New Year's Eve is just six days away. Do you have your dinner reservations yet?
If not, I've got a few extras. More than 130, actually.
As I've done for the last 13 years (and 18 of the last 20), I've made reservations, in my name, at restaurants all over town. And today, they're available to you.
Just pick a restaurant, be the first caller to request the "Phil Vettel table" (my ego knows no bounds), and you can claim that reservation.
And I've got some great restaurants in the city and suburbs, from Acadia to Zed 451. I've got high-end, splurge-ready tables at Alinea, Sixteen, Spiaggia and Tru; I have budget- and family-friendly spots. Up in the air (Everest), practically hidden (The Violet Hour) and out over the water (Riva Crab House and Harry Caray's Tavern, both on Navy Pier). Places that just opened (Cicchetti, Dusek's), spots that have been around for decades (Lawry's the Prime Rib) and two that are about to close (Graham Elliot, closing after the 31st; Boka, closing for a remodel and new chef Lee Wolen).
I've got early tables for those people who are heading to parties (or home) afterward, and late seatings for those who want to stay put until midnight and then some.
Please note that all you get is the reservation. These aren't free dinners; they're not even discounted dinners. These are full-freight, tax-and-tip-not-included deals. All the restaurants are providing are choice tables that might not have been available otherwise.
Here's the fine print: Unless specifically noted otherwise, listed prices are per person and do not include tax, tip or beverage. Menus and prices are subject to change. Be prepared to secure your reservation with a credit-card guarantee, deposit or full prepayment, as the restaurant wishes.
Do not be offended if a particular restaurant isn't staffing its phone line at 6 a.m. Do not assume that you're the first caller unless a real, live person tells you so. Participating restaurants have sole discretion in determining the first caller. A few of these places can be contacted only by e-mail.
If you're not the first caller, don't give up. You might find a reservation for a different time. Best of luck.
Acadia: Table for four at 9 p.m. Early-French themed menu $165, $85 for wine pairing. Early seating, 5:30 p.m.; dinner is $125, $75 for wine pairing. Vegetarian option available (must be requested in advance); bar open for cocktail service only. Champagne toast (and a surprise) at midnight. 1639 S. Wabash Ave., 312-360-9500.
Adelle's Fine American Fare: Table for two at 7 p.m. Three-course meal, five choices per course, $75. 535 W. Liberty Drive, Wheaton, 630-784-8015.
Alinea: Table for two at 8 p.m. Mulitcourse menu, $450 (20 percent service charge and 10.5 percent tax additional); optional reserve wine pairing $300. To claim, send e-mail, with "Phil Vettel table" in subject field, to email@example.com. 1723 N. Halsted St.
Azzurra EnoTavola: Table for four at 8 p.m. The recently opened Wicker Park rstaurant will serve its a la carte Italian menu. 1467 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-278-5959.
Bakersfield: Table for two at 7:30 p.m., table for four at 9 p.m. Regular menu plus specials; complimentary glass of champagne at midnight. 330 E. Ogden Ave., Westmont, 630-568-3615.
Balena: Table for two at 7 p.m. Menu of assorted starters, pasta, entree choice will be $70, optional wine pairing $35. 1633 N. Halsted St., 312-867-3888.
Bar Pastoral: Table for two between 6-8 p.m. Early dinner will feature a four-course menu for $60, $90 with wine pairings. Vegetarian menu also available. Beginning at 10 p.m., Bar Pastoral will host a stand-up cocktail party with hors d'oeuvres, $120. Tickets for both celebrations available online at shop.pastoralartisan.com; saved table can be claimed by phone. 2947 N. Broadway, 773-472-4781, ext. 16.
BellyQ: Table for four at Grill Table at 7 p.m. A la carte Grill Feast menu and DJ music featured. Group packages available. 1400 W. Randolph St., 312-563-1010.
Blackbird: Table for two at 9:30 p.m. A la carte and prix-fixe menus available. Champagne toast at midnight. 619 W. Randolph St., 312-715-0708.
Blackfinn Ameripub: Table for two at 8 p.m. A la carte menu featured. 65 W. Kinzie St., 312-836-0290.