31st birthday fun dinner with large group (next tuesday)
I am looking for a restaurant with interesting, delicious food and a fun but casual (or just generic) atmosphere for dinner with a group of 10-15 next Tuesday evening. Cuisines I am considering: ethnic but (slightly) different, i.e. anything Latin (but esp. Brazilian), Chinese (but has to be amazing), Malaysian, Korean, ?? Location: Manhattan, pref. below 23rd but could go to 50th St. NOT PRETENTIOUS OR OVERPRICED :-)
More Details: The restaurant obviously needs to be large, not overbooked, and not wildly expensive ($30-40 per head would be good, $50 a maximum). Food quality is _much_ more important than atmosphere, although I would consider spending at the higher end of the range for something more fun. I was thinking about going back to Churascarria Plataforma on W 46th, where I had a great dinner three years ago, but several invitees don't eat meat, so that seems a bit churlish of me.
I have dutifully scanned the last 300 posts without finding anything tailored to my needs, and couldn't figure out how to search economically on my criteria. So, please, please help me!
(Last year on my 30th birthday I was in SF and had a wonderful time at Zuni, but I can't afford to pick up a substantial chunk of the tab again as I did for nine last year--plus I want something less pretentious this year--but if you go there, don't make the mistake of _not_ having the roast chicken (for two): I can still recall vividly the amazing flavor of one of the best meals I've ever had, and not every meal I've had at Zuni over the last ten years or so has been great).
Never underestimate the appeal of a big round table. Not many restaurant tables can seat 15, but most Chinese restaurants do have tables that can seat five (when an entire party is at a long table, chances are some folks are never going to be able to talk to one another).
Calle Ocho fits all of your requirements. It has a big round table that is semi-private. The only downside -- Calle Ocho is definitely on the higher end of your price scale.
We were in a birthday party at El Parador on 34 St between 1st and 2nd. It was downstairs where they have a space suitable for large parties.
The atmosphere is fun, the food is good (though not exceptional) and frozen margaritas will keep everyone happy.
Try to look it up on this board, it was mentioned before.
Lots of broke friends who don't regard dining well as a first-line priority, what can I say? It was _my_ idea to have such an expensive dinner, and I didn't want my mom (also there) to feel she had to pick up the whole bill. I could go on...
Thanks for the recommendation: I think I've eaten there and enjoyed the helpful service (I can get a bit confused by Korean food), but it's good to hear that it worked for a big group.