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Driving myself a wee bit nuts...recommendations for casual yet high-quality biz lunch

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Ok,

The specs, yes the specs...I am hoping that the proven sharp minds and palates that frequent this site can provide some much needed insight into my little quandry...Thanks in advance!!!!

Background: taking my staff, a couple colleagues and my boss to dinner for our annual outing...Myself and my staff (who this really is for) is in their 20's and 30's. Colleages and boss in 40's and 50's

Back to the ole specs:

1/ Fabuloso food (preferably New American, Italian, possibly French, open to other ideas)
2/ Casual, fun yet very well informed (meaning the servers) vibe
3/ Price Range: Entrees in upper teens to low 20's
4/ Can seat a party up to 9 people together at...
5/ 4PM on a Monday
6/ Do not want to be limited to a prix fixe menu
7/ Wine list with some great less expensive offerings

Here are some initial thoughts...none are perfect though...

1/ Gramercy Tavern - Tavern room (no reservations and largest table is 7 people)

2/ Blue Ribbon - a teensy bit more expensive than i was hoping and largest table for 8

3/ Artisanal - again, a bit more expensive and not convinced that this would be the place for folks who are not neccesarily cheese afficiando's

4/ Lupa - my original choice, but it seems (frustratingly so) that they require a prix fixe menu (at 4 pm mind you!) if your party is larger than 6

Thanks again!

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  1. Seems to me the biggest hitch in your list is the time -- 4 p.m. That means you pretty much need a restaurant that stays open all afternoon. The place that I immediately thought of is Trattoria Trecolori. Going down your list:

    1. While I wouldn't describe the homestyle Italian food served there as "fabuloso," it is very well-prepared and delicious, especially the pastas.

    2. Servers are friendly, efficient, and knowledgeable about the menu.

    3. Prices definitely fit your budget.

    4. Their new location, on 47th St., b/t B'way & 8th Av., is spacious with attractive decor, and they can easily accommodate a party of up to 9.

    5. They are open on Monday and serve throughout the afternoon, so a 4 p.m. reservation is doable.

    6. The same menu is served all day. It's strictly a la carte. Plus, there are daily specials.

    7. Since I don't drink, I'm not very familiar with their wine list. But my husband, who does drink, is satisfied with the wine selections and prices.

    http://www.trattoriatrecolori.com

    1. Price range may creep up, but what about Balthazar? and I'm not sure about the 4 PM thing, but I like Gonzo.

      2 Replies
      1. re: susan robin

        Exactly what I was going to suggest...Balthazar for sure, if possible...

        1. re: susan robin

          Ditto both! Love Gonzo!

        2. why dont you give Landmarc a try? they have a fairly priced menu with an phenomenally cheap wine list...sounds very close to what you're looking for.

          -foodie
          http://edibleincome.blogspot.com

          1 Reply
          1. re: foodieforthought

            I doubt that Crispo is open at 4 (is that time etched in stone?) Except for the time factor, it meets all your criteria.
            If you can do 5 pm, I would strongly suggest that you check it out. Not only is the price right, but the ambience, service and delicious food are top notch.
            They have a small garden area in the back.