40th birthday dinner, Beverly area
I'll be in the Boston area with friends, the first weekend in May, and we're looking or a place for a 40th birthday dinner/party, for about 12 adults, 2 babies, and 2 medium sized kids.
We're coming from different parts of the country and the birthday girl doesn't know we're coming.
We are mostly family and a few friends. Four are women requiring special handling, who will not order straight off the menu, and are guaranteed to find something to complain about, no matter the quality of the location, service, or food.
Good wine is a requirement, because one is a winemaker with significant experience, reputation, and attitude.
The rest are people who like good food.
As the evening goes on, there is a good chance the family will devolve into discussions and arguments reaching the shouting stage.
So we need a place with a relatively large private area, great flexibility, a wide variety of choice and price, and child friendly.
Given multiple choices, no one will agree on where to go. The discussion will reach a standoff, at which point one of the sane people will say, "No one can decide, so this is where we're going." We need to have this place planned in advance.
Is there such a place ?
Thank you for any recommendations you can give.
I would suggest Eurostoves in North Beverly. It is not exactly a restaurant, it is more of a cooking school, but it is great. I was at a party there for a group that has wildly different tastes and the night went great. The place is large and there are lots of little things to do to help prepare the meal...we had kids working on making pasta, grandparents decorating a cake, etc. I believe it is BYOB. When we went there were 10 of us and they had one cook and one clean up person, both very friendly and very nice. You can choose the menu and can have a couple different courses so people will find something to eat. It would be a bold move but it would make for a really memorable night...
--Capital Grille just opened up at a the Wayside Commons in Burlington--always great wine there and you may even possible get a semi private room there.
--FINZ in salem, i think, is a pretty good. Its in Pickering Wharf in salem and i think it has a great atmospehere. Its a pretty open restaurant and have dined there a bunch of times--relaxing atmospehere, good for people of all ages, inlcuding children. The food is pretty conisistent. As a lobstor ravioli fanatic, i think their rendition is quite delish. The wine list is pretty good sized too. There is a little something for everyone on the menu---from raw bar to chicken. This may be a good choice for your type of group if you dont decide to take a ride into boston.
Enjoy your stay in Bevtown.
Depending on how casual ...and how good the food has to be...Bertucci's might be an option. The one in Peabody, on Rt 1, has a back room that would be perfect and they have just added a grill for steaks.etc. Your boisterous family couldn't possibly be out of place there. The wine list isn't great but there are a few acceptable wines at decent prices.
Much more a last resort than a special birthday destination.
There's a steakhouse - I think it might be Pellana's? - in Peabody/Danvers area, and a new place, Tryst, that a friend just went to last weekend and said she had a great dinner. Don't know about the wine list or size of the latter.
I was going to say Toscana in Peabody, but it's Italian so that's the whole variety. Nice room in back tho and very accomodating owners. But if you are open to Boston, this thread will probably now fly with tons of real chowish recs. Maybe repost with Boston in title and you will get swarmed with answers. I know there are some places with major wine cellars etc.