Need Impressive place for out-of-towners
I've been tasked with coming up with a great place (or places) to bring a group of non-new yorker friends who are visiting. Of course, since we're going to be a party of 5-8 (not sure yet), it makes it really hard.
As I see it, bringing groups of people on food outings is very difficult because you pretty much have to get wherever you're going ridiculously early. The only place I know that could possibly seat 5-8 people at a regular hour on a weekend night *AND* is outstanding/affordable/unusual:
This group is not looking to spend a lot of money (maybe in the neighborhood of $30/pp). Where else can I suggest?? Any borough is in play here...
p.s. I also made the mistake of telling them about the pancakes at clinton st. baking co., and now they're all dead set on going there for brunch... On sunday. :(
not gonna win any foodie awards but SEA in williamsburg is generally good for the out of towners. huge space, reflecting pool and large buddha, dj spinning, disco ball, crowded. they'll take reservations for larger groups and have big long wood block communal tables avail. even w/o reservations, you can go there, take a number, and hang out at the bar across the street (zablowskis) for an hour or so... periodically sending someone across the street to check your status on an LED ticker. best of all, it's cheap thai food. $4 apps, $8 curries & noodles, $12-$14 entrees. you can tell em it was shown in sex and the city and the movie garden state. touristy but hell, they'll feel like they left their hometowns.
Celeb chef mario batali's Otto in manhattan could also work. Large round tables avail. shareable, reasonably priced pizza (underwhelming), pasta and sides. Bustling, trendy atmosphere. Not as hard a rez as other batali places. Or you can try showing up, get a 'ticket' and wait for it to appear on the train station style seating board while drinking wine up front (best to call and see if it's feasible to walk in on your night).
Again... neither's gonna wow you on the food, but may work otherwise...
You did not mention which day of the week you are looking for, but on weekdays Tempo, on Fifth Avenue, Park Slope, has a $25 prix fixe menu ($35 on Fri-Sat). Best bargain around... maybe anywhere in NY, quality-price wise.
http://www.tempobrooklyn.com/home.htm - check it out.
They seem to serve large groups "all the time".
The space is great, the service is great, the food is great and the wine list is great (IMO, best wine list in Brooklyn, after River Cafe & Peter Luger).
The first time we walked into this place, we could not believe that this was a Brooklyn Restaurant. We felt that, from the decor to the service and the quality of the food & wine list, this place was like a Manhattan restaurant -with Brooklyn prices. We were impressed.
And have been pretty much regulars since.
Note to pizza and Indian connoisseurs: I am not nominating these as the best restaurants in NYC--far from it. However, I offer them up because in a pinch they can accommodate large parties, and offer distinctive experiences for around the price suggested ($30). There are situations in life when one has to compromise...
Awesome-- so my one idea is no good. Have you been there since they remodeled? Actually, now that I think about it, I think they take reservations for parties of 6 or more...
Also: Hill Country. Good option? I've never been, but it's certainly unusual, and most likely memorable...
Any ideas, Widmark?
I've only been there since they remodeled, and a hundred times. It gets packed but they do take reservations so maybe it is a good idea. My other favorite go-to place is Pio Pio in Jackson Heights, tons of fun and dirt cheap. Huge and festive place, totally packed on weekends but maybe they take reservations.