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Graduation Dinner near Lincoln Center -weeknight

We are looking for a restauraunt to celebrate our daughter's graduation which is at Lincoln Center. We would love a restaurant that feels special yet can easily accomodate 12 people with good food, great service,and of course festive . We try to stay away from Indian and Thai restaurants due to nut allergies in the family. We would love to here suggestions.

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  1. It would be helpful if you would provide a per person budget for food only (drinks, tax & tip additional).

    1 Reply
    1. re: RGR

      First of all, sorry for the above typo. As per how much per person, I hadn't really thought about it. I really want a place with good food and atmosphere as mentioned above.. I am interested in my options.

    2. Fiorello's. It's great Italian food (authentic) and you can sit either inside or outside.
      Bar Boulud. It's amazing french food, this place definitely makes you feel special.
      Cafe Luxemburg. Great french food, great ambiance.

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      Bar Boulud
      1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

      10 Replies
      1. re: carub

        i second bar boulud. its not over the top fancy inside, more of a subdued atmosphere but by no means unfestive. the food is so good it makes it feel that much more special, plus the service is fantastic, have never had a bad experience, and the waiters are super friendly and knowledgeable (speaking from experience they are very helpful when it comes to food allergies, as mentioned above) definate reccomendation!

        1. re: coookies

          i think it'd be very hard to get a table for 12 at Bar Boulud, and while the terrines/pate/cheese are nice, the cooked food is overpriced and mediocre...

          That neighborhood (i used to live there) is somewhat challenged for good restaurants...i'd recommend broadening your search to other parts of town...it's on the opposite side of town, but i'd say you should cab over to Maialino, the Danny Meyer place in the Gram Park Hotel...(just a random suggestion)...

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          Bar Boulud
          1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

          Maialino
          2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

          1. re: Simon

            At Bar Boulud, they might be able to string together a series of tables to accommodate 12. And the circular tasting table can fit 12 though that might be odd for this situation. That said, frankly, I think Bar Boulud is all wrong for this occasion as it does not feel special in any way.

            Maialino is terrific. However, aside from the fact that getting such a large group downtown would be a pain, 12 people cannot be accommodated in the dining room (trattoria). They would have to use the private room.

            1. re: RGR

              hey RGR....happy that you like Maialino too...i only started going there last week, but given that a) the staff seem terrific so far, and b) it has a fairly decent-sized dining area/s, i'd bet they'd be able to accomodate the OP...but who knows...(but if they could get the semi-private dining area, that night just the thing)...

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              Maialino
              2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

              1. re: Simon

                Simon,

                We've been to Maialino 5 times, twice for lunch, twice for dinner, and once for brunch. It happens to be located very close to us. Yes, the service is excellent (no surprise, given it's a Danny Meyer restaurant), and I love the rustic decor. But most importantly, the food has been uniformly delicious. We recently shared the eponymous maialino with fellow Hound steakrules85. (Photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                )

                The way the trattoria dining room is set up, i.e., two small back-to-back areas, I can't see how they can situate tables to fit a group of 12. Obviously, the purpose of the private room is to be able to accommodate larger parties. I've seen the room. It's a separate and enclosed space. There are photos of it on the website.

                http://www.maialinonyc.com

                1. re: RGR

                  Even combining three of the four tables in the front/bar/window area would accomodate 12...

                  I've been there 4 times, but always either at the bar or in the bar area so i haven't scouted the back area so thoroughly...

                  Oddly the one dish i was underwhelmed by was the maialino pasta (gluey, bland)...but i've liked everything else, esp the fried artichokes and fried cod starters...the eggplant parmesean and the fried cod together make for a very filling late lunch..

                  1. re: Simon

                    While it would be possible to seat 12 people in that area on the side of the room which has sixe small tables for two, my guess is that since the bar room does not take reservations, management would want to kepp those available for walk-ins.

                    Yes, the fried artichokes are excellent. Haven't had the maialino pasta or the eggplant parmesan. Loved the lasagna and the tonnarelli cacio e pepe. Another favorite: the misticanza salad dressed with lemon and aged balsamic.

                  2. re: RGR

                    When did Maialino move to the Lincoln Center area? Maybe we should ask for clarification about distance from Lincoln Center, or just assume that "near Lincoln Center" means that.

                    1. re: chrisbob

                      "...it's on the opposite side of town, but i'd say you should cab over to Maialino, the Danny Meyer place in the Gram Park Hotel...(just a random suggestion)..."

                      When he suggested Maialino, Simon made it *very* clear that it was not near Lincoln Center.

                2. re: RGR

                  i think the tasting table will be great. Its a bit secluded from the rest of the restaurant and its circular so you can see everyone you're with and its easy to talk to one another. its perfect.

          2. If your group is looking for a party atmosphere, think about Rosa Mexicano across the street from Lincoln Center. If the food is a more important consideration, maybe Picholine on West 64th St. would suit.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chrisbob

              susangail stated that she is looking for a restaurant that "feels special." In what way would Rosa Mexicano fit that descrtiption?

              My first choice would definitely be Picholine, which has all the attributes of a special occasion restaurant. However, it's rather quiet and so, perhaps, susangail might not consider it "festive" enough.

            2. Carmine's (@ http://www.carminesnyc.com/) is great for celebration! Their family size dishes and great Italian food are perfect for any family gatherings. The festive atmosphere is enjoyable for adults or children. And their dessert, Titanic, is unforgettable.

              www.inbundles.com

              6 Replies
              1. re: CantStopEating

                Festive, maybe. But special occasion special? Not in my book.

                1. re: CantStopEating

                  Please don't go to Carmine's. It's barely mediocre Italian American food. Yes, it's festive and loud but, seriously, not special occasion and certainly not delicious.

                  1. re: LNG212

                    Carmine's is not a special place.... to crowded and loud. If you want italian go to Fiorello's.

                    1. re: carub

                      I appreciate all of the suggestions and wanted to add that taking a cab is certainly an option. There is a good chance that we may be 14 people at this point.
                      I would love to hear more suggestions . With such a large party, moderate prices, perhaps American or Italian might be the way to go. Anything back around 23rd Street on the East side would work as that is their home neighborhood.

                      1. re: susangail

                        Perhaps 'inoteca liquori bar?

                        http://www.inotecanyc.com/liquori/

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                        'inoteca
                        323 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

                        1. re: kathryn

                          The problem with 'inoteca Gramercy is that when it's busy, the noise level is hideously high. It's the reason we only go there midweek for lunch or very late in the evening when it's fairly empty.

                2. thanks for all the suggestions! i am the graduate that susangail referred to... the graduation is at lincoln center and it's my family and my boyfriend's family all dining together. picholine and bar bouloud look fabulous but too expensive for us. any other thoughts?? we will most likely be about 15 people now. this has been very helpful! thank you!!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RachelJoy

                    firstoff, congrats!

                    15 people, and given the restaurants listed that are too expensive, one option is Sambuca on 72nd between CPW and Columbus. I have been there for large group dinners, the atmosphere is pleasant and not too loud. They are also spacious enough that fitting a request for 15 would be possible.

                    The food is good, family style Italian, I like it better than Carmine's, mentioned above (both the food and atmosphere). Its not about to earn a Michelin star anytime ever, but with family style pasta's at $30ish (each can easily feed 3 people), you aren't paying high prices. They also have a pretty extensive gluten free menu (I know you referenced nut allergies so thought I would mention that).

                    http://sambucanyc.com/

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                    Sambuca
                    20 West 72nd Street, New York, NY 10023