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Boyfriend's surprise birthday dinner.

This is my dilemma.

My boyfriend's birthday is in about 2-3 weeks. Since we started dating, we usually celebrated each others birthdays together. This year, I plan on doing something a little different. I'd like to invite a bunch of his friends to surprise him on his special day. The only problem is the location. I HAVE NO CLUE WHICH RESTAURANT TO GO TO! I'd also like to state that his friends are on very tight budgets due to school and can not spend much on dinner.

The place I'm looking for should be $-$$, with a menu for everyone to enjoy. I'm planning on inviting a group of maybe 8-12 people. There are people who might not come, but in any case, the place should be able to accommodate groups of 5+ and instill severe drooling before eager consumption! Both my boyfriend and I are huge fans of Asian cuisine, so anything centered around that would be most appreciated as I think everyone will enjoy it.

The only place I have in mind so far is BonChon Chicken in K-Town. I've heard their chicken may be expensive, but worth it. I'm just not sure how expensive.

I'd VERY much appreciate any help you may offer. Thank you!

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  1. hi...it'll help if you specify an approximate dollar amt per person, including drinks/tax/tip, as different hounds ideas of $-$$ will vary...

    i've never been to BonChon but i can't imagine it'd be too pricey...i like going to K-town occassionally, but some of the places can make you feel rushed so i'd recommend exploring a bit before choosing...my recent fav there is BCD Tofu...you might want to check it out as a possibility, although i don't know if any of the tables will seat 8-12...

    there are also many places in Chinatown which might work...Congee Village has a festive feel and could be fun for a bday...they'll even give you a private room if you like...

    10 Replies
    1. re: Simon

      Ideally, perhaps about 15-20 dollars, per person? With the option of spending less than 15 for a drink, or appetizer. Is this entirely impossible?

      1. re: Simon

        I immediately thought of Congee Village, but I'd note that they require a hefty deposit of half the minimum charge for each private room. The unrelated Congee (Bowery between Hester and Grand) has a semi-private party room that could be worth checking into as an alternative.

        1. re: Pan

          well, they could do Congee Village and not get a private room...(might be more fun that way anyway)...

          i had a poor experience at the unrelated Congee a few years ago...

          1. re: Simon

            What kind of poor experience?

            I should mention that I've had food from both places several times in the last few months and have found it consistently good.

            I think a group of 8-12 would be fine in the main room of Congee Village, but no way on a weekend. A reservation is absolutely essential on Friday or Saturday night, to avoid a really long wait, and even with a reservation, a wait is possible.

            1. re: Pan

              Congee Village is something consider. I suppose I should have specified, but I'm hoping to take him to a Japanese/Korean restaurant, not that there is anything wrong with Chinese cuisine. Just a mood preference.

              1. re: annapathy

                I don't think you can do Korean for $20/person very easily, let alone $15; otherwise, I'd recommend Madangsui, which will blow your budget for sure. You could do Japanese if you do ramen, for example at Ippudo.

                1. re: Pan

                  Splendid idea, however, he took me there for my birthday. I'd really like for us to try something new.

                  1. re: annapathy

                    How about thai? Lantern in the east village is delicious and you can get out the door ordering curry + and app for like $12-$18.

                    Not asian, but totally delicious and cheap if you go during happy hour (drinks are like $8 and it's 2 for one) is Paladar in LES. Has my favorite empanadas in the whole city. Order off of their tapas menu, make sure to get the empanadas and the sopes. yum.

                    1. re: nataliya.v

                      I've been to BonChon for a friend's bday party w around 10-12 people, about ~$60 a head (+ $ drinks at bar b4 everyone got there) for few plates of kfc and maybe 7 rounds of soju. A bit cramped, upscale atmosphere, can fit ~10 people intimately in the booths.
                      How bout that Thai Place on St Marks between the Oh Tai shos?
                      Been to several bdays at Congee in private rooms, alot more relaxed and fun and u can't beat $5 drinks!!!

                      1. re: nataliya.v

                        I'm not familiar with Lantern. Where is it, and what have you liked there? How spicy is their food, and is it sweetened for American tastes?

        2. Perhaps Kuma Inn in the LES? It's a small, intimate room, with some great Asian tapas. It's all BYOB (though they do charge a small corking fee) so that should definetly keep the tab low.

          1 Reply
          1. re: quizkiddonniesmith

            kuma inn won't take reservations for mare than 4 people

          2. Might want to try Jeollado, Korean and Japanese entrees about $10
            http://www.jeolladosushi.com/korea-1.htm

            1 Reply
            1. re: misnatalie

              I went there years ago and found it merely OK to good, though festive. Of course, that was a LONG time ago.