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Hondo's has struck gold with a contract from Ukrop's; Thai Room is preparing new authentic Thai dishes; Ninth annual New Year's Eve buffet at India House 

Tastemakers

Ukrop's has a brand new brand of baby-back ribs. The ribs come from , a prime steaks and chops restaurant in Manakin-Sabot. Hondo's, which claims to have won numerous rib contests and created "quite a following" with its savory pork products, has struck gold with a contract from Ukrop's that allows the restaurant to display, promote and sell their baby-back ribs in all of the grocery chain's 27 locations. This idea was suggested to Hondo's owner, Tom "Hondo" McGrath, by a customer, who likely digested the idea with a mouthful of succulent rib meat. Free samples occasionally served by Hondo's representatives in Ukrop's will promote this joint venture. Looking for a special restaurant to jump-start your New Year's Eve celebrations? We have a few suggestions for you to chew on. The on Cary Street is preparing new authentic Thai dishes to tantalize you this Sunday night. Reservations are recommended, 644-2328. Get in on the ninth annual New Year's Eve buffet at . It will include some of the restaurant's most popular dishes, like rogan josh, lamb sag, madras chicken curry and a variety of vegetarian specials plus homemade breads, chutneys and desserts. Two seatings: 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. $50 per couple. 355-8378. on Harrison Street near VCU is putting together a New Year's Eve night that includes a four-course menu accompanied by a jazz trio. Evan Mook works the keys, Joel Bennet plays the upright, and Tobias Whitaker taps the skins, while you dine on selections such as oyster stew, sautéed sea scallops and grilled duck breast, 7-11 p.m. $45. Reservations required, 358-3619.
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