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Jan 24, 2008 08:28 AM

Party for 50-60 in Stamford/Westchester area

I'm planning a party for 50-60 in the Stamford/Westchester region. It's for my dad's 80th birthday. I'd like something special, somewhat elegant, but hopefully not stuffy. Atmosphere is important, but so is food -- we all love excellent food. It would be for a Saturday night dinner. My budget is roughly $100 per person, maybe a little more. It would be a cocktail hour with drinks and hors d'/pass-arounds, then a seated dinner.

Here are the places that I'm considering:

Blue Lemon, in Westport
Ocean 211, in Stamford
La Cremaillere, in Bedford
Valbella, in Riverside
Barcelona, in SoNo
Bistro 22, in Bedford

I've thought of, but eliminated, Blue Hill (too expensive), Dressing Room (ditto), Dragonfly Lounge (buffet only), La Bretagne (no Saturdays available), and Thomas Henklemann (needs either 35 for private room or 100 to take over).

I heard that Emily Shaw's has re-opened, but I think I also heard that it's now more of a pub-type of place.

Does anyone have any opinions about these options? Or are there any good ones, with private party rooms, that I've overlooked? I'd greatly appreciate the expert feedback from my fellow Chowhounds!


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  1. Other thoughts... Silvermine Tavern, Stonehenge, Cobbs Mills Inn, Le Chateau... these were always the old stand-bys...are they getting too stuffy these days, or are they still relevant?

    Beth, replying to myself

    1 Reply
    1. re: pixellle

      pixellle, Valbella is now also in Eastchester.I've only been to La Cremaillere, and they were excellent, ages ago. But I 'think' I've read here that they are not as special as they used to be. Same with The Arch in Brewster, which would have been my recommendation. They are apparently now not what they were formerly.

      That's a nice budget, but I honestly cannot think of an 'elegant' place with very good food.

      I've heard good things about Le Chateau. I'm sure you'll get other responses.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. P

        What a wonderful gesture. Jfood has been to all of these but Blue Lemon:

        On the price spectrum La Cremaillere and Valbella are in the same price point as Henklemann's, very high price point. Ocean 211 right below, then Bistro 22 and least expensive would be Barcelona.

        Atmosphere, if you are looking for absolutely snooty, you are doing them a favor type of place, Valbella and LC get the nod as well. Personally jfood does not like spending mucho bucks and then feel like he's doing the resto a favor. The food at Valbella; you will get very diverse views on from many on these boards. jfood is in the DNR camp, he has never eaten an entree that was worth half the price. Likewise jfood went to LC a couple of years ago with a client 50-person dinner and it was nicknamed La Crummy-air by many. Very formal, food OK, better than Valbella, but jfood "had another commitment" when the dessert menu was brought over, life's too short for that sorta treatment..

        Ocean 211 is great fish, nice atmosphere, nice owners and would be a nice venue, 'cept the parking for 80 year olds is down the block after the movie theatre or valet in the Marriott Courtyard a few doors down (very slow in retrieving cars). Bistro 22 is one resto that people forget about, and jfood had a good meal there with friends a couple of years back. Parking is right there, a little out of the way but easy to get to from 684. Barcelona is a jfood favorite, but be aware that the SONO location for 50-60 people would require the entire back room with the wine fridge (jfood loves this room) but there are some stairs to get to this room. Likewise parking is either in the lot behind the movie theatre or at the Aquarium lot both are a bit of a walk for this age group.

        Price points for $100/person. Jfood would guess with wine LC may not get there, Valbella might, Ocean should, Bistro and Barcelona, yup.

        It's unfortunate that The Inn at Pound Ridge sold. Dorothy, the previous owner was a wonderful hostess for events, jfood had several there over the years and the main floor would be perfect for this type of event.

        Have you considered these as well:

        Bernards or Elms in Ridgefield
        Sole or Bonne Nuit in New Canaan
        Market in Stamford (have not been yet but getting good press)
        Match in SONO (jfood did not like but others on the boards really do)
        Schoolhouse in Wilton (also not yet been yet)
        Rebeccas in G'wich (may be on the high end of the price range)

        Pixelle has some good options as well, but Le Chateau may not meet the non-stuffy requirement. The only saving grace when the jfood were there last time was the waiter used to work at Sole and they knew each other. So most of the formality/snootyness was lessened and it was more enjoyable.

        Good luck and hope this helps.