281 Third Ave.
Ignored by New Yorkers much of the year, the rustic, tchotchke-packed dining room at Rolf’s is transformed into a Christmas spectacular that’s as much a December institution as the Rockettes and Rockefeller Center. Twinkling lights, Teutonic dolls, and green garlands like so many boughs of Black Forest don the front bar, while a seasonal roast suckling pig is ceremoniously served at the roughhewn tables and booths in back. Not surprisingly, the food is a mediocre throwback to another era, so don’t be surprised if the stringy sauerbraten can’t hold a candle to your grandmother’s three-day ginger snap-marinated wonder. But crispy potato pancakes and simple, hot-dog-like wursts keep kids complacent, while a few steins of the array of German pilsners and hefeweissen will find mom and dad satisfied, if not altogether oblivious.