the Iron Room’s chef Kevin Cronin is going to be a foodie’s dream, but for New Year’s Eve, he has really pulled out all the stops. Guests will enjoy a five-course tasting menu. Courses include tuna crudo, Kentucky-fried quail, pepper and ancho-crusted thick cut bacon and udon mac and cheese. The main course offers a choice of a 10-oz., chili-charred hanger steak with tamari-braised Brussels sprouts or pan-roasted Atlantic salmon with potato dauphinoise. House-made dessert options are a two-way can’t lose between fruity pebbles crème brulee and banana walnut bread pudding. The cost is $75 per person and premium wine pairings can be added for an additional $50. Seatings start at 6 p.m. Reservations are required. The Iron Room is located at 131 S. Tennessee Ave. in Atlantic City. Go to IronRoomAC.
4. Hooters, Atlantic City
So you decided to go super casual for this New Year’s and plan to take the misses to Hooters inside Tropicana Atlantic City for some wings? While we admit this could be a risky move, there may be a way to get yourself out of the doghouse and class up the whole evening in the process. For just $199.99 you can order the “Gourmet Chicken Wing Dinner” which consists of 20 of Hooters world famous chicken wings alongside a bottle of Dom Perignon. And look at it this way, if a sophisticated move like that doesn’t sweeten up her sour mood, at least you have a classic story to tell your buddies for years to come. Tropicana is located at 2831 Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Go to Hooters.com.