Coming soon: Dumpling Daughter owner Nadia Liu Spellman tells me she’ll open a Boston branch in February 2023, taking over the old Lee Chen’s space (475 West Broadway). Unlike her other Chinese restaurants in Brookline, Cambridge, and Weston, this one will be takeout and standing-room only, with a focus on dumplings alone, such as pan-seared pork and cabbage with soy ginger and Mike’s hot honey glaze and chicken with sesame and chili oil. “There will be fewer items, but creative combinations,” she says.
Welcome Back: On a happy New Year’s Day note, temporarily shuttered Israeli restaurant Simcha officially reopens in Sharon (370 South Main St.) to kick off 2023, hosting a first-come, first-served brunch starting at 10 a.m.: Try lamb belly hash, smoked pork Benedict, shakshuka, and brie-and-jam boreka. And slinky Mexican-inspired Back Bay hideaway Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar (271 Dartmouth St.) has also reopened, with 2,000 more square feet and plenty of potent margaritas and sangria. In the South End, Casa Giacomo will open soon in the old Giacomo’s space (431 Columbus Ave.) from Mazi Food Group, the team behind Ilona and Krasi. The Italian restaurant will be open nightly from 5 p.m.
In New Year’s Eve news, some highlights:
Kid-Friendly: In Newton, Mida (261 Walnut St.) offers complimentary pizza slices for kids, a pasta craft station, and sparkling juice cocktails (Prosecco for grown-ups), with a ball-drop countdown at the civilized hour of 5:30 p.m. In Somerville, The Smoke Shop BBQ (325 Assembly Row) hosts its third annual Baby New Year’s Celebration, starting at 2:30 p.m. There’s a kid-friendly buffet with mac-and-cheese, hot dogs, fries, and DIY sundaes — plus ribs, brisket, wings, and cornbread for adults, as well as photo ops with the restaurant’s pig mascot, Kevin Bacon, plus face-painting and crafts. A balloon ball drop happens at 4 p.m. Kids 3 and under are free; prices start at $15.
Shareable Feasts: In the South End, convivial Spanish restaurant Atlántico (600 Harrison Ave.) serves a multi-course, family-style New Year’s Eve menu for $75 per person. And Encore Boston Harbor’s Red 8 (1 Broadway) serves a five-course dim sum feast for $120 per person. In the Back Bay, The Salty Pig (130 Dartmouth St.) hosts a one-time-only “red sauce Sunday” starting at 4 p.m. with an Italian-American menu: spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, cannoli, and more. Central Square’s Vialé (502 Massachusetts Ave.) also goes casual with a fried chicken party: Its a la carte “buckets and bubbles” menu features lobster grits, pulled pork sliders, buckets of fried chicken, and toffee pudding beginning at 5 p.m.
Swanky Events: At the Mandarin Oriental (776 Boylston St.), drop into a live jazz show in its lobby lounge with a pop-up champagne and wine bar from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., with light bites, before strolling First Night. In Kenmore Square, Pescador (498 Commonwealth Ave.) offers a $125, five-course feast with a champagne (or tequila) toast with king crab ceviche, grilled octopus, paella, fried oysters, and more. On the outskirts of Beacon Hill, duck into the Liberty Hotel (215 Charles St.) for a Gilded Age-styled soiree with aerial performances by the Boston Circus Guild, two dance floors, three DJs, plus a dinner buffet or a seated dinner at its house restaurant, Clink. Prices start at $135.