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Planning wife's 30th Birthday Dinner... HELP

m
mmaurillo Dec 11, 2006 04:51 PM

Like a good husband I got a head start on planning my wife's 30th birthday dinner party for next month and wouldn't you know it, the restaurant just figured out that they double booked the space. We were all set for the converted back garage at Frankie's 457 which was perfect on many levels - everyone loves italian, a private space so guests could get up and mingle, not a stuffy setting, decent wine list, walking distance from our apt...
With all that said, does anyone have reco's for a late substitution? Hoping for Saturday Jan 6th for about 20-25 people in the BoCoCa, Heights, Williamsburg, DUMBO area.
I thank you all in advance... as does my wife :)

  1. r
    Rodrigo Dec 11, 2006 05:30 PM

    In the past, I attended a birthday dinner at Monte's on Carroll (betw. 3rd and Nevins I believe). It's got an old school Brooklyn charm. You shouldn't have a problem getting a reservation for 20-25 people. The food is more traditional than Frankie's but I've had success with the veal parmigian. They will go out of their way to provide a satisfying evening. It's a good place to know about in a pinch.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Rodrigo
      m
      mmaurillo Dec 11, 2006 05:46 PM

      Thanks Rodrigo. Looking into Monte's now.

      1. re: mmaurillo
        c
        chow_gal Dec 11, 2006 07:53 PM

        Before you commit to Monte's - please search for previous reviews. Most reviews acknowledge its old world charm, but are you sure that is what you want? FOr a 30th bday?

        VERY VERY VERY different than Convivium or Frankie's. Think red sauce, ancient waiters in bow ties.

        1. re: chow_gal
          r
          Rodrigo Dec 11, 2006 08:31 PM

          I agree that Monte's food is nowhere near as good as many of the other places around. When making the recommendation I was thinking about a place that could accommodate 20-25 people on a Saturday night. If the 20-25 people are all looking to have a stellar meal, then Monte's is definitely not the place. It depends on the temprament of the group and, most importantly, what kind of evening the birthday girl would most appreciate.

          1. re: Rodrigo
            m
            mmaurillo Dec 12, 2006 05:53 PM

            I looked into Monte's and it sounds like they could accommodate us, but I think there will be considerable interest in the meal itself. I've yet to see the location, so maybe the environment will off set the food. Is that possible?

            1. re: mmaurillo
              c
              chow_gal Dec 12, 2006 06:51 PM

              don't go there. it is not at all like the other places you are considering. Though I don't know your crowd at all, I don't think this is what you have in mind. It's isolated, 'Old School' (in fact, isn't it one of the oldest restaurants in Brooklyn?)pasta with red sauce, veal and tiramisu sort of place. Not for a 30th...

              1. re: mmaurillo
                r
                Rodrigo Dec 12, 2006 07:13 PM

                If food is a high priority, don't go. The food is nothing special. Again, I was thinking of the amount of people you had and the fact that you wanted Italian and that it's a Saturday (busy) night.

                My favorite restaurant on Smith St. is Chestnut. They've been known to accomodate 20. A Saturday night might be tricky, but it's somewhat far in advance.

      2. u
        ultrvioltx Dec 11, 2006 05:42 PM

        My gf had her birthday party at Five Front in Dumbo last year. We reserved the back room which is quite cozy and overlooks the back garden. There were about 15 ppl there and they created a special menu for us (favorites that we chose from the regular menu). Not sure if they can fit 20-25 in the back area, but you may want to call anyway. I'd recommend it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ultrvioltx
          m
          mmaurillo Dec 11, 2006 05:47 PM

          Great idea. I live right down the street from Five Front. 20-25 might be tight, but also may be worth it.
          Thanks!

        2. n
          Nehna Dec 11, 2006 06:48 PM

          I wonder if you could book the downstairs area at Convivium? I dont know if they do that or not but it would be a gorgeous place to spend a birthday celebration.

          1. f
            Fleur Dec 12, 2006 12:16 AM

            We gave a dinner at CONVIVIUM last year, downstairs in the Wine Cellar and everyone just loved it. They couldn't have been nicer, and the food and winer were outstanding.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Fleur
              m
              mmaurillo Dec 12, 2006 05:55 PM

              I just checked on Convivium as well. haven't had a chance to call, but from the right ups it sounds like a nice dining experience. From what you know of the place, is the wine cellar big enough to fit 20-25? I'll have to give them a call today.
              Thanks Nehna and Fleur!

              1. re: mmaurillo
                n
                Nehna Dec 12, 2006 10:10 PM

                I dont think you'd have trouble fitting a group that size. As it is they have one long table set up that seats (from memory) 8 - 10 people. There's a small alcove off the side of it that has a table which would seat 4 and a bar counter where 2 dined while we were there. And there's a third section of the room with tables as well.

                So I dont think they'd seat you at one long table or anything. You'd want the downstairs reserved for yourselves and probably be proken up into a few tables around the cellar room. I think that'd be lovely for such an event.

                1. re: Nehna
                  m
                  mmaurillo Dec 13, 2006 07:34 PM

                  Well, I have a message into Convivium and hope to hear back from their manager tomorrow. They said they could accomodate 25 no problem. Thanks again.
                  I received another reco for Apartment 138. Supposedly they have a couple private areas that can be reserved. Has anyone eaten their before? I've never been.

                  1. re: mmaurillo
                    n
                    Nehna Dec 15, 2006 09:11 PM

                    Hmm well I cant really think of where you would put a private party at 138. They have a main dining room. Then downstairs there's a sort of hang out 'game room' and then there's a (now out of season, but very pretty) back patio.

                    138 is a very different dining experience from Convivium. It's around the corner from my place and we tend to go there when we want to grab a burger or grab a chocolate or espresso martini. It's that sort of place...pretty simple.

                    The service can be VERY poor at times there, so I would be pretty worried about how well they would handle such a large group. I tend to have better service the smaller the party is there (i.e. ideally just the two of us). And with you saying saturday night, I'd be really worried, unless they let you reserve the whole dining room.

                    Convivium is more comparable to places like Saul and Chestnut.

                    If Conviv. doesnt work out, how about Patois? They have a pretty ample multi-room dining space.

                    1. re: Nehna
                      m
                      mmaurillo Dec 18, 2006 08:23 PM

                      Went to 138 this weekend to check out the space. Definitely not what I'm looking for. Wish I had read your post to save me the trip.
                      I also went to Convivium, though, and loved the environment. The basement is the perfect space. Only problem is the cost to rent it out for a saturday night (which I'm not surprised). 25 person minimum at $85 per person, not including beverage, tax and tip. I may still go for it though.
                      I also stopped into BarTabac. They have a smaller separate room in the way back that basically has enough space for a long table. They are open for Saturday night, I just need to call to get the details.
                      Any experience out there with big parties at Tabac?

                      1. re: mmaurillo
                        m
                        Marion Morgenthal Dec 18, 2006 10:55 PM

                        One other place you might look at that has been recommended by others here is Caffe Carciofo (Court and Kane Streets). I've not been to a party there, but folks have posted good things about their back room. Atmosphere is not nearly as great as Convivium, but would be much closer than 138 is.

                        1. re: mmaurillo
                          Peter Dec 22, 2006 03:28 AM

                          Have you considered another night? Maybe Sunday night? Or the night of her actual birthday? I imagine it's a good bit less than $85 per person then -- probably not as low as the $35 per person I paid 2 years ago for a Tuesday, but probably not that much more.

                          I know Saturday night is the fun night, but think of what else you could buy her (a weekend in Montreal?) with the $800 to $1,000 or so you'd save.

                          Peter

                      2. re: mmaurillo
                        Peter Dec 16, 2006 04:07 PM

                        Convivium does GREAT private parties downstairs. I held one there several years ago, attended one there a few months ago, and will be attending another tomorrow night.

                        Check out my post on it from 2 years ago:

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                2. c
                  cobblelurker Dec 22, 2006 01:58 PM

                  I second Caffe Carciofo they have a nice comfortable private room and great deals for parties.

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