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May 17, 2010 08:51 AM

I want to shoot the works for a group business dinner

My company is hosting a business dinner for about 20 persons that is to take place in early June. When our guests hosted us on their turf in Germany a while back, they held a “state dinner” caliber function in a medieval castle, so we would very much like to return their hospitality in style.

I have no limits on expense (within reason… ; ), a preference to staying in the City (though something like River Café might work), and I’d prefer a venue that has outdoor seating, and want to shy away from one of those stifling private dinner rooms as they often end up feeling more like conference rooms and you don’t get the restaurant vibe.

We’ve considered hosting our overseas guests in a vintage American/NYC setting such as a suite at Yankee Stadium or a dinner cruise, but both of those ideas were dismissed for unevenness of food quality, potential weather problems, etc. So, we’re still searching for something that’s a bit creative. Any thoughts?

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  1. You will a tough time beating your own idea of the River Cafe, but, here goes: look into the Terrace in the Sky on the rooftop of a Columbia U building; good food and great views. and click on events. It features cover in case of bad weather. Another suggestion (assuming you will have cars for transport) is the New Leaf Cafe ( up in Fort Tryon Park. Imo, many Germans would love the location. Probably as close as you can come to a Medieval Castle in Manhattan (and a German historical connection: the Hessions chased General Washington off of this ridge in the early days of the Rev War) . Please let us know what place you choose and how it works (ed) out.

    New Leaf Restaurant & Bar
    1 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040

    Terrace in the Sky
    400 West 119th Street, New York, NY 10027

    1. Since they had you in a castle why not reciprocate with something American like a farm. If expense (within reason) doesn't really matter why bus everyone out to Blue Hill @ Stone Barn. Incredible food, beautiful area, walk around the farm if you'd like.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Spiritchaser

        I think that's a fantastic idea. Should be perfect time for that too.

        BTW I've been to a wedding catered by Feasts & Fetes (mentioned downthread) and the food was fantastic.

        1. How about rent out the central park boathouse and give them all a horse and carriage ride in CP then to the boat house for dinner. I did go to an event at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens this weekend which is in full bloom and spectacular.

          19 Replies
          1. re: princeofpork

            ORIGINAL POSTER HERE: I should have mentioned that at least 19 out of the 20 attendees will be men, so a buggy ride through the park, while enjoyable, may be a bit too romantic for this crew.

            1. re: hamandswissonrye

              Well that sure changes things :)
              How about a golf outing at a private club in NJ or LI.
              Full steak dinner at one of the Gentlemens clubs in the city?
              Skybox at Daniel
              Cooking class at ICE
              Bowling at Lucky Strike. Cant get more American tha that.

              Lucky Strike
              59 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

              1. re: princeofpork

                Gentleman's club not going to make it through the ol' expense report, and Skybox I think is only for 4...Bowling is intriguing....Keep the ideas coming...

                1. re: hamandswissonrye

                  How about Daniel Boulud's Feast & Fetes Catering, which might also suggest possible venues?


                  1. re: hamandswissonrye

                    How about the Large Format Feast at Resto. You can choose the animal and they will create 5+ dishes plus sides. Tons of good beer the germans will love too.

                    111 East 29th Street, New York, NY 10016

                    1. re: princeofpork

                      On a similiar note, also consider the Bo Ssam prix fixe menu at Ssam bar.

                      1. re: kathryn

                        They can accomodate 20 people for that? Anyway it's so loud and casual and not that special, in my opinion.

                        1. re: gutsofsteel

                          The web site states parties of 11 to 20, it is definitely a bit casual but very "New York"!

                          1. re: kathryn

                            They are reciprociating for a "state dinner" meal that took place in a medieval castle and the OP said he wants to do it "in style." As much as I like the bo ssam, it is not what the OP is the extreme.

                    2. re: hamandswissonrye

                      I know you said you want to stay away from private rooms. However, the private rooms at Keens are amazing. No way will your guests feel as though they are dining in a conference room because the same incomparable Old NY ambiance (including old clay pipes suspended from ceilings) in the public rooms permeates the private rooms. You can see photos of them on the website:

                      1. re: RGR

                        Seconded! Keen is definitely quite nice.

                        The only caveat I might add is that since the guests are European, I'm not sure how much they would dig US history, given that their civilization is centuries older.

                        1. re: kathryn

                          Just because the US is much younger than Europe doesn't mean that Europeans are not interested in our history and culture. In any case, it's not as though they'd be beaten over the head with it. It's the overall Old NY ambiance at Keens that's so thoroughly charming.

                          1. re: RGR

                            I completely agree. In fact, I make it a point to take European visitors to Keens and invariably they are delighted.

                            1. re: gutsofsteel

                              Another idea would be giving them the antithesis of Medieval Europe, i.e. something modern and American, such as dinner at the Whitney with a tour of the galleries, or the roof garden at the Metropolitan Museum for an outdoor space and a magnificent view of Central Park.

                              Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group also does offsite catering:


                        2. re: hamandswissonrye

                          Robert's Steakhouse at the Penthouse Club serves very good Prime meat, and comes in on your credit card as "Robert's Steakhouse," as does everything else in the venue. At least it did as of last Wednesday:-)

                          NYT review:


                          Robert's Steakhouse
                          603 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036

                          1. re: filmbomb

                            How is the food and atmosphere. Please describe as we are considering going here for a friends birthday.

                            1. re: princeofpork

                              I was part of a 4 person bachelor party dinner at Roberts about 2 years ago. Food was the same price of the top notch NYC steakhouses (~$55 a person for steak, side prices similar, etc). Steak was good, but not great. Sides were great.

                              Atmosphere - the tables are the floor above the main room, with a clear view of the room and stage. Since we ate around 8 pm, that main room was pretty low key. In between courses, girls come over and provide conversation and whatever else you might want.

                              While very fun for our occassion, and a friends birthday I would think. I would suspect that only the loosest corporate cultures would approve, although 95% European males might fit that bill.

                              As far as ideas for the OP, I really like the idea of heading up to Blue Hill Stone Barnes and touring the farm, then partaking in dinner. Very classy and quite a fun experience.

                  2. Private dining at Le Bernardin can be very special.

                    Le Bernardin
                    155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: steve h.

                      Except it is really not what the OP is looking's a bit stuffy for what he's looking for.

                        1. re: steve h.

                          I've eaten in the private room of Le B many times. Relative to what the OP is looking for, I think it is stuffy.

                          1. re: gutsofsteel

                            no. the rooms are light and airy. nothing wrong with a private lift.
                            food at le bernardin is wonderful, three michelin-starred.
                            only a churl could cavil (cribbed from an old new york magazine review of the original broadway play, "annie").

                            1. re: gutsofsteel

                              I agree. It's pretty stuffy vis a vis what the op is looking for.

                              1. re: StheJ

                                lots of good restaurants in Manhattan. when you "shoot the works", you don't then seek out lambent mediocrity.
                                le bernardin, despite three michelin stars, is not stuffy.

                                1. re: steve h.

                                  "le bernardin, despite three michelin stars, is not stuffy."

                                  Obviously, I, and others, think it's stuffy; you don't... OK: Let's just leave it at that... Although, I am curious as to what restaurant you would in fact think of as stuffy, if not LB? and, are you talking about the air circulation and lumen level or the general vibe? (i.e. when I say stuffy... I'm talking about the general vibe.)

                                  1. re: StheJ

                                    The tiny tiki bar on the main floor is a hoot: they make a damn good martini, present you with fresh marinated seafood as a bar snack and allow time to read the ft while waiting for your dining companion.
                                    Service, at the tables, is wonderful, not stifling. They are seriously concerned that you enjoy your meal and want to hear from you if things are not up to snuff. That's what a three-star place does. They are not pedantic. Rather, LB has an appreciation for guests and repeat guests. Let the record show I do wear a jacket there and, on occasion, have been known to strap on a tie. Not a problem in my book.
                                    That's been my experience.

                                2. re: StheJ

                                  I'd have to agree that it's too stuffy for what the OP is looking for.

                        2. Aside from all the discussion about LeB, a couple of other options to consider:
                          For NYC history, perhaps consider the wine cellar at 21 club? While not on the food level at Keen's or LeB, it would make for an interesting spot with some back history
                          If willing to drive up, Blue Hill at Stone Barns would be a fantastic option
                          Along the lines of the met, the Modern is another possiblity

                          Blue Hill
                          75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: orthorunner

                            The 21 Club wine cellar is a great idea.

                            21 Club
                            21 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019