"I have been reading your column for many years and have always found it helpful in selecting a restaurant. Now I have a question. My birthday is Jan. 1, and my wonderful family insists on my not cooking on my birthday. This is fine with me, but the trouble is finding restaurants that are open New Year's Day. I realize that after New Year's Eve festivities both owners of restaurants as well as their help are not keen on working this day. But, in this roaring metropolis, surely there are some nice restaurants open and willing to accommodate us. Could you possible research our area and list the restaurants open New Year's Day? This ‘Birthday Girl' and others would really appreciate it."
– Lucy K.
Dear Lucy: Jan. 1 has always struck me as an ambivalent kind of day. Part of me wants to keep the hectic holiday going for a short time more; another part just wants to stay in PJs and slippers and rest, rest, rest.
New Year's Day is on a Tuesday in 2013, which is another strike against it, but a few places can be counted on to keep the spirit of celebration alive. One such is Della Terra in the Avant Building, 200 Delaware Ave. This is a handsome, glamorous, high-ceilinged room that looks out over pretty lighted trees. It features a contemporary menu with an Italian slant.
Some examples: pan-seared herb gnocchi accompanied by sage-infused sausage, or cioppini in a lobster-infused tomato broth. All the usual steaks are available, as well as a Dijon- and pretzel-coated pork chop.
Then there is the Roycroft Inn, 40 S. Grove St., East Aurora, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It offers a traditional, comfy, historic Arts and Crafts setting with a festive appeal. On the dinner menu: the likes of wild boar chops served with chili honey chutney and wild rice, ?and a free-range chicken breast served with creamed kale.
And if there are vegetarians in your party, they may well be tempted by stuffed acorn squash with rice and dried fruits. (I am not a vegetarian, but this dish called to me nonetheless.)
Asian restaurants are often a fallback when other eating places are closed, so I'll recommend the Eastern Pearl, 938 Maple Road, Amherst, because it's a little more glamorous than many other Chinese restaurants around here. Just a teeny bit more plush. A standard Cantonese menu is available.