mission impossible: mom's 60th birthday
Okay, if anyone can figure this one out, I will be forever indebted. I am at a culinary loss.
It is my mother's 60th birthday and my dad and I want to surprise her with something special. Here are the requirements, read on if you dare:
1. It is a lunch for 8-10 people on Saturday Dec 30.
2. Round tables are good
3. Not more than $55 per head inclusive
4. Mom is not the most experimental eater. She tends toward ethnic foods (but not spicy) though that isn't necessarily a requirement.
5. Mom doesn't hear great, so a quiet space, perhaps even a private room would be great.
Okay, I'm waiting for the stroke of genius!
I had very similar requirements for my dad's 60th and we did it at Lupa. It's a 3-course meal and it priced out around $55 a head. The antipasti to start was a very generous portion of 5 or 6 different options. 2 or 3 offerings for the pasta course (served family style). There were 3 or 4 entree selections (individual portions, but you don't order off the regular menu) but definitely something for everyone.
They have a back room that we used (there were 7 of us, we didn't have it to ourselves) but it's definitely quieter than the front room. Best part is, they have someone on their staff that works with larger groups to plan menus. They were very accommodating to our requests. My dad doesn't hear all that well either, so I'd request the back room.
Col Legno, 9th St. just west of 2nd Av., is usually sedate. Quiet is not guaranteed but likely. I'm not sure it's good enough for a birthday, though. If you'd be willing to stretch your budget a little, I think you could really please her with Hearth. I'm not quite sure how they'd seat that large a party, though.
At Hearth, all the large parties are seated in the front room, and the noise level gets quite high. Because of the hearing issue, that would eliminate Hearth as an option.
Edit: It just occurred to me that a more obvious reason to eliminate Hearth is that they don't serve lunch. (See #1 on the o.p.'s list.)
Capsouto Freres. You can go their website: capsoutofreres.com
Take a look at their brunch menu, which I think would be perfect.
The only problem might be location - it's down below Canal Street, street parking available.
Round tables, used to large parties, menu called brunch but if you look at it, it's really lunch, moderate prices, and the food is really good. We have taken many people there, and everyone is always pleased. Very attractive place - one of New York's best secrets.
I'll second Capsouto Freres, which I used for my mother's 74th birthday. We spent just under $55 a head, though that was a few years ago. We had a four-course lunch: Everyond got salad, then a choice of three appetizers, main courses, and dessert. Everyone ordered what they wanted to drink. I did some negotiating on the menu choices so that the wonderful profiteroles were a dessert choice.
Maybe Safran--it's a new Vietnamese resto in Chelsea. I've only been once for lunch, but I've read a few other good reports. It's a nicely-designed space with a pretty downstairs area. The Sunday I went for lunch, we were one of 3 tables in the place (which is quite large), so it was definitely quiet. Food was good and there are plenty of non-spicy items.