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Inexpensive rehearsal dinner options

persimmon Jan 10, 2008 12:11 PM

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. r
    RGR RE: persimmon Jan 10, 2008 07:29 PM

    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
      FNY RE: RGR Jan 10, 2008 07:55 PM

      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
        RGR RE: FNY Jan 10, 2008 08:14 PM

        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
          FNY RE: RGR Jan 10, 2008 09:53 PM

          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. p
      persimmon RE: persimmon Jan 10, 2008 08:09 PM

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

      7 Replies
      1. re: persimmon
        idia RE: persimmon Jan 11, 2008 07:06 AM

        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
          RGR RE: idia Jan 11, 2008 07:41 AM

          Here's West Bank's website: www.westbankcafe.com

          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
            persimmon RE: RGR Jan 11, 2008 10:31 AM

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

            1. re: persimmon
              RGR RE: persimmon Jan 11, 2008 10:45 AM


              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
                persimmon RE: RGR Jan 11, 2008 12:06 PM

                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
                  RGR RE: persimmon Jan 11, 2008 12:25 PM

                  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
                    persimmon RE: RGR Jan 11, 2008 01:23 PM

                    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. m
        maggiej RE: persimmon Jan 11, 2008 12:13 PM

        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: maggiej
          persimmon RE: maggiej Jan 11, 2008 01:24 PM

          Thanks Maggiej.

          1. re: persimmon
            idia RE: persimmon Jan 11, 2008 01:46 PM

            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.

        2. JungMann RE: persimmon Jan 11, 2008 02:10 PM

          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. b
            BW212 RE: persimmon Jan 11, 2008 02:11 PM

            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.

            1. s
              Snaps RE: persimmon Jan 19, 2010 04:52 PM

              Hi - Persimmon, can you tell me where you ended up and how it went? Thanks!

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