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No holds barred dinner for 80?

Hi New Orleans 'Hounds! I'm doing some research my company's annual holiday party. Our party is in a different city each year and this year, I'm really pushing to have it in your fair city. I would really appreciate getting some thoughts on what restaurant you think best captures the flavor of New Orleans -- looking for spectacular food, excellent, but non-pretentious service, a great wine list and of course the ability to accommodate 80 people for a sit down dinner.

My preference would be a restaurant that specializes in local cuisine, rather than a generic "fine dining" menu. I would also prefer a spot where we could buy out the whole restaurant, but if you think someplace huge like Commander's Palace is the way to go, I would certainly be open to suggestions! As a reference, the last few years have been: Primo in Orlando, No. 9 Park in Boston, Blackbird in Chicago, Perigee in Toronto.

Thanks in advance for your help. I'm really hoping for this to work out!

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  1. both Muriel's and August have rooms for private functions.

    http://www.muriels.com/html/home.html
    http://www.restaurantaugust.com/

    hope you make it here! cheers!

    1. Emeril's. We dine there regularly b/c the food and service are consistently excellent. Their wine "tome" is around 100 pages.

      5 Replies
      1. re: JazzyB

        JB, do they have room for 80 sit down for a private function? good to know if they do. thnx.

        1. re: edible complex

          We called for resv. on a Fri. evening and were told that the earlier seatings were blocked for a prirvate party. The earliest they could seat us would be l 9:30. Thus, I assume they would be able to handle a large party. BTW, after mentioning that we come in regularrly and asked if they couldn't help us out???, they gave us a table at 7. It's nice that they appreciate the locals( And thank goodness for computers!).

          1. re: JazzyB

            good to know. even better to be appreciated and recognized as a regular.

        2. re: JazzyB

          I had dinner at Emeril's in Orlando and was really underwhelmed (overcooked fish for several people). Can I assume (hope?) that his original restaurant is of better quality?

          1. re: TorontoJo

            Never been to the Orlando venue. We've been dining at his flagship several times a month since last November and have never had a bad meal.

        3. Drago's could probably handle it. Not fine dining, but the oysters are good that time of year and it is casual.

          1. Though I had no hand in putting it together, Broussard's hosted a private party for 250 about 18 mos. ago. It had been many years, since we had dined there, so while we were familiar with them in the past, did not have any recent experiences.

            The courtyard was opened to this party only, and then the masses were seated in a private room inside. Though a rather large group, I thought that the staff did a wonderful job. The interior room was a bit crowded, but then there was a very large projection screen for several DVD's on the organization and some of the retiring officers.

            Their cuisine is based strongly on the cuisine of New Orleans. Here is a link to their menu: http://www.broussards.com/menu_daily....

            Good luck,

            Hunt

            -----
            Broussard's Restaurant & Patio
            819 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70112

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bill Hunt

              We had a large dinner here and used the courtyard as well. Both the service and the food was great and the enviroment was fabulous. Great choice!

            2. Calcasieu - Donald Link's new private event facility. http://calcasieurooms.com/

              I have never been to a scheduled dinner there, but we went to the grand opening and were very impressed. The food will be similar to Herbsaint or Cochon (if you have any experience with those restaurants).

              http://blackenedout.blogspot.com/

              1. Thank you so much, everyone! I'm looking into all of the suggestions. Broussard's, August and the Calcasieu Rooms look particularly promising.

                1 Reply
                1. re: TorontoJo

                  I would discourage going to Broussard's the food is just not up to par with the other restaurants on the list...

                2. I do quite a few group dinners throughout the year at restaurants around town. Commander's Patio Room can accomodate your group, and they do a great job with private events. August's second floor would also be lovely. Herbsaint, Ralph's on the Park, and upstairs at Galatoire's are worth looking into for "non-generic", but I think their private spaces hold around 72 for seated functions. Of the restaurants you reference I've only been to Blackbird, and I equate Herbsaint most closely in terms of food, style, etc.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: N.O.Food

                    Yep, have done private parties at both Ralph's http://www.ralphsonthepark.com/, can't beat the area, ambiance and Commander's and both were wonderful....which is odd because I'm not a really big fan of Commander's...for dinner anyway.

                  2. Cuvee on Magazine St. would fit your bill. They have plenty of space to accommodate your group and also have a spectacular wine list. The restaurant has no private room, so a buyout would be in order, but they also have a courtyard located next door that they use as a reception area as well. Worth consideration...

                    1. GW Fins (http://www.gwfins.com/nola/ ) , I think you would have to rent out the whole restaurant
                      or
                      Antoine's (http://www.antoines.com/) I think has a room that could hold 80 guests for a sit down dinner.

                      Both restaurants are located in the French Quarter.

                      1. Thanks, everyone, you guys are great!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: TorontoJo

                          Having been to Primo and Blackbird, I'd advise that neither Broussard's nor Antoine's is in the same league, food-wise. They're good, not spectacular, at least not in comparison to those you mention--or August or Herbsaint or Cuvee.

                        2. Since you have annual experience with large dinners, I assume that you already know that banquet food is never up to the standard of individual meals.

                          In the past month, I was a guest at a banquet at August. Their private room is beautiful. Their service is very polished. The hors d'ouevres were delicious. The food was pleasant enough, but hardly up to expectations based on the restaurant's reputation.