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Oct 20, 2007 05:36 PM

Birthday lunch/brunch suggestions

Hey 'hounders,

I'm planning on my birthday weekend lunch or brunch for six people (the most). I know it's a relatively large group but I would like to know your suggestions on where's good to eat with this particular number.

In terms of food preferences, I'm planning to invite foodies so we're flexible on that. Price range: under $30 pp without drinks. Location? Anywhere in Manhattan but prefer downtown.

Thanks in advance!


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  1. Hi Tina,
    I just threw my sister a brunch baby shower at the Cornelia Street Cafe and we had a great time. We had 13 people in our group and at $25 per person for a full brunch menu which consisted of a breakfast pastry, a choice from a variety of brunch entree, a choice of coffee or tea, AND fresh OJ, champagne, mimosa, bloody mary, or screwdriver (plus tax and 20% tip), it was very affordable. Everything we tried were very good. They even printed out our own special menu with our event title on top. We had a larger group so we had to get the prix fixe menu, but I think for a smaller group you can order a la carte, or even the brunch special for $16 which includes the food mentioned above. The manager and the staff were organized and friendly (but not uncomfortably so) and the atmosphere was cozy and pleasant. We got there around 11am and was half full but by 12 o'clock the place was packed with people waiting outside. I would definitely consider this place again for a large group event, and I think for your group of 6, this place would be great. Plus the neighborhood is so nice and Cornelia Street is quaint so sitting outside or near the window would be nice during a sunnier warmer day.

    By the way, the cafe looks much much better in person then the photos on their website.

    2 Replies
    1. re: molamola

      That's great to hear the handled a group so well. I've always found their food to be very consistent, with plenty of specials to keep the menu interesting.

      1. re: molamola

        We've rediscovered Cornelia Street Cafe recently. We have not dined there in a group larger than 4. The place has been around for 30 years so it's not hip and trendy just good/consistent (based on my experiences).

      2. - Pastis (communal table)
        - The Neptune Room (communal table)
        - Freemans (they have a private room)
        - Jane (private room downstairs)
        - Devin Tavern (huge space)
        - Tasting Room (they have a big communal table, some booths)
        - Morandi (also quite large)
        - 'inoteca
        - Five Points (space for larger parties is in back -- there's a tables and a booth)
        - Blue Ribbon Bakery (they can seat bigger groups downstairs).

        1. What do you think of Blaue Gans for brunch?

          1 Reply
          1. re: chocokitty

            We've had brunch there twice and thoroughly enjoyed it. One of them was for Mother's Day.

            The first time we ordered the pastry basket but we ended up with too much food. You would be much better off skipping that and having a strudel or one of their other desserts at the end of your meal.

            I recommend the Kaiserschmarren and the pork & veal sausage that comes with a hot pretzel. And I also like the Wiener Schnitzel Sandwich as well as the Palatschinken.

          2. I highly recommend Fleur de Sel for the $29 3-course lunch prix-fixe. Superb contemporary French cuisine, excellent wine list, professional service, and lovely ambiance.


            Happy Birthday and Bon Appetit!

            4 Replies
            1. re: RGR

              Thanks RGR!
              I knew somehow you're going to mention Fleur but I don't know...I don't mind going there again (I went there last year for RW and the experience was quite good) but some of my friends would prefer something a bit different.

              What I mean as in "different" was that yesterday a few of the people I'm planning to invite, went to Fatty Crab with me and thoroughly enjoyed the food. I would say Momofuku Ssam but then again, I ate there a few weeks ago and I don't want to do another round of Bo Ssam.

              I guess they want something fusion-like food or something bold in terms of flavor?
              Please help! I'm running out of ideas!

              1. re: chocokitty

                Hi Tina,

                If you like something fusion-like and you enjoy Ssam Bar, why don't you just go to Momofuku Noodle Bar for lunch? You don't need to order the ramen (which is not really that special other than the pork), and instead you order all the other dishes like the seafood and the vegetable. They are different dishes compared to Ssam Bar, but still bold in flavor and delicious!

                If another visit to Momofuku's stores is too "soon" for you, you may also consider Shilla in Korean Town, Highline for Thai, or Gyu-kaku for Japanese BBQ.

                Hill Country will offer something bold in flavor but not fusion-like.

                Happy Birthday!

                1. re: kobetobiko

                  Hi Kobe,

                  Thanks for both the recommendations and the birthday wish! :)

                  Highline looks very tempting. What would you recommend eating there?

                2. re: chocokitty

                  Maybe go for Indian? Or trek out to Queens for Sichuan or Thai...

              2. I like Jane, Blue Water Grill and the Odeon for an inexpensive and good brunch which will definitely take a reservation for 6. If you want to go totally off the traditional brunch track, sushi samba has an interesting brunch as does kittichai. Or you could always do Dim Sum at a place like dim sum a gogo which is inexpensive and fun.