Upscale dinner for large group?
In January, I'll be coming into Chicago for work, and we'll be hosting a dinner for 16-18 people, so I'm looking for a restaurant that can handle a group of that size, preferably with a private or semi-private room. Last winter, I was in a similar situation and someone else booked us in a private room at N9NE Steakhouse, which was great but I'm not really looking for a place to be seen this time. And it doesn't have to be a steakhouse, I'll consider a variety of cuisines. The most important things are being able to serve a large group, and (relative) proximity to our meeting at S. Dearborn and Adams - most of the places I've read about here are either in or near the Loop or up near Lincoln Park, both of which are fine.
So far Boka, May Street Market, North Pond, Sepia, and Sweets & Savories are on my list (not sure if they have private rooms but menus look good). What should I add? Thanks, everyone!
Haven't been to Sepia. Sweets & Savories might have a tough time fitting a large group in there and it is not very convenient to Dearborn/Adams. May Street Market is excellent -- not sure about groups. Boka left me somewhat unimpressed.
Some other options: I believe Blackbird has a private room. You won't find better food and it's relatively convenient to Dearborn/Adams. Other restaurants that are very good and which I believe have private rooms include: One Sixtyblue, Naha and MK.
Places with private rooms usually say so on their websites, and usually say how many they will seat. They also usually give the name of a contact whom you can call, not only to discuss the menu, but also to arrange to take a look at the space in advance, if you like.
For a large group, I strongly recommend a place you can walk to from your meeting, rather than one which will require everyone to pile into a bunch of cabs. Here are three such places.
Trattoria No. 10 ( www.trattoria10.com ) has excellent Italian food. Their website says they have private rooms and can arrange for groups of 12 people up to 250.
Another possibility is Atwood Cafe ( www.atwoodcafe.com ), in the Hotel Burnham, which has excellent upscale American food. Their website says "For smaller private events, please ask about our new private room, The Reliance Room. Our Semi private area of the dining room can hold up to 25 people for a sit-down dinner or 40 for cocktails and appetizers."
If money is no object, Everest ( www.everestrestaurant.com ) is one of the very best restaurants in Chicago, and they have private rooms as well. The setting at the top of the Midwest Stock Exchange Building is impressive, and the food and service are spectacular; I've had some of my very best meals ever there. Business attire (jacket/tie) is appropriate in the main dining room but I don't know if that would apply in a private dining room.
All three of these places are within 2-3 blocks of Dearborn/Adams. Nothing against the other places you mention, but again, it's so much easier for a large group to walk a couple blocks and not have to deal with cabs or parking.
I would look into MK. They might be just what you are looking for. The food is excellent, and the dining room is segmented as to provide a semi private area for larger groups.
For something a little more interesting, check out Tizi Melloul. They have a really cool round private room where you are seated close to the floor on pillows.
I wanted to update you on what happened. We did end up going to Sepia as our party dwindled to 11, and they were able to get us seated on one of the long tables. Food was fantastic! And the service was just fine.
We also had a smaller dinner on our first night in town at May St. Market, also very good. Thanks for the recs! I'll be visiting again in late February and will try to get to some of the other places mentioned in this thread.