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next sunday night for 7 - where to book?

i need to get reservations for a 7 for this sunday night. its a celebratory event and price is not much of an issue. we've failed to get reservations at a couple places already (jean-georges is closed for dinner on sundays, craft and emp don't have tables, a few others can't accomodate a group our size). so i've sort of gone back to the drawing board. its occurred to me that for our group italian is a fairly good idea, there is one very picky eater in the group (mostly noodles or rice), and one that is not as picky but generally prefers italian. our general critera are:

quite good food
italian is good, but not completely necessary
good for parents (nice atmosphere, not too loud)
versatlie (there are options for picky eaters)
reasonable price (i realize the options listed above are very expensive, but i think it would be nice to get out for less than $100 a head, and anything under that is nice if it meets the requirements.
and finally, it must be possible to get a reservation for 7!

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  1. btw, i have been looking into a few italian places already - crispo, cesca, esca lupa, and am open to thoughts on those or other suggestions.

    i should also say that i am obviously more interested in the food, but some other party members are more interested in the atmosphere (my girlfriend wants to accomodate everyone, her parents would probably want some place "impressive" in terms of service and decor, and her brother and his girlfriend are the picky eaters)

    3 Replies
    1. re: aahnnt

      I'm not sure what their prices are like, but you might want to look into L'Impero - a lot of good reviews of it on this board and my BIL/SIL enjoyed their food and first vist there about a month ago.

      1. re: MMRuth

        L'Impero. Absolutely. We have been there 3 times, the most recent last Friday, and have been very happy with it. Food, atmosphere, service are all excellent.

      2. re: aahnnt

        I recently hosted a dinner for seven at 'Cesca. Overall I was satisfied. Good food, reasonable sound level, a round table, which I LOVE for dinner parties.

        My main issue was that the service could lag at times. Granted, we as a group kind of had our own pace but as the host there were a couple of times where I felt frustrated in not being able to get any service. I'm not so sure it's always so much better at other restaurants at this level but I just figured I would give you full disclosure. Yes, when I've dined at Le Bernardin I found the service absolutely impeccable. But they are a in a different league, imo.

      3. There's an opening at Park Ave. Spring (I just booked a 6:30 there for Sunday)

        www.thelunchbelle.com

        9 Replies
        1. re: LeahBaila

          park ave spring didn't seem to have an opening for 7 that i could see, and unfortunately l'impero is closed on sunday (though it looked great!).

          i did manage to get reservations for craftbar, bar room at the modern and maze - all of which seem to offer some variety for the various parties. what do you think of those places?

          1. re: aahnnt

            Sorry about L'Impero. They used to be open on Sundays. I checked Alto, which has the same owners and chef, and they are apparently closed on Sundays too. Since Italian is not an absolute requirement, how about Compass?

            1. re: rrems

              ick. Compass is boring and bland. How about Balthazar?

              1. re: chadradchad

                You'll find many people who would disagree with you, right here on this board. I've never had bland food at Compass, and the menu has interesting choices for the foodies, and simple grilled choices for the "picky" eaters. I have not been to Balthazar, but from what I've read my impression is that the atmosphere is not exactly quiet and subdued.

            2. re: aahnnt

              I really like the Modern but I've not eaten in the bar room, only the main area, and from what I udnerstand the bar room is inferior. Did you check into Abboccato? Solid upscale Italian in midtown - I really enjoyed the one lunch I had there. I'm not sure if they're open on Sunday, though. I second the Balthazar rec, too - love that place.

              1. re: aahnnt

                I would say no to craftbar. Been there a couple of times because they do cater to big groups, but have been rather unimpressive every time.
                Maze and bar room at the modern are good choices though.
                I've never been but there's been good reviews on insieme for Italian food too.
                www.orderinny.com

                1. re: xigua

                  I have been to Compass on a Sunday and it is a good place if your group includes older diners who may find Balthazar a bit crazy. The food was very good, and wine is 50% off on Sundays. My only complaint was the dismal service.

                  1. re: xigua

                    in what way was craftbar unimpressive. i know that various people on this board are saying that, which is too bad because the menu looks good (there is a good mix of appetizers, mains, veggies, etc that would seem ideal to cater to varying interests)

                    unfortunately the reservation at maze, which was tentative based on their getting back to me once their system was functional, fell through.

                    1. re: aahnnt

                      Craftbar's menu execution can be spotty. Sometimes good, sometimes too salty, overcooked, and generally poorly prepared.

              2. I went to Frederick's Downtown a couple weeks ago with a group of 10 and the food was fantastic. Everyone loved it.

                Also, what about Olives in union square? they have a great upstairs with large tables. I've been there multiple times and it's always been fantastic.
                http://www.toddenglish.com/

                1. thanks for suggestions all! it turns out there is another dinner with a similar cross section of people to be next tuesday for 12. for this one i think we are going to take the compass suggestion (though i think my gf is inquiring about telepan as well).

                  as for sunday for 7, i still have the reservations for bar room, craftbar and crispo - and am awaiting feedback from the gf on what she wants to do. i'll pass along the suggestions here to her!