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Apr 18, 2009 05:47 PM

Graduation Dinner near Wash. Sq. Park

Hi Chowhounders,

I am looking for a fun restaurant for 8-12 people to eat and drink and celebrate my graduation. The only requirements are that it can accommodate our group comfortably, has delicious food and drinks, and is in walking distance of Washington Square Park (we can walk pretty far if its worth it). Thanks Everybody!

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  1. Hi there, Congrats. You can try Otto or Chinatown Brasserie. Village is also not far from Washington Square Park.

    1. Otto is a good suggestion. Of course, if you have enough advance warning, you could try for a reservation at Babbo...

      9 Replies
      1. re: cjd260

        OTTO: Just be prepared, even with a reservation, to wait AT LEAST 1/2 hour to be seated.
        Unless, of course, you go early. 5/6ish

          1. re: mbs

            I thought North Square was really mediocre. I'd recommend Otto and making a reservation as well.

        1. re: cjd260

          I'll also bump Otto. I went to a graduation dinner there and had a great time.

          One new suggestion (just 2.5 blocks south of Wash Sq Park) is Lupa. Ask for the big front table. if your party ends up on the larger side of that range. Lots of fun.

          1. re: AndrewParker

            Minetta's is close and good. 5 Points, Knickerbocker, Gotham.. I know Otto has good pizza, didnt know the food was delicious there.

            1. re: foodwhisperer

              Otto is OK--wait is long even with reservations, pizza is by no means that good...other stuff is OK

              1. re: foodwhisperer

                I've found the other food at Otto to be better than the pizza, especially if you order seasonally. The pizza is good but not great, and it is not amazing by NYC standards.

                1. re: foodwhisperer

                  Things that are delicious at Otto:
                  - grande meat platter
                  - cheese plate with truffled honey, liquor soaked cherries, and apricot chutney/jam
                  - sunchoke and escarole salad with marcona almonds
                  - bucatini all'amatriciana
                  - spaghetti alla carbonara
                  - olive oil gelato, coffee gelato

              2. re: cjd260

                Babbo does not take parties that large, they take only parties of up to 6 people.

              3. I'd try Otto with a big group, or Jane, on Houston Street. Noise could be an issue in either restaurant, but I think both are crowd pleasers. You might also want to think about Salt on MacDougal Street, just south of Houston-- they have a large communal table that could seat your party, and the food is terrific.

                100 West Houston Street, New York, NY 10012

                58 MacDougal Street, New York, NY 10012

                2 Replies
                1. re: jens

                  I found Jane thoroughly boring and pricey when I went there for dinner, though their brunch was very good. I haven't been to Salt.

                  1. re: jens

                    Salt has been fairly loud each time I've gone. Not insanely loud, but not terribly quiet either.

                  2. Obviously there are people who like Otto, but I found the pizza bland and the menu boring. I don't know what your price range is, but my recommendation would be Cru. While their recently reduced prices are still by no means cheap, the food is fabulous and a good value, and it's a comfortable space for a large group.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: rrems

                      I totally agree on both points. Thumbs down to Otto.

                      And Cru is a short walk and a very good choice if it's in your range, and where you will not have trouble getting a table because business seems somewhat off there. (if somebody in your group is "into" wine, they will be blown away by Cru. If not, that's OK, they have wine for anybody) I had not realized they'd dropped prices.

                      Blue Hill is another fabulous choice, but you probably will have trouble with a large group. Maybe in their garden room?

                      Blue Hill
                      75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

                      24 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                      1. re: rrems

                        I'm very much in agreement with your views of Otto. And pizza is not exactly my idea of celebration. As a Washington Square alum, I'd look into places like Alta, Elettaria or Cuba.

                      2. We had a great graduation dinner at The Knickerbocker, very near the park, and the menu has enough so everyone, regardless of taste, will be happy. Their porterhouse steak is sensational.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: tsiblis

                          Knickerbocker is consistently good. The short ribs are amazing.