While Philadelphia boasts a wealth of noteworthy places to ring in the new year, only one can offer the celebratory style of The Ritz-Carlton. With its imposing 140-foot-high dome and its impressive marble pillars, this century-old landmark is the ultimate enclave in which to enjoy a party of mythic proportions. Indeed, the building was modeled after the Pantheon—Rome’s monumental temple to the gods—and with the holiday season upon us, revelers are sure to enjoy an affair to make Bacchus proud.
The property’s chef de cuisine, Nathan Volz, will oversee the festivities. He’s a protégé of Eric Ripert, chef extraordinaire of New York’s top-rated Le Bernadin and until recently executive chef of The Ritz-Carlton’s luxurious culinary cornerstone, 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge. Volz retains Ripert’s spirit in the kitchen and the exceptional caliber of his mentor’s cuisine while giving 10 Arts’ global approach a local focus. “We’ve kept the same level of quality while supporting dairy farms and producers in our area,” he says. “Now we get to partner with those who work in our own backyard.”
10 Arts offers dining in one of the city’s most majestic spaces.
On a daily basis, Volz’s menu presents small, medium, and large plates of contemporary American fare as well as nuanced Philly classics. Prawn tortellini with minted pea butter and pancetta crisps is one tempting option; another is a selection of local and house-made charcuterie, pickles, and mustards, including house-made salumi, chicken liver mousse, and regionally sourced hams.
This “think global, act local” culinary mission is best reflected in the multicourse tasting menu that 10 Arts will offer for New Year’s Eve. It’s a mélange of new items (roasted quail from Griggstown Quail Farm and Market, anyone?) and ever-present classics, such as briny Chunu oysters from Virginia and the restaurant’s famed cheeseburger—all expressions of the chef’s refined yet relaxed modern American taste.
Step inside and you’ll understand where the word “ritzy” originated.
The Ritz will start rocking when the festivities move into the lobby lounge, beneath 2,013 vibrant balloons amassed at the apex of the enormous dome. At midnight, the balloons will fall, Champagne flutes will clink, and live bands and a DJ will entertain until the early hours.
Also entertaining will be the specialty cocktails, which will have a seasonal flair, says Miguel Hernandez, the hotel’s assistant director of food and beverage. “They include ingredients made from scratch: sweet vermouth, grenadine, raspberry shrub, lemonade, ginger beer—we create them all here.” No doubt the hands-on influence of Ripert and Volz can be felt at Hernandez’s fully stocked bar as well.
What better way to welcome 2014 than to relish your first eye-opening meal of the year at The Ritz-Carlton? Served from 10 am to 2 pm, while the Mummers in their golden slippers strut up Broad Street—just beyond the hotel’s pillared entrance—this special breakfast buffet will feature a variety of comforting indulgences.
One of the small plates on Volz’s menu is delectable fresh oysters.
Throughout the yuletide season, the hotel’s lobby lounge will present an array of engaging holiday offerings. “Art of the Craft” will feature food demonstrations, tastings, and beverage pairings. Indulge in the Ultimate Hot Chocolate service daily from noon to 5 pm, or make your own (and a gingerbread house, too) at the “Family Gingerbread Delight.”
From the first rousing toast until the party favors are wistfully packed away, The Ritz-Carlton is the place to celebrate, and Volz is excited: “We will put our best foot forward so our guests will always remember how they spent this New Year’s Eve. And we’re eager to show them our new vision for 10 Arts and The Ritz-Carlton in 2014 and beyond.”