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New restaurants and happenings 

By the time you read this, most celebration leftovers will have been eaten and what to have on New Year's Eve will be the topic of conversation. A great night to be out on the town, it's still not quite too late to book your special spot.

Restaurants recently announcing to us that they, too, will host a New Year's Eve prix fixe dinner include Piedmont Restaurant in Durham (683-1213), serving a four-course dinner for $40 that includes choices such as oyster mignotte, salads with local arugula and cherve, and a prosecco cocktail. Two seatings, at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m, with after-dinner music by chef/owner Andy Magowan's band Malt Swagger (you can come just for the music for a $5 cover charge). Cary's Bistro 64 (380-1322, www.bistro64.com) will escort in the New Year with music as well as a four-course champagne dinner for $65 per person. Choices among the courses cover a range of flavors such as the classic starter frutti di mare, a Passion Salad, and Moroccan-spiced rack of lamb. The Grape at Cameron Village in Raleigh (833-2669, www.yourgrape.com) is also hosting a wine dinner (five wines, four courses) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., $50 per person, and an after-dinner dance party ($50 per person including gourmet buffet of sweets and savories) to ring in 2007. Reservations are required at all three.

If you're planning to splurge on a night to remember this Dec. 31, join classical music lovers at the Raleigh Sheraton Hotel Downtown for a gala honoring the N.C. Symphony that includes a pre-concert cocktail party and the symphony playing the usual complement of Strauss waltzes and other festive music. Also included are the hotel's four-course dinner, champagne at midnight along with Ellen Ciompi singing "Auld Lang Syne," plus dancing to Leon Jordan and His Continental Big Band. $225 per person gets you into the whole shebang 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets are through N.C. Symphony, 733-2750 or www.ticketmaster.com.

Hudson's Oyster Bar and Grille in Raleigh (formerly Gino Russo's, 420-0340) is gearing up with music and karaoke action for New Year's Eve, promising their new menu's wide range—traditional seafood, Southern cooking and steak-and-lobster combos.

The Durham Farmers' Market (www. durhamfarmersmarket.com) has expanded to offer winter hours at the Central Park School for Children, 724 Foster St., 9 a.m. to noon on the following Saturdays: Jan. 6 and 20, Feb. 3 and 17, March 3 and 17. We can plan ahead to buy locally raised winter produce, meats, homemade breads and pastries, and crafts. Questions? Contact Sarah Howe at sarah@houseofclay.net.

Congrats to Chef Royal of Angus Barn in Raleigh (781-2444, www.angusbarn.com) for winning the Iron Chef America TV competition, which aired on Dec. 10. The winning secret ingredient? Ostrich! The meat and the eggs!

Know about a special restaurant happening? E-mail info to food@indyweek.com.

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