We know that most of the world grinds to a well-deserved halt on Christmas Day--shops close, the mail stops, and everyone cuddles up by the fireplace and plays Scrabble while snow gently falls outside and Bing Crosby croons to you through a Baileys-induced stupor. But what if you don't have a fireplace, you hate Scrabble, and you smashed your bottle of Bailey's over the stereo to make the Crosby stop? Or what if your sweetheart, like mine, has the dubious distinction of sharing his birthday with Jesus, and all he wants in the world is a fancy birthday dinner at a nice restaurant? One year we resorted to flying to Vegas, where not even Christmas can stop the fun. But there are a few options between Priceline and starvation, and the good news is that the sweet holiday lull assures you your pick of the best tables and most attentive service of the year. Read on for the rundown of some of the best Twin Cities restaurants options for your Christmas dinner.
Kikugawa at Riverplace serves up an impressive all-you-can-eat sushi buffet on Christmas evening, in addition to its regular menu. Combine the buffet with a la carte menu items and a bottle of sake for a unique and memorable Christmas dinner. The buffet is $34.95, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Seven Sushi Ultralounge and Skybar is open regular hours on Christmas eve and day (and New Year's Day, if you're planning that far ahead), serving their regular menu. Between the steak house and sushi lounge menus, you should be able to put together an enviable feast.
For the late night crowd, Thom Pham's Wondrous Azian Kitchen is opening its doors at 8 p.m. on Christmas night and serving up its regular menu into the wee hours. Perfect for those who pretend to love Mom's meatloaf while feeding it to the dog under the table and inevitably leave famished. Or for those who just need a good, stiff fishbowl of booze to get into the holiday spirit. Cosmos at Graves 601 Hotel is serving a limited four-course menu for $45 until 8 p.m. on Christmas Day. Choose from appetizers such as beef tenderloin carpaccio and spicy basil shrimp, and entrees such as slow-poached Chilean sea bass and traditional Swedish meatballs. Follow that with an artisanal cheese course and your choice of dessert.
The Dakota Jazz Club, Buca di Beppo, and B.A.N.K. are serving their regular menus, and D'Amico Kitchen and FireLake Grill House will offer special holiday prix fixe menus in addition to their regular menus.
Nicollet Island Inn promises a roaring fire in the fireplace and an elegant five-course feast from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Forum is offering its regular menu from 4 to 7 p.m. The St. Paul Grill is offering a special three-course menu on Christmas Day, but it's entirely booked for the whole day except the 11:00 and 11:15 a.m. slots, so act quickly if you want in.
If you have your heart set on a particular restaurant, give them a call. While most restaurants do close entirely for the day, many are open for limited hours and just don't advertise it, so it can't hurt to check. Otherwise, make a reservation at one of the places listed above, kick back, and let Santa do the cooking this year.