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Jan 10, 2008 12:11 PM

Inexpensive rehearsal dinner options

Hi everyone,
I am looking for a place to hold our wedding rehearsal dinner this summer. We think it will be about 50 people, and we are looking for something low-key, casual and inexpensive (the wedding will be a more formal seated catered dinner). We've considered Otto and John's pizzeria, but the $50 pp price tag for pizza and beer seems a bit excessive for what you are getting.
Our guests are staying in midtown, but if necessary, we can get them someplace else with a shuttle or bus.
I've searched the boards, but found most of the options were out of our price range, and I was hoping someone had a good suggestion of a neighborhood favorite that just happens to do this kind of thing too.
Any help would be much appreciated!

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  1. Hey, persimmon,

    Trattoria Trecolori, on 47th St., b/t B'way & 8th Av., is our favorite Italian in that area of town. The homestyle fare is well-prepared and very tasty, service is friendly and efficient, and the space has attractive decor. They have a private room upstairs that can accommodate a party your size. Acc. to their website, for that size crowd, they do a buffet, the least expensive of which is $25pp. That includes coffee and tea, but not other beverages. Tax & tip are also additional. Depending on what and how much you drink, this may very well end up costing you $50pp, but at least you'll be getting a lot more than just pizza and beer.

    Best wishes on your upcoming nuptials.

    3 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Try Sel et Poivre. It's a french bistro on the upper east. A friend had her RD there and it was in that price range for a three course meal. I thought it was a nice, relaxed place and the food was good.

      1. re: FNY

        Sel et Poivre is charming and the food's quite decent, but it's rather small. 50 people would probably mean taking over the entire restaurant. Was that the case with your friend?

        1. re: RGR

          She had less than 50 (about 40) so they actually kept a few tables open in the front, but the party dominated the restaurant. For 50 people or more they might close it for the night. BTW, I think they had a price including wine that you may want to look into.

    2. thank you both! exactly the kind of idea I was looking for.

      7 Replies
      1. re: persimmon

        You might also like to google West Bank Cafe. A friend of mine recently took a group there (not 50 people tho!) and he was thrilled with the attention and space in the back that his group was given.
        Anyway, it' worth a look-see.

        1. re: idia

          Here's West Bank's website:

          That back area is way too small to accommodate 50 people. Not more than a dozen, iirc. I'm not sure if they have a private room. But the restaurant overall is certainly large enough to accommodate 50. Delicious New American cuisine, friendly staff, and very nice atmospherics.

          1. re: RGR

            Looks amazing, but expensive...still, it is probably worth a call.

            1. re: persimmon


              Your remark that West Bank is "expensive" shows exactly how much people can differ on their perceptions of cost. For us, it's in the moderate to, perhaps, upper moderate category. That's why when anyone asks for restaurant recommendations, it's important for them to provide a per person budget, at least for food. In any event, for a large group, maybe West Bank would do some sort of prix-fixe for you.

              1. re: RGR

                Absolutely. For dinner -- I would put West Bank in the "moderate" range too! It looks like a great suggestion.
                I thought I had implied--though not directly stated -- (above) that I was looking around 50 pp with alcohol included. Looking at their regular menu, I would guess it would be more in the 65-70 range (including drinks). That said -- it really does look great, and I'm definitely going to give them a call. I really appreciate all the help.

                1. re: persimmon

                  I'm never sure exactly how alcohol consumption is included when determining a per person budget figure. If you're looking for 50pp, including drinks, what proportion would be for food? And what about tax & tip? Are we presuming they are additional? If so, at nearly 9% + 20% respectively, they can add quite a bit to the final cost.

                  1. re: RGR

                    Well, looking at John's pizza, their basic package was around $23 per person (just for food.) Alcohol added another $22 per person. (two hours of beer and wine only, which many group dining menus list as a flat rate.) With tax and tip, I was getting around $2800 (for 50p) I think.

      2. What about Frankies Spuntino in Carroll Gardens?
        It's a great restaurant, and they have a barn out back for group dining events
        Family style, three courses for $35/person according to the website.

        2 Replies
          1. re: persimmon

            Okay. I think I've got the picture now.
            Try googling La Fenice at 68th & Broadway. You can definitely come under West Bank Cafe prices at this neighborhood Italian place.

        1. What about renting out Alta? They offer their entire menu for parties of 7+ at $350. You might be able to put together a package with the restaurant around $50 a head for some fantastic food. In Midtown, Xing would also be a great choice.

          For something a little different, a pig roast at Daisy May's might be low-key and unique. Park Blue is a little more upscale and their most economical package comes in at $50pp. I've also heard good things about Latitude, but be forewarned that it's a bar.

          1. Check out Apple in the Village by NYU. It's Asian, some American, some vegetarian. It's a big cool funky space (interesting for out of towners), with a private room and a bar.