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Oct 20, 2009 06:49 AM

Best restaurants in Manhattan that can accomodate 15-17 people without pre-fix menus?

I know this is kind of a longshot but, does anyone know of any good restaurants that can accomodate a party of 15-17 people without a pre-fix menu?

I've checked with numerous places and no matter how cheap the restaurant is in general, as soon as they know you have a large party, they'll jack up the prices with a pre-fix menu. What makes this situation even harder is that it has to fall on a weekend since it's for a birthday.

We're open to any type of cuisine (French, American, etc.) and the prices we were looking to pay could fall under the $20-$30 price for the entree's alone.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. I know this doesn't help, but the reason for a prix fixe menu is not to jack up the prices but that it's extraordinarily difficult for a kitchen to send out individual orders to a table of 17 people at the same time.

    I think you'll struggle for that reason, but good luck.

    1. I've been to Blue Water Grill with a party about your size and was able to order off the regular menu. What Wilfred says is true -- having a prix-fixe menu for a large party is to make things logistically easier for the kitchen and staff. It was really difficult for them and were surprised that they didn't offer a prix-fixe. We ended up waiting an awfully long time for our food as it wasn't easy to coordinate that many a la carte orders. But if you do choose to go to Blue Water, I would give them a call to verify as it was about a couple of years ago.

      True, you generally pay a bit more than if everybody ordered a la carte. But large parties also take up more time than a table of two, and the restaurant can't turn the table over. So I think that is also factored into the cost.

      1. I have had that exact problem for dinner after an annual event the past 4 years. I've gotten around the problem a few different ways.
        Definitely, split into multiple tables, the smaller the better.
        Stagger the start times of the tables. If there is a place with a bar area, where the people sitting at the later seated tables can wait, this works.
        Also, I've had good luck working with new restaurants that really want the business.
        Finally, if you have any friends who know anyone in the business, see if you can get them call in a favor.
        p.s. I'm up for organizing another one of these in November, so please post if you find a good spot.

        1. Compass is a large space and often pretty empty on weekdays, despite the fact that the food is fairly good. They have a good value prix fixe menu, ordinarily, along with a la carte options. I doubt they would force you to order off of a prix fixe menu with jacked up prices, even for such a large sized group, though they may ask you to all order off the regular prix fixe. It's worth a call to ask.

          1. I think you can do it at Indochine.