Many Italian-Americans celebrate Christmas Eve with a Feast of the Seven Fishes (Festa dei Sette Pesci). This is a tradition for Catholics, as they abstain from eating meat on holy days. The reason for seven dishes is not really clear – some say seven is the most frequently used number in the bible and others claim it has to do with the seventh day of rest. As foodies, we see it as a fun and delicious way to celebrate Christmas Eve with friends and family.
If you are looking for a place to try the Feast of The Seven Fishes in Manhattan, here are five great choices:
The Sea Fire Grill: For those looking to splurge, this decadent and very special menu includes seven courses and is only offered on Christmas Eve $149.95 per person. The seven courses begin with a Caviar Blini and end with Lobster Ravioli with Black Truffle and Tarragon – need we say more? In between: Oysters, Gravlax, Yellowfin Tuna Tartar, Diver Scallops with Celery Root Puree, Salt Cod Brandade and Chatham Codfish for a total of seven full courses. The Sea Fire Grill is an elegant, contemporary space that provides a perfect setting for this delightful feast. www.theseafiregrill.com
Address: 158 East 48th Street, New York, NY 10017 Phone: (212) 935-3785
Fresco by Scotto: Celebrities and Midtown heavy hitters love Fresco by Scotto for its tasty Tuscan fare and lovey setting. They're offering "A Night of 7 Fishes" starting with their delectable pizza and antipasto for the table, followed by a menu including some fabulous seafood choices (along with some other non-seafood options for those meat eaters). Diners can pick from a nice variety of appetizers. Maybe you will choose Salmon & Avocado Tartare, over micro arugula and basil greens with cucumber, avocado, spicy horseradish and herb aioli or will it be the Fresco Crab 'Gnudi,'served cold, with preserved Meyer lemon infused jumbo lump crab meat, arugula, flageolet bean, bell pepper salsa, and crispy bacon (breadcrumb free) or one of the five additional choices. For the entrée, perhaps, the Scottish Salmon with roasted baby artichoke and Heirloom cherry tomato Ragú, escarole, gigante beans, and a lemon caper reduction or, maybe Baccalà alla Livornese –cod filet slow braised in a sauce of white wine, tomato, capers, baby fennel and olives or one of the other tantalizing options. Whatever the choice, this delicious menu has something for everyone. Adults $85 per person & Children (under 12) $45 per child. For the full Christmas Eve menu, go to www.frescobyscotto.com
Address: 34 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022 Phone: (212) 935-3434
The Red Cat: This neighborhood favorite in Chelsea is always a good bet. Some of the tempting dishes from the Feast of Seven Fishes include: Nantucket Bay Scallop Ceviche, dressed with avocado, tangerine and jalapeño jelée, Sautéed Calamari seasoned with fennel, blood orange, and salsa Verde and Grilled Sea Bream accompanied by Quinoa Tabbouleh and Citrus Nage. These are just a few options from their delectable Christmas Eve menu. For the full menu, go to www.theredcat.com – $15 per dish.
Address: 227 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011 Phone: (212) 242-1122
Co-founded by Master sommelier Laura Maniec, Corkbuzz Wine Restaurant and Bar delivers quite a unique experience. The atmosphere lends itself to social gatherings and meeting new people with its communal style dining room, and shareable plates. They offer 40+ wines by the glass and have an impressive cellar of over 250 wines. The Feast of Seven Fishes is $75 for the 4 course prix fixe ($50 for optional wine pairing). A la carte pricing is also available. Bacalao Croqueta with saffron aoli and spicy Romesco, Tagliatelle with cioppino broth, mussels, clams and tarragon, Branzino Filet with lemon, capers and fingerlings – just sampling of the mouth-watering choices. For the full menu go to unionsquare.corkbuzz.com
Address: 13 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003 Phone: (646) 873-6071
Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria: If you love their market and house-made fresh cured meats, this is a great time to try the restaurant. Some of the tasty dishes of the Feast of Seven Fishes are: Bacala Mantecato – Salt cod brandade on grilled filone bruschetta with extra virgin Biancolilla olive oil, Capesante Crudi: Taylor bay scallops with horseradish and celery leaf, Gambero alla Piastra: grilled giant prawn with pesto Rosso and lemon. These are just a few ideas. Adults $95 per person & $45 per child. For the full Christmas Eve menu go to www.ilbucovineria.com
Address: 53 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012 Phone: (212) 837-2622