Private Party for 12-15, Low Key, Downtown?
I am looking for a good place for my husband's 40th bday. Around 12-15 people, preferably east village/village/soho/lower east side areas. Ideally moderate price, great food, good wine list and low key/relaxed. Favorite foods are mediterranean, turkish, lebanese, tapas.
Any help greatly appreciated!
Thanks for all the advice. In the end we went to Supper.
Before choosing Supper I visited Alta, Pylos, Txikito, 'Inoteca, and Sala.
Sala was the only one I ate at. I found the atmosphere to look run down. But since I was there in the middle of the day I think the natural light didn't do much for the place. The food was good, but only OK. I'd say the quality of the tapas there were pretty middle of the road. So I passed on this one.
I visited Alta and loved the space. I was thinking I was going to go with this place but I either had to pay $1800 for a room fee for the private area, or find space in the restaurant. I was perfectly happy to have us seated in the regular restaurant, but they won't take a reservation for more than 12 people! So I passed on this too.
'Inoteca seemed like a great option but another place that wanted $1800 for a room fee. I want to spend money on food, not the room.
Pylos' menu was very appealing but the layout of the restaurant didn't lend itself too well to a party (long, narrow place)
Txikito in a totally different area of the city but description in NYMag caught my eye so I checked it out. The food looked great but its a very informal space with almost cafeteria style seating so it didn't work.
Then I went to Supper. The back room is absolutely perfect! Very cozy space, you have to walk thru the wine storage to get to it, has its own stereo system and own bathroom, and even a little mini bar. PERFECT setting for a party. And no room fee! Just commit to prix fixe per head beforehand, which was $75pp, included unlimited house red & white wines -- which were actually quite good! The menu initially didn't excite me, seemed very typical red sauce Italian, but reasonably priced. In actuality, the food was very good and got a lot of good compliments from the guests. It certainly was ridiculously plentiful, served family style.
Specifically, really delicious:
veal meatballs (appetizer) -- I could have eaten a dozen of these
burrata mozzarella -- best, stringy/creamy mozzarella I have had
roasted beet salad
prosciutto & pear
pastas (we had wild mushroom, gnocchi, and bacon/tomato)
risotto w/ gorgonzola & pear
salmon with fresh peas
not so good
Veal scallopini -- a little bland. But this isn't my favorite dish in general.
The manager was very helpful and accommodating in customizing the menu to my tastes. We had to pay cash, which just took some advance planning.
Also, I had read reviews on this site criticizing the service there. I had a wonderful experience. Everyone was very nice, helpful, and they were there when we needed them but also left us alone to enjoy the party most of the time.
All in all, very pleased with this choice and would highly recommend to others for parties.
Yes, it could have been $60pp without the wine. Actually since we had a 5 course meal it was very reasonable. Looking at their a la carte menu if you add up all the items it works out about right. Certainly it was a LOT of food, more than I would have ordered for myself as a single meal, but I guess that having us commit to large multi-course meal with prix fixe at that rate is what allows them to avoid charging a room fee. That works for me because I would rather pay for food than for the room.
I went to visit many of the places suggested. I loved the atmosphere at Alta and the menu looked good, but they won't take a reservation for more than 14 unless you commit to a $2000 room fee which I don't want to do (I'd rather spend money on food, not on booking fee). I loved the space at Supper, they don't charge fees for the space, but am a little nervous because reviews of food on other sites are pretty mixed. Any thoughts on the food there?
Which other sites? Some sites are totally useless for reviews, because they're a bunch of anonymous people with no fixed screen names attached. Anyway, I've liked the three or so dinners I've had at Supper, but of course, that means that I haven't yet tried most of their menu.
Alta, Otto, Freemans, 'inoteca, Jane, The Smith, Blue Ribbon Bakery, Stanton Social (although this can get more and more expensive as the night goes on)...Oh, there is a new Boqueria branch downtown. I know the Flatiron one takes reservations for big groups, not sure about the Soho/Nolita one.
More on birthday dinners:
A few places to investigage:
Pylos - Greek - http://www.pylosrestaurant.com
'inoteca - Italian (small plates) - http://www.inotecanyc.com
If you're willing to BYO, Limon is a Turkish restaurant . The space is teensy (about 15 seats), so you could take over the entire restaurant.