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Fun place, really good food and service, downtown, for my daughter's 23rd birthday. We'll be a party of about 8...

any suggestions? Anything but steak.

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  1. How much do you want to pay?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Pan

      really, whatever. Without drinks $50-75/pp ?

      1. re: lzcrane

        Do you live in the vicinity of NYC or will you all be visiting from elsewhere? Knowing this may help us choose a spot. Thanks.


        1. re: LeahBaila

          We live in LA, but my daughter has lived in the city for the last 4 years...however, on a student budget, she hasn't been to many of the better restaurants. She likes ethnic food, but really anything. We'd like to go somewhere with either a private room or at least the ability to talk a bit...

        2. re: lzcrane

          Another question that can help us narrow down the choices, because there are still loads and loads of restaurants in Manhattan within your current criteria:

          Which restaurants has your daughter liked before?

      2. It probably would help to know what restaurants the birthday girl has liked in the past, but, without that info, here are some suggestions off the top of my head:

        Buddakan (Chelsea): well-executed, upscale, exotic decor, pan-Asian

        Stanton Social (Lower East Side): trendy among the twenty-something set, Asian-inspired eclectic menu of creative small and larger plates that are intended for sharing, pretty and laid-back decor, cool cocktails

        Balthazar (SOHO): very popular and always packed, large upbeat brasserie with Belgo-French Euro menu and terrific seafood towers. The patisserie items are also very good. Good luck!

        2 Replies
        1. re: vvvindaloo

          I don't love Balthazar (we went to their sister restaurant in the meatpacking district a few years ago and nobody was very excited about it...). Stanton Social sounds absolutely PERFECT, but I just called and can't get in (this is for 2 weeks from now.) I'll try Buddakan... I love the small dish/sharing idea -- any other thoughts?

          1. re: lzcrane

            I was going to suggest Stanton Social, but what about Alta? It's also small plates, has a fun atmosphere, and the food is great.

          1. re: JamesKirkland

            I take it, that's the name of a place? First I've heard of it; please tell us more.

          2. Mercer Kitchen or Lure Fishbar would be fun for a group.

            2 Replies
            1. re: UWStoSONO

              I'll second Lure Fishbar, though, while the yacht decor is pretty cool, the overall ambiance is a bit less "fun" than at some other places.

              1. re: vvvindaloo

                lure has been a good choice for me to bring both my parents and friends out together for dinner. the crowd is very mixed age-wise, chic enough for the kids, classic enough for the adults.

                buddakan and mercer kitchen would be other good please-all suggestions.

            2. Alta, on West 10th street. Also small plates, and I find the atmosphere a bit less crazy than Stanton Social.

              1. Kingswood in west village is fun (a little loud). Vento, in the meatpacking district, has been around for a while, but good consistent food. easy to fit a group. ive always like Employees Only on west side.

                1. Maybe Rayuela? Not sure if it has enough fun factor.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                    One more thing -- we came close to choosing Lure -- they were very lovely to deal with. We had also thought seriously of Bacaro (another private room) but they were so arrogant that it wasn't worth it. FYI.

                  2. thanks, everyone -- for your wonderful suggestions. We had the dinner last week (it ended up being 14 people!) and we ended up at Aroma Kitchen and Wine Bar. It was absolutely wonderful -- great food (my husband didn't love his meat loaf, but why he ordered meat loaf at an Italian restaurant, I don't know...). The appetizers were terrific, entrees (mostly fish and pasta) were delicious, wine list was great, and the service and event manager couldn't have been more helpful. Beautiful room (the private room downstairs where they often sit smaller parties) is lovely (see their website) and the area is quite hip. Highly recommended!
                    BTW -- the very best molten chocolate cake-lets I've ever had. I don't know what kind of fabulous chocolate they used, but they were amazing. They have these cheese-stuffed meatballs that were great, too.