Private Party - VERY limited budget
Obviously this probably limits me to lunch or brunch, but does anyone have a suggestion for a not to expensive place for about 12-15 people. It is for my wife's 30th birthday.
The specifics: Lunch or brunch anywhere in Manhattan looking to spend no more than $40-$50 per person to include meal, tax, tip and alcohol. Private room a plus but not necessary if restaurant is not too loud.
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You could do dinner at China1 in the east village and get away with $40-$50 a head...I was there with a party of 14 for a 27th bday...they had the perfect table (everyone could talk evethough it was square-ish), great music, accomadating service, and we got a ton of alcohol and food for $51 per person
You may want to try Jane (on Houston Street) for a brunch. It is an upbeat and nice atmosphere, and the servers are great. They have a big (and delicious!) brunch menu for about $15 a dish, which includes a bloody mary/mimosa/screwdriver. A great choice for a birthday brunch! Below is the menu:
Fleur de Sel serves superb French cuisine in a space with lovely ambiance. They have a 3-course lunch prix-fixe for $25 that is available every day (incl. Sat. & Sun.). To keep within your stated budget, you will probably have to be very careful with your wine options. But certainly worth checking out.
Devi, the upscale Indian restaurant, has some of the best Indian cuisine around. Lunch Mon.-Sat. is a 3-course prix-fixe for $24.07. There are many choices, and the dishes are taken directly from the regular dinner menu. It's a big space on two levels with unique, elegant decor.
Cibo, on the corner of 2nd Av. & 41st St., serves very good Tuscan/New American cuisine.
Their prix-fixe menus, including the one for dinner, can fit your budget. Very nice atmospherics. There are two dining rooms + a separate bar room. They do private functions, but I don't know what kind of seating arrangements they would make with 12-15 people.
Turkish Kitchen has a 4-course lunch prix-fixe for $13.95 weekdays, and a Sunday brunch buffet for $21.95. The food is excellent, and the decor is very attractive. The space is on two levels, and I'm guessing they would put a large group such as your upstairs.
I just was at a brunch for 12 at The Essex at 120 Essex this past weekend. They put us upstairs in the back. Really nice bright space, some offbeat choices for brunch food, and 3 bloody marys or mimosas, all for $15 - $20.