Artisanal, Hearth, A Voce or Gordon Ramsay Maze for NYE?
I have been to all four.
You should immediately eliminate A Voce because when the room is full, the noise level is the antithesis of conversation-friendly, i.e., obscenely high. At Hearth, larger groups are seated in the front room, and it can be noisy -- though not at A Voce's painful level. I've only been to Artisanal for lunch and brunch when the room wasn't full. It was noisy but not uncomfortable, though it could be a lot worse when the place is packed. Maze definitely has the most civilized noise level; however, it is hardly funereal since the restaurant adjoins the London Bar, and the two areas combined have a pleasant buzz.
The food we had at Hearth and A Voce was very good. (Note: It was Carmellini's food at A Voce and not the current chef's.) However, I am partial to French cuisine. I found Artisanal's food disappointing. Happily, at our recent first dinner at Maze, the cuisine was stellar! I don't drink, but my husband was extremely pleased with his wine pairings there.
Having been to Artisanal, Hearth, it really depends what you're looking for. Both are excellent. Artisanal has a bigger mid-town-vibe room, think more on the Balthazar end of the spectrum of decor, while Hearth has a medium-sized room, exposed brick, warmer feel. Food nod' for me goes towards Hearth, but you'll have a great meal at either. Hope this helps.
I have never been to Hearth or A Voce. So, my opinion might not be worth that much :-)
But, Artisanal and Maze are profoundly different in atmosphere! I found Maze to be rather pretentious (though it was quiet and the food was wonderful). Artisanal is definitely noisier, but also much more laid back and cozy. I have never found it to be TOO loud, though. And the food is solid - I always have fun there.