Dinner for 8
Looking for a quality meal, upbeat and relatively large space to accomodate 8 people. I've been to most of the really good restaurants in the city, but have trouble finding good spots for 8. Past successes have been Blue Ribbon, The Tonic, Tuscan Steak, etc. Any suggestions?
Eleven Madison Park might fit your needs. It's roomy and I've seen large parties there. Food is very good to excellent in my experience, service is great, and the atmosphere is airy and comfortable--not hopping upbeat, but not quiet-subdued either. Somewhere in between. Prices similar to the other places you mentioned.
Union Square Cafe has, i think, at least 2 tables that accomodate 8 people, and those tables work (no surprise) very well.
Gotham and Gramercy Tavern too, but maybe a bit more expensive than the other places you've mentioned.
Blue Ribbon Bakery has a great "chef's table" in a semi private room downstairs that I love for 8-10 people; good food, great vibe, etc.
have you tried Le Zinc? that would be fun and i think they can do 8 easily.
I was just at my new favorite restaurant, Good, which is on Greenwich Ave and 12th Street and noticed they have a big table for 8 in the back, which I've already decided is where I want my next birthday party. The prices are very reasonable ($15 to $19 for entrees), they've got an interesting wine list (all from places like Chile, Argentina and Spain), and the service has always been impeccable. It's sort of Latin American-influenced food. I had the pulled pork on poblano grits, and my companion had chicken & sausage jambalaya on rigatoni.