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How do you get attention around here? PLEEEAASE advise on downtown restaurant for a group?!

Hi. One last try.... I'm looking for an "unusual" restaurant for a group of 6-10 adults, on a Saturday night in September. Ideally, I'd like a youthful vibe, with backround music of some kind, and I'd like the food to be delicious and hopefully easy flowing - like a pris fixe (sp?) or family style that I can pre-order. This same group was at Mamlouk together and LOVED it. Price needs to be under $120 a couple including everything. It would be nice also (since I'm wishing) to have a lounge or club nearby for pre and/or post dinner comfort and cocktails. Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I'm seriously floundering on this one (no pun intended!) Thanks.

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  1. Not sure what you mean by "unusual." You could do Tides on the lower east side which fits your budget and vibe but is not that unusual, just really great seafood.

    How about Artisinal? The restaurant is centered around cheese and has a great selection of fondues to enjoy family style. The place also has a nice energy and a walk in cheese cave that is really cool to visit.

    Hmmmm. The most unusual place I think is WD-50 but it's a lot more than you want to spend. How about Casa Mono for tapas? Some of the dishes are quite creative although it's pushing your budget with wine. The place has a nice vibe though. Hope this helps!

    If you can be more specific as to what you mean by "unusual" you may get more responses. Enjoy your dinner!


    1 Reply
    1. re: JeremyEG

      Thanks Jeremy -
      I guess that what I mean by unusual is "non-suburban" - real NYC, and possibly ethnic. Tides might work very well; it's a real possibility, and I appreciate the Artisinal suggestion, which I hadn't thought of. I've been to Casa Mono and enjoyed it. The thought of louring guests through the kitchen at La Esquina is inviting, but the menu will be a la carte, and maybe overall a little pricey. I appreciate your feedback. Thanks.

    2. A challenging request.
      Five Ninth in the meatpacking district gets great reviews for having a unique menu. I personally have not eaten there and it may be above your price range.

      I think you should try Buddakan. Which has the vibe you want, serves decent food and is right in the meatpacking night club district. There is a recent post on you can read for more details.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gordognyc

        Thanks Gordognyc -
        I'll chekc out Five Ninth. I haven't heard of it, but I think the MPD holds some entertaining options. As for Buddakan, I'm completely afraid of all the HYPE, and we have a diner who can't eat commercial soy sauce (because of it's wheat ingredient). I really apprecaite the help.

      2. I, too, am allergic to hype, but Buddakan is very good. I would not have set foot in the place except that I was invited to a dinner (with twenty others!) and I was very surprised by how good it was. I've been back since. It's perfect for the group size you discuss. Don't worry about the soy issue. THere are many dishes that don't want soy near them.

        - Sean

        1. Well, Casa La Femme on Wooster St. was certainly different when someone took me there on a first date a few years ago, You can reserve a tent. But, you have to into that kind of food.

          1. Barbounia, on the corner of Park Av. S. & 20th St., is a good place to go with a group. The Mediterranean/Greek cuisine is nicely prepared, and there are lots of dishes, i.e., mezzes and apps, on the menu that can be shared. Service is friendly and very efficient. The space is large with very attractive decor, and seating is comfortable. We've been there 3 times and, while the crowd can be mixed ages, it does seem to tend younger. As for the vibe, definitely upbeat, including the music, which helps give the room lots of energy.

            There's a menu on their website (with prices), but it has not been updated to reflect some of the changes we found when we had dinner there a few weeks ago.


            Btw, down the block on 20th St. is a bar/lounge called Flute. I have never been there, so I have no idea if it's what you are looking for.


            1. Any thoughts on:
              La Nacional (combined with some nearby bar)

              Sala (downstairs)

              One Little W. 12th

              Suba, or

              La Esquina?

              Thanks again to everyone!

              3 Replies
              1. re: spicehill

                Here's the most recent thread on La Nacional:


                Do a search and you will find many others.

                1. re: RGR

                  I went to La Nacional recently after reading reviews on this board. I can't recommend it highly enough. It is a real gem and an ideal place for an inexpensive group dinner. You enter through the bar area (which is like a hole in the wall). The lack of charm in the dining room is MORE than made up for by the considerate service and delicious food. And the wine list is lovely and well priced. We had a great Ribera del Duero for not a lot of money. Also, the night we went there was a tango show upstairs. Seemed like a fun night.

                  I also recently went to La Esquina for a friend's birthday dinner. The meal was ok, and the dining room very fun, but I thought it was too expensive for its own good.

                2. re: spicehill

                  I think Suba will be over your budget. The food I heard went downhill, but fun space.

                3. How about Sri Lankan at Sigiri?


                  Its a small pace so you shoul call. They can fit 10. I think they are also on restaurant.com and you can even make the price lower for a group.

                  I also recommend Jazzi Wok on 176 Mott Street. Their dishes are on the small size, but you can probably talk to the waiter and ask them how much more it will be to "beef up" the dishes. They speak english there. If you want unusuual try the steamed soft shell turtle soup. Good luck!

                  1. Maurizio Trattoria on 13th between 5th & 6th has a nice back room. It's more of a country/Italian place, not trendy with music or flash. I'm not sure what you like. But it's one of those nice elegant little NYC bistros.