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Challenge - Sunday midafternoon (plus more limitations!)

I usually don't post these sort of requests, but I'm just stumped at the moment and so need to call on Chowhound's collective wisdom. Here's what I'm looking for:

-a restaurant for seven women who usually do a potluck dinner once a month to instead go out to as a farewell celebration for someone who's moving to So America.
-biggest problem: the only time we can do it is on a Sunday at 3 when not many places serve.

Other requirements:
-somehow celebratory or interesting/fun place. Doesn't have to be high-end at all, but should be a good experience. In fact, I was thinking about Balthazar or the Tavern room at Grammercy Tavern but I don't think we want to spend that much.
-so, it should be under around $30/person for a light meal, but including wine for the table and tip (or would that be ok at Balthazar or GT?)
-not So American food, and probably not Spanish or Italian either. Asian, middle eastern, french, would all be good. (if it was for dinner, we might have done Indian. North African would be good too.).
-could be all vegetarian, doesn't have to be veggie at all, but probably not a totally meat-focused place.
-small plates might be good considering the odd time of day, but not necessary at all.
-anywhere in Manhattan.
-most importantly, not just somewhere where the kitchen might stay open to serve us at 3, which I'm having enough trouble finding, but somewhere where we won't be lifting out legs for them to mop under while we're sitting there. Somewhere, in other words, that will actually welcome for us mid-afternoon.

-I'm willing to sacrifice a bit on the deliciousness scale in order to meet these requirements, but it does have to be GOOD food if not fabulous.

Any ideas?

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  1. Check out Blue Ribbon Bakery in the west village. They have a very cozy room downstairs (it's their wine cellar, and it's also near their ovens) with a lot of character. Their food is excellent and would be at the high end of your price range. The room downstairs has one big table that would fit the 7 of you, but you would need to have a reservation. Their thing is brunch, so 3pm on a Saturday would still be a busy time for them. They have good plates to share (cheese and meat plates), great breakfast items and very interesting American entrees, including wild game and plenty of delicious veggies.

    1. El Charro Espanol at 4 Charles Street (at Greenwich Ave). Food is always wonderful, Place is warm and cozy, and you'll have a great meal and a great time! They take reservations, and for that odd time of day, I think I'd be sure to call. Just tell them what's going on. Over the years, I've walked in at all sorts of odd times on weekend afternoons and gotten great service.

      1. Petite Abeille and Ditch Plains don't close between lunch and dinner, as far as I know. According to the website, Deborah is open until 4 for lunch on Sunday.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Lucia

          I was about to suggest Petite Abeille. They have a constant flow of people on Sundays from breakfast through dinner and it would actually be on the quiet-ish side at 3:00. I'm specifically thinking of the location at 20th &1st.

        2. That's actually one of favorite times to go to Pastis.

          1 Reply
          1. re: haleyjen

            I was a Pastis 2 weeks ago and the wait around 3 p.m. for 2 was 1 hour. God knows what the wait would be for 7.

          2. Schiller's at the LES, the cheaper sibling of Balthazar may suit and they are open at that time for brunch/lunch and technically will not close but, will halt accepting brunch/lunch menu orders around 5pm. It's a festive place with a great vibe and interesting lay-out. The food is good too...do not forget to order the "Sticky Toffee Pudding" for dessert. I was also thinking that Cafe Sabarsky would be another good spot to go. The Spotted Pig might work too but, I am not sure if they can accomodate a group of 7 at 3pm as they do not accept reservations...but, it is an off hour for them for sure.