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Need help for Family Reunion on UWS

In late August we're taking my mother back to NYC, where she spent her formative years, to celebrate her 85th birthday. Our group (me, husband, and two kids, along with mom) will be staying at the Lucerne Hotel. We're looking for a good place for a Saturday night dinner for a large group -- maybe 20 -25 people -- as we'll be joined by other relatives, some of whom live in NYC, and I'm thinking that a private room would be best, as many of these people haven't seen each other in quite a while and would like ample opportunity to visit. My mother's brother, who is in his 90s but still pretty with it, will be there, so with these seniors (and some children) among us we need a fairly sedate place, I'd think, though I believe we're open to all sorts of food. I know Nice Matin is adjacent to the Lucerne (we've stayed there before); any thoughts on that? And has anyone ever used the Lucerne itself for meetings or gatherings -- they offer such services and I plan to inquire but wouldn't mind some outside opinions. My husband is from NYC and travels there frequently on business so we know how to get around the city; if there's a perfect place other than the UWS that you'd recommend let us know. Thanks in advance for the advice!

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  1. how wonderful. several of my colleagues have stayed at the lucerne when visiting; however, we've never used them for catering. the loved the hotel. although the rooms are small it's a great location.

    nice martin is would probably be fine. not sure if they would take a reservation for 25 people for a saturday night. given the ages of your family members, it may be your best choice (based on your description above) for logistical reasons. the food isn't bad there.

    i also recommend ouest but i am unsure if they will take a reservation for that large of a party. although you said you are open to any cuisine, is there a particular cuisine that your mom enjoys? there are countless places up here.

    1. In terms of food, Nice Matin is fine. I just ate there, yet again, and had a wonderful meal of short rib ravioli as an app, and shrimp w/peas risotto as a main. But Native makes a point re: rese # of people. I don't recall seeing a private room there and 25 would take over a significant part of the restaurant. I don't know their policy on that. Also, if you dont have private room, it may not meet the "sedate" requirement as it gets really busy there at peak times. What about Compass on 70th St? I have seen their private room and the restaurant is the type of atmosphere you require--it not at all like the "crazy busy" bistro scene, which is Nice Matin.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ora

        Compass has gotten great reviews recently as a result of a new chef. I haven't made it there just yet but the great reviews have been very consistent. This is probably worth looking into as it is a 1/2 mile of the Lucerne. Does Telepan have a private room? What about Landmarc at Columbus Circle?

        1. re: nativeNYer

          Second Compass suggestion. They also have a private room.

      2. I know many hounders will jump down my throat for this suggestion, but what about Sambuca on 72nd street? I know the food isn't amazing, but it is certainly eatable, and for me, a guilty pleasure (pasta with vodka sauce, veal parmasean, spagetti and meatballs, etc). This place was made for big family gatherings and I believe they can do a private room for your group in the back. The food is all in big sharable portions and the staff has never been anything but generous and helpful to my family (I grew up across the street and have been going for years. This is def. a lower level option then Nice Matin, but I do think it's a great family joint with yummy Italian food.

        1 Reply
        1. re: zoeterry

          Compass.....have been there numerous times for celebrations with very large parties...they have a beautiful private room...Fine food, beautiful, modern decor and fresh, innovative cuisine. This is a very underrated gem. GO!

        2. What a terrific idea -- it sounds like a lovely "reunion". I know it's not the best food, but Carmine's on the uws does have a private room and they serve family style. (Oh, and I've always wanted to go to the Lucerne since it became a real hotel; I lived there years and years ago when it was an SRO.)

          1. Try the Neptune Room. Great seafood, subdued atmosphere and I think they have a private space.