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Fun, good and "moderate" dinner for celebrating

l
lucyj Jun 11, 2008 05:45 PM

I have been searching the boards for a couple of weeks and am still obsessing. Looking for a good place for six girls to go for dinner to celebrate two birthdays and two finishing a two year teaching commitment. For me, I want it to be delicious, as I feel like I don't get to treat myself too often. For them, I want it to be fun and not too expensive (I know a price range would be helpful but these are tough for me- maybe forty to fifty dollars with tax, tip and drinks max). A BYOB would work but we've been to Kuma Inn, Ivo and Lulu and Cube 63. Downtown is preferable. Any cuisine except Thai (one person is highly allergic to all nuts). Probably should be a place where I can get a reservation (did the no res thing last year and don't want to deal with another two hour wait). Have thought about Inoteca, Da Andrea, Freeman's, Nolita House (the list goes on) but am not sold on anything yet. Any advice?

  1. n
    nyc.girl Jul 7, 2008 07:57 PM

    This suggestion might come too late, but I like having tapas when I am with a group of friends. Have you thought about Alta or Degustation? I have not been to either but Chow-ers seem to really like them. They seem like they would be in your price range or perhaps a little more...

    1. c
      chow_gal Jun 13, 2008 08:28 AM

      Try to reserve the 6-top round at Blue Ribbon Brasserie.

      1. s
        shellie Jun 12, 2008 11:43 PM

        I disagree with Clinton Street - it is not "special" for celebrating.

        Your price point is a little low for lots of places - unless you forego appetizers and first courses or desserts. If you share a first course, order one drink and one entree each you could probably do it for $40-50, but I don't know about tips.

        I would suggest Bar Americain - it feels special and has a lot of choices to order. Not over-priced either. Bobby Flay's place on 57th.

        2 Replies
        1. re: shellie
          r
          RGR Jun 13, 2008 12:53 AM

          I totally disagree about Bar Americain. The food we had there was awful. And though the decor is attractive, nothing about the place says "special occasion" to me. Also, Lucy says she prefers downtown, and B.A. is in midtown in the Theater District.

          1. re: RGR
            l
            lucyj Jun 13, 2008 03:55 AM

            Yeah, I've been to Bar Americain, and it's not what we're looking for. The price range is an estimate. Some people will definitely spend more but I want people to be able to spend less. Just trying to get away from the kind of thing where people have to feel uncomfortable about paying a ton of money for everyone's birthday dinners.

        2. r
          RCC Jun 12, 2008 05:13 PM

          French Provencal at La Sirene. BYOB.

          1. r
            rrems Jun 12, 2008 06:40 AM

            Da Andrea is a very good choice.

            3 Replies
            1. re: rrems
              l
              lucyj Jun 13, 2008 03:30 PM

              strongly considering Da Andrea...what's the atmosphere like?

              1. re: lucyj
                r
                rrems Jun 13, 2008 08:28 PM

                It's cozy, very charming, informal.

                1. re: rrems
                  f
                  foodchow Jul 7, 2008 03:44 PM

                  I was recently at Da Andrea -- very good food at extremely reasonable prices.

            2. k
              kobetobiko Jun 11, 2008 09:01 PM

              May be Alta for tapas? Very doable at your price range.

              Freeman's chef left not longer ago so I suggest not to visit so soon.

              3 Replies
              1. re: kobetobiko
                l
                lucyj Jun 12, 2008 03:20 PM

                new thought: Clinton Street Baking Company? I've never been but I've seen on the boards that it's supposed to be good for dinner too, and much easier to get into. Only problem is it looks like they don't have beer or liquor, only wine. Any thoughts on that idea?

                1. re: lucyj
                  k
                  kathryn Jun 12, 2008 06:05 PM

                  They have beer, it's on page 2 of the drinks menu. It is good for dinner but not that celebratory in nature. Dinner is rather low-key. I'd get there on the early side for dinner, there's not many places they can put a 6-top. No reservations, I believe.

                  1. re: kathryn
                    l
                    lucyj Jun 12, 2008 06:14 PM

                    yeah, I guess "not celebratory" is not what I'm looking for....thanks for the advice.

              2. l
                larryfr Jun 11, 2008 08:47 PM

                go italian: otto, lupa, gennaro..

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