When it comes to Christmas Eve, most restaurants play things straight. Whether out of tradition, or to foster comfort, the two routes most often taken seem to be a take on the Italian-American feast of the seven fishes, or classic American fare.
This year, two restaurants are doing things with a little more personality — infusing some spirit back into the holiday dining scene. In New York, Hotel Griffou will be serving a menu inspired by the movie, A Christmas Story. And in Portland, The Gilt Club will be offering a “Spirits of Christmas Eve” menu inspired by A Christmas Carol.
Both menus take an innovative and witty approach to incorporating the theme with the food. David Santos, the Executive Chef at Hotel Griffou explained his inspiration, “I was thinking of a way to promote Christmas Eve at the restaurant and have a little fun. A Christmas Story is one of my favorite movies ever and it’s a story that everyone can relate to.”
Considering its memorable food moments, A Christmas Story was a natural muse for Santos, “I watched the movie and took notes about how to craft dishes based on the scenes.” Courses include Peking duck, and of course, a "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out" dish.
At The Gilt Club, the "Spirits of Christmas Eve" menu riffs on the classic Dickens story twice. There are three courses, each representing a ghost, with drink pairings also playing on the theme.
These restaurants may be onto something, after all, the holidays are meant to be a joyous and warm occasion. Santos sums up the sentiment, “A Christmas Story evokes such happy thoughts to me and if I can create a menu that may pass even a little bit of that on it’s a great feeling. “
Opening Scene All-American Starter
Bacon 'N Eggs Amuse
"There Are Starving Children" (what Ralphie's mom says to his brother when he is eating the oatmeal)
Seared Scallops, Creamy Steel-Cut Oats, French Toast Tuille
"You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!"
Foie Gras Stuffed Quail with Pickled Cherry Purée
All-American Turkey Pot Pie
"Ahh, Fudge!!!!!" (Lavender for washing his mouth out with soap.)
Valrhona Fudge with a Lavender Cream
Little Orphan Annie
Fluff Soufflé with Ovaltine Ice Cream
“Spirits of Christmas Eve”
A three-course menu of items from the past, present and future at The Gilt Club in Portland. Choose a course from each Ghost.
Ghost of Menus Past
Prawn Cocktail with Shaved Iceberg Lettuce, Cocktail Sauce, and Lemon
Roman-Style Tripe — Braised Tripe in Tomato Broth, with Parmesan and Mint
Waldorf Salad with Apples, Celery, Bibb Lettuce, Walnuts, and Special Dressing
Ghost of Menus Past Spirit Pairing
Campari, Orange, and Mint Granita Topped With Prosecco in a Flute, Garnished With Orange Peel
Ghost of Menus Present
Locally-Raised Rabbit, House-Made Pancetta, Fried Sage, Radicchio, Brown Butter, Organic Polenta
Spinach Cavatelli with Trumpets of Death, Roasted Shallots, Kale, Porcini Cream, and Pecorino
Grilled Sturgeon with Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Cauliflower, Squash, Black Garlic, Buerre Fondue
Ghost of Menus Present Spirit Pairings
Rabbit: Bulleit Bourbon Perfect Manhattan in a Port-Rinsed Martini Glass, Stirred with a Cherry
Cavatelli: Rye Whiskey, Aperol, Imbue Vermouth, Stirred in Vintage Cocktail Glass, Lemon Peel
Sturgeon: Aquavit, Lingonberry Preserve, Lemon Juice, Shaken & Up in a Martini Glass with Cherry Garnish
Ghost of Menus Future
Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Dirt and Almond Tuile
Ginger Mango Baked Alaska
Chocolate Espuma with Double Fudge Brownie and Espresso
Ghost of Menus Future Spirit Pairings
Cold: Hazelnut Brandy Egg Nog, Shaken and Served Cold in a Vintage Glass with Nutmeg Garnish
Hot: Clove-Infused Bourbon, Benedictine, Coffee, and Orange Whipped Cream, in an Irish Coffee Mug, Topped with Orange Whipped Cream and Orange Zest
And because no post about The Christmas Story would be complete without it...