Dinner for 8-10 people.
Regarding Inoteca. Only do that if you like to be seperate from other diners. I always feel like I am in some sort of banquet room in the area that is less desirable when I do the private room thing. Inoteca is okay, but for the most part I think it is the poeple watching that adds to the experience. Just my opinion of course.
(1) Go to Yeah Shanghai (Bayard between Mott and Bowery) and order things like eel.
(2) Go to Skyway (Allen between Division and Canal) and order main dishes including seafood dishes.
(3) Go to Congee Village (Allen just south of Delancey) and have them make things for you with offal, razor clams, etc.
(4) You and your friends might also find the artisanal tofu at Cho Dang Gol (35 St. between 5th and 6th) interesting. Cho Dang Gol is not a vegetarian restaurant, but the in-house-made tofu helps the taste and texture of the various jigae (stewy soupy dishes) and so forth.
(5) Another idea: If you want to splurge a little, go to Devi. I haven't been yet, but did go to Amma a couple of times when Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur were there. The food is great and revelatory.