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Please help me with choosing a birthday menu...

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ericaamerlca Feb 9, 2010 09:12 AM

I'm throwing my mom a surprise 60th birthday dinner party with 45 women attending. I'm a 26 year old who doesn't have an endless budget . I've booked my mom's favorite Italian restaurant for the party. The restaurant has a bunch of different dinner party packages but with 45 people coming I need to go with one of the cheaper packages.

The package I've chosen gives guests their choice of either casear or house salad to start.
Then 2 types of pasta served family style...I'm going with vodka rigatoni and penne and broccoli tossed with garlic and oil.

Now the entree selection is where I need your help. Again, since I'm going with a cheaper package, its nothing fancy, just your usual Italian dishes. But of the 5 selections to choose from, I can only choose 3 and the guests must choose from the 3 selections.

So here are the options:

Chicken Parmigiana
Chicken Marsala
Chicken Piccata
Chicken Francese
Eggplant Rollatine

I'm definitely going with the eggplant, but can't decide which 2 chicken dishes to go with. Please don't suggest asking for another entree option like a fish or veal because that will bring me to the next higher package and at $7 a person more, I can't afford to do that.

I appreciate all your help!!

  1. l
    LttlMichey Feb 9, 2010 10:21 AM

    I would go with Chicken Parmigiana and Chicken Marsala. I think those are the dishes that most people would order. Just my two cents!

    1. diablo Feb 9, 2010 10:25 AM

      Since the eggplant dish already incorporates a red sauce, I would rule out the chicken parm. Of the 3 left I would choose the marsala and the francese. Both have wide appeal. Piccata sometimes incorporates capers and some people are not fans. Good luck!

      1. j
        johnlockedema Feb 9, 2010 10:26 AM

        Francese and Marsala, Parm is too gloppy, and Francese and Piccata can have similar lemony profiles.

        1. h
          HelenB Feb 9, 2010 11:29 AM

          I would go for Chicken marsala and francese, a bit diversification. It is good that you picked the eggplant since some of the guests may not eat meat...

          1. s
            seanachie Feb 9, 2010 01:27 PM

            erica - why not discuss this with the restaurant?
            tell them that you have a limited budget (give them a realistic number) and ask them for several options. or, let them do just one set menu with 3 courses? let them do the work for you.
            you're bringing them 45 people. any restaurant ought to be willing to work for a party like that. good luck!

            1. h
              Heatherb Feb 9, 2010 02:18 PM

              I second the marsala and Francese choices. Most people like one of those. Or maybe if it's not a surprise party, ask your mother what she thinks. She might know the preferences better. Good luck! You're a better daughter than I've ever been:D

              1 Reply
              1. re: Heatherb
                n
                Nursemegg Feb 12, 2010 06:26 AM

                another vote for the Marsala and the Francese to go with the eggplant. You then have 3 different sauces for your guests.
                wonderful thing you are doing for your mother!

              2. f
                fourunder Feb 12, 2010 07:52 AM

                I guess the voters in New Jersey do not appreciate Piccata....

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/686764

                1 Reply
                1. re: fourunder
                  j
                  joonjoon Feb 12, 2010 11:09 AM

                  Amazing how the responses differ...

                  And it's pretty funny when you realize piccata and francese are almost the same thing...but i think for a large party Francese is a better choice, due to the omission of capers.

                2. j
                  joonjoon Feb 12, 2010 11:05 AM

                  Since you already have a tomato dish (eggplant), I would go with marsala and francese.

                  1. t
                    tgran Feb 12, 2010 02:55 PM

                    I agree. Marsala & Francese

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tgran
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                      ericaamerlca Feb 16, 2010 06:04 AM

                      Thank you all so much, I'm going with Marsala and Francese! You've been such a help!

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