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Nov 17, 2010 09:42 AM

Upper West side for 11 people this Friday?

Need restaurant for birthday celebration on Upper West side preferably.
any suggestions?
Italian, fish, anything good, and fun. One birthday is for a 17 year old and it's a double celebration including 76year old birthday. Family celebrating both..

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  1. Rosa Mexicano across from Lincoln Center. Maybe you could still get in after 8pm.

    Rosa Mexicano
    9 E. 18th St., New York, NY 10003

      1. re: AubWah

        I live nearby to Sambuca and have been exactly once. I'm not a fan.

        20 West 72nd Street, New York, NY 10023

      2. Given the short time and the need for a big table, you might try Dean's Pizzeria, West 85 and Broadway.

        1. You could see if the "chef's table" is available at 'Cesca. It should accommodate 11 people, I would think. Not sure how you define "fun", but I think the setting would count as pleasantly lively and festive.

          164 W 75th St, New York, NY 10024

          2 Replies
          1. re: uwsgrazer

            As has been amply noted elsewhere, the UWS is crying out for a polished, comfortable, high-quality Italian restaurant. I ate here recently (Jan. 2011) in the high hopes that 'Cesca would fit the bill. I found the food to be enormously disappointing. We had a bland - both visually and taste wise - escarole salad with poor quality produce. There was none of the bitterness that makes escarole, well, escarole and no sweetness to balance it out. The fritto misto was chunky, heavy, poorly fried - sort of 4th rate tempura - with wan shrimp, overly chewy chunks of calimari, and soggy slabs of squash. I had a risotto with lamb, and while the meat was flavorful, it all dissolved into an overly salty plate of goop with nothing sharp or green for contrast. My husband had the Sunday sauce which was a massive amount of meat but poorly composed and seemed a bit obscene in its gargantuan scale. Also, the pasta was overcooked. By the time we hit desert, we were trying to order conservatively and figured, "how can anyone screw up a canoli?" Order one and see. It was stale, fussily garnished, and the filling was too thick. We had asked our waitress at the top of the meal for wine advice and gave her a price point. She immediately counseled us above the given limit. But perhaps she had a point, since the lower priced wine we ordered was decidedly mediocre. Wishing for a solid quality, drinkable wine even at a lower range doesn't seem like too much to ask. If one were stuck at an airport and hungry for Italian food, 'Cesca's would be a fine choice. Not great, fine. However, the high prices at 'Cesca and the amazing restaurant landscape in New York make the quality of food and service here absolutely inexcusable.

            164 W 75th St, New York, NY 10024

            1. re: toc306

              We had dinner at Cesca last night. It was quite good - hazelnut salad, proscuitto parmesan fritters were crisp and tasty, orrichiette with lamb sausage and swiss chard was very good. The tuscan bean soup was not soup but soup ingredients "baked" - tasty but a bit of a suprise..I felt the waiter should have explained that to my daughter. When she didn't eat the "soup" the waiter offered to bring her a pasta dish. The tuna tartare appetizer was amazing - cakes of tuna with spices served with crostini. The pasta sampler is a terrific option because there are so many great pasta choices - so in addition to the orrechiette, we sampled pasta norma with eggplant and chicken sausage and risotto with duck.Dessert was zeppole - three large dough balls fried and topped with chocolate, more than enough to share. The wine list was interesting with enough wines to match the menu, for example wines from Le Marche Italy for pairing with game dishes and so forth. But for the saltiness of the food, I would give Cesca 5 stars.The service was professional and pleasant. we had a 5:30 reservation which was just enough time to make it to the theater by 8. I would definitely return in fact I am looking forward to trying the quail and other dishes.

          2. If you want something casual with wonderful comfort food (and some of the best cakes in the city), I'd recommend Good Enough to Eat, on Amsterdam and 84th. Be sure to reserve though.

            Good Enough to Eat
            483 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

            2 Replies
            1. re: mahler5

              I really like their desserts. Their coconut cake is my favorite.

              1. re: funniduck

                As I have mentioned on Chowhound many times, their coconut cake is the Platonic ideal, closely followed by their chocolate cake, banana cake, and German chocolate.