Thanksgiving has become the eating-out holiday for many families. There are multiple reasons: Mom and Dad come in to visit their daughter who lives in a studio apartment with no dining room table. A couple has to work the day after, so flying to Cincinnati isnt feasible.
And heres the best reason of all: Chefs have gotten more and more creative. Why dine on dry turkey and marshmallow-topped canned yams when you could be enjoying crab bisque; Vermont turkey with cornbread, chestnut, and sausage dressing; and three kinds of pie? Whatever you fancy, theres plenty of opportunity to celebrate Nov. 23 in style.
Chef Daniel Bruce will create a Thanksgiving brunch mixing tradition and innovation at Meritage in the Boston Harbor Hotel. Some of the offerings will be cider-basted roast turkey; pastry-wrapped salmon and halibut with Champagne saffron cream; sour cream and cranberry pancakes; tea-smoked duck breast with lentils; toasted panna cotta; and white chocolate fondant tart. The cost is $65 each; a childrens brunch is $35 each. Brunch from 11:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston. 617-439-3995. meritagetherestaurant.com
At the Harvest in Harvard Square, the menu will range from roasted porcini with Bibb lettuce, poached pear, and blue cheese; maple-bourbon glazed turkey with oyster mushroom and cipollini onion stuffing; prime rib with sauteed spinach and truffled pumpkin risotto; Irish whisky chocolate pecan tarte; and apple walnut galette. Cost of the dinner will be $55 for three courses or $65 for four courses. The meal will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. 44 Brattle St., Cambridge. 617-868-2255. harvestcambridge.com
If some want turkey but others insist on steak, Smith & Wollensky in the Castle offers a four-course menu of such dishes as lobster bisque; Caesar salad; and roasted turkey with apple-sausage cornbread and bourbon sweet potatoes. The full a la carte menu will also be available. The prix fixe menu is $49.95, $19.95 for children age 11 and under. Dinner will be served noon to 8 p.m. 101 Arlington St., Boston. 617-423-1112. smithandwollensky.com
LEspalier in Back Bay will do Thanksgiving with a French accent. Such dishes as oyster and crab tian (casserole) with fresh hearts of palm; Jerusalem artichoke and turnip soup with braised short ribs; turkey with Madeira truffle gravy and cranberry kumquat relish; and roasted pork loin with pumpkin and sweet potato gratin. There will be a vegetarian menu with pickled pumpkin cocktail with cilantro biscuits; winter squash risotto with forest mushrooms; and a grand dessert selection. Cost is $82 for six courses, $42 for children. Dinner will be served from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 30 Gloucester St., Boston. 617-262-3023. lespalier.com
UpStairs on the Square plans an extravagant holiday spread with such dishes as hand-cut cavatelli with delicata squash and chanterelle fondue; roasted turkey with potatoes mashed with butter and chives and creamed onions; grilled halibut with crusty fingerlings; warm apple cider pound cakes with maple walnut sauce; and a trio of pumpkin, apple, and pecan pies. Cost is $68, $34 for children under 12 years old. Dinner from 1 to 7 p.m. 91 Winthrop St., Cambridge. 617-864-1933.upstairsonthesquare.com
Chiara in Westwood is offering its first T-Day dinner with wild mushroom bisque; native turkey with mashed potatoes; pumpkin seed-crusted salmon filet; and pumpkin mascarpone cheesecake with caramel sauce. A childrens menu will also be available. Cost is $45 each; $18 for children under 12. Dinner from noon to 5 p.m. 569 High St., Westwood. 781-461-8118. chiarabistro.com
Grill 23 & Bar offers the big three turkey, steak, and lobster. Some other dishes will be smoked shrimp chowder; candied cashew tart; and pumpkin ice cream. The four-course turkey menu is $68; the full menu is a la carte. Dinner from 1to 9 p.m. 161 Berkeley St., Boston. 617-542-2255. grill23.com
Excelsior in Back Bay plans a dinner with lobster and sweet potato bisque; Amish-raised turkey with chestnut, turkey sausage, and semolina bread stuffing; warm chocolate cake; and pumpkin ice cream. Cost is $78 for four courses; dinner from 1 to 8 p.m. 272 Boylston St., Boston. 617-426-7878. excelsiorrestaurant.com
Sel de la Terre will combine French Provencal with American tradition with such dishes as seared scallops with lima beans, bacon, and wild mushrooms; turkey with sausage, apple, and sourdough stuffing; braised beef shortribs with rosemary-olive oil whipped potatoes; chocolate ganache tart; and vanilla bean creme brulee with oatmeal cookies. Cost is $56; dinner noon to 8 p.m. 255 State St., Boston. 617-720-1300. seldelaterre.com
The Oak Room in the Fairmont Copley Plaza offers both brunch and dinner for Thanksgiving. Some offerings will be wild turkey with sage and thyme brioche stuffing; Berkshire pork chop with seared apple chutney; and apple pie a la mode. The a la carte menu will also be available. The four-course prix fixe will be $83, $35 for children under 12. Seating begins at 5:45 p.m. Earlier in the day, brunch seatings will be at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Brunch costs $58 and $20 for children. 138 St. James Ave., Boston. 617-267-5300. fairmont.com
Nine Legal Sea Foods restaurants will be open Thanksgiving Day, offering a turkey dinner as well as a regular menu. Some holiday dishes will be slow-roasted turkey breast; wood-grilled salmon; filet mignon; and warm cranberry-walnut tart. Details and locations at legalseafoods.com or by calling the restaurants in South Shore Plaza, Burlington Mall, Framingham, Chestnut Hill, Prudential Center, Park Square, Charles Square, Long Wharf, and North Shore Mall.
For a change, you might try ordering smoked turkey from Redbones in Somerville, along with candied yams, succotash, and mac and cheese. Prices range from $4.99 to $50 for a 12- to 14-pound turkey. Orders must be made by Nov. 20 and picked up on Nov. 22. The restaurant is closed on Thanksgiving Day. 55 Chester St., Somerville. 617-628-2200. redbones.com