ISO interesting restaurant for a group of 25 people
I attend a two-day meeting in New York every couple of months and the organizers always arrange a nice dinner the first night. They seem willing to spend a reasonable amount of money and it is not a working dinner per se so we don't necessarily need a private room, although it would be nice.
It's an interdenominational Jewish group but two of the participants are Jewish educators who work for the O-U so the supervision has to be one that is widely accepted in the mainstream Orthodox world. Members of the group live all over the country and don't all have access to lots of kosher choices. Many of the non-Orthodox participants eat dairy in non-kosher restaurants so a meat restaurant is highly preferred. The director of the program is soliciting our input for the next dinner, the last one of the year.
So far we've been to Abigael's and Shalom Bombay. At Abigael's we did have a private room. At Shalom Bombay they just pushed together a bunch of tables so we could all sit at one long table.
The restaurant needs to be within reasonable walking distance of Park Ave. and 30th Street -- they won't charter a bus and don't want to force people to deal with the subway or cabs.
Mendy's on 34th and Madison - Deli
Eden Wok on 34th and Madison - Chinese
Colbeh on 39th between 5th and 6th - Middle Eastern/Persian
Those are really the only others options that I would consider walking distance for a large group especially if any of the people are older. I might walk to Prime Grill, Solo, Wolf and Lamb, Le Marais, or Clubhouse myself, but I don't think I'd want to ask others to walk 1-2 mi.
I have take about that many non-Jewish colleagues to Solo. They have a room walled off with a glass door. The only complaint was that the waiters refilled the wine glasses so discretely that several people didn't realize how much they had had to drink and had hangovers at the meeting the next morning. (Waiters work on a percentage at parties like this and by running up the wine bill....)
PrimeKO also has private rooms, although I have not used one. It is less pricey than Solo. I like it, you'll find lots of opinions on other thresds
Next notch down on price is Darna. I love Moroccan food, and like the food at Darna very much. Since few American cities have kosher Moroccan places, you colleagues may enjoy this. They have a raised corner of the dining room, up two or three stops with low, open walls. It doesn't screen out noise, but gives a feeling of a private party and I think it seats about 20.
Most restaurants can bring the price down for a party this size if you limit the choices. i.e., you pick two entrees, two appetizers, two desserts. Even the most expensive entrees, like prime cuts of steak, can be served for less for a large party that pre-orders.
Another was to do this is to have the food served family style. You choose the dishes and htey are passed around the table on platters. This can really liven up a dinner with colleagues. The Moroccan place in Montreal once did this for a group of about 30 of us (mostly not Jewish) in town for a professional conference. It was great. And, again because of the lack of waste, came in at slightly less than individual plates.
One of our dinners was actually from Darna but it was catered in rather than us going up there. This was a one-off and I think they really prefer to have us go out.
At Abigael's we had a choice of three entrees. Shalom Bombay was served family-style but Indian food lends itself to that. I will look at the Solo menu and think about recommending that.