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Graduation Celebration Dinner

Hi, hounds!

So, I'm graduating from NYU Law on the 20th, and I want to take a few guests out to dinner to celebrate. Eater NY did a list a while back of the city's Top Ten Large Format Crowd-Worthy Meals -- http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/04/... -- the list includes the 7 Ways dinner from Ma Peche and Resto's large format feast. Do you folks have any other suggestions? There will be 5-6 people in my party (including myself), and I am willing to spend up to about $500 total on the meal (although I would be absolutely okay with spending far less). Large format meals are great ideas, but I am open to suggestions for ala carte dining where the food is copious and delicious and fit for a graduation celebration. No vegetarians in my party, and our preferences are broad, from Asian to classic American to European. (As long as the food is good, we're there!

)

Thanks in advance!

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Resto
111 East 29th Street, New York, NY 10016

Ma Peche
15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

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  1. Congratulations on your upcoming graduation!

    Since you say $500 total, I presume that includes beverages (wine, beer, etc,), nearly 9% tax & 20% tip (which the restaurant will no doubt add automatically with a group of 6)? If you are including alcohol in that figure, are you big drinkers? That affects how much of the $500 is left over for the food. Maybe sgordon, our resident accountant, will chime in with the exact breakdown.

    I was thinking that Maialino might be a good choice. You could order two miailino al fornos, each of which can feed three and comes with roasted potatoes. I think they are $75 each. Appetizers and vegetable sides are meant to be shared. Each person can order his or her own pasta or share since portions are generous. Same goes for desserts.

    Maialino photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

    6 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Thanks, RGR!

      None of us are heavy drinkers--indeed, a couple of us are teetotalers--and those of us who will drink will probably order no more than a glass of wine or perhaps a beer on tap.

      The Maialino suggestion sounds great. I will look into it further. Thanks!

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      Maialino
      2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

      1. re: balabat

        Congratulations as well, and I think this is a good idea. In my day, when I graduated from NYU law school, we went to The Gotham Bar and Grill, but I think today I would much prefer the type of meal you are envisioning. I hope your experience at NYU was successful (and that you have found employment)!

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        Gotham Bar and Grill
        12 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003

        1. re: Nancy S.

          Thanks, Nancy! I come from a Pacific island, where communal eating is the norm, so I'm really keen on family-style dining. I might take my sister to Gotham Bar for a weekday lunch before skedaddles out of the city.

          NYU has been great, and I'm even (somewhat) employed! All cause for celebration, I think!

      2. re: RGR

        Rgr, any thoughts on Alta for a younger crowd (a few high school graduates and adults) of about 8? Would also be a celebratory meal so we were thinking the "Shebang", but I like your suggestion for Maialino as well.

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        Alta
        64 W 10th St, New York, NY 10011

        1. re: lilgi

          We've never been to Alta, so I can't comment. But there have been positive posts about it from Hounds who have been there, including about that "shebang." Do a search, and I'm sure you'll find some.

          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

          1. re: RGR

            Will do, had trouble with the search function this morning (kept bringing up random topics, it's working okay now).

        1. Congratulatons!

          Blue Hill has a 5 course tasting menu that (when I was last there) is priced at 72 or 75 dollars. However, as stated by RGR, tax, tip, and drinks will probably put that over your limit. A more casual and less expensive option could be DBGB, which was on the nyeater list. I've been there twice, and the food is tasty and satisfying, though the room can get really noisy. I know some (if not all) of the jean-georges restaurants in the city (of course aside from the flagship) are offering a spring promotion, with dinner priced at 38. unfortunately, the promotion is only offered on certain days at various times (usually like monday-thursday, 5:30-6:30 and 10:00 and later) but a la carte options are available aswell. I would recommend perry st. - its very clean and refreshing, and the food is executed well.
          You may also consider scarpetta, though that may be on the pricier side.

          Enjoy your meal!

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          Blue Hill
          75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

          DBGB
          299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

          7 Replies
          1. re: mjm1218

            Thanks!

            DBGB's $500 whole pig blowout sounds amazing--so much so that I'm willing to go a bit above my $500 limit, especially if I get some of my fellow graduates to chip in. The regular menu seems swell, too, and my guests are pretty laid-back folks, so that sounds promising.

            I'm also very interested in Momofuku Noodle Bar's Fried Chicken Dinner. Anyone have any thoughts about it?

            Thanks for the suggestions, mjm!

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            Momofuku Noodle Bar
            171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

            DBGB
            299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

            1. re: balabat

              I have no experience with the whole pig blowout, but in my experience with DBGB i would take umbrage with the idea that it is either "less expensive" or "satisfying" even if it looks like it on paper - my experience was that portions were almost comically small and it felt like the menu was almost deceptively organized. the food is really tasty but for 14 bucks i got a really delicious merguez about the size of 1.5 cocktail weenies, a few leaves of sauteed spinach and about 8 garbanzo beans.

              I was planning a group thing recently and came across the Roberta's large format menus (the only way to make a reservation - it does require a beverage package for friday/saturday) check out the outer boroughs boards for loads of praise - its a little less upscale than a lot of these options but that suited us just fine.

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              DBGB
              299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

              1. re: tex.s.toast

                Thanks, Tex!

                I've heard/read some concerns about the small portion sizes at DBGB, and if my group has any overriding preference, it is large meal sizes as opposed to tasting-type portions.

                I have no problem with hitting an outer borough to celebrate. It would take a little bit more time to get there from my ceremony venue, but that's the sort of mini-adventure I want my guests to have, especially given how most of them would otherwise not venture beyond Manhattan.

                I just took a look at Roberta's large format menus, and they look great--and they're reasonably priced to boot! Roberta's has zoomed to the top of my list. Thanks, Tex!

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                DBGB
                299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

              2. re: balabat

                We've done the Chicken dinner at Noodle Bar, and if you're looking for huge portions, look no further. Actually, it was more like humoungous! The four of us have good appetites, but we still took home a boatload. There are two styles of chicken: fried and Korean. Both were excellent.

                Photos of Chicken Dinner: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                1. re: RGR

                  Thanks, RGR! Now, THAT'S a large meal! Yep, I think the Noodle Bar is in pole position now. The one knock on it is the apparent fact that rezzies for the chicken dinner seem to only be available for 5:30, 6:00, and then 10:00 onward every night. My graduation ceremony ends at around 6:30 PM, so the earliest that we'll get to have the dinner is at 10:00 PM. I guess I'll have to find something to do with the group for a couple or three hours before dinner--perhaps I shall set them loose on the city and have them reconvene at Noodle Bar at 10:00 PM. Or, perhaps we can have some light pre-dinner snacks/drinks somewhere--emphasis on the "light," since we need to save space to dig into the chicken dinner! Any suggestions?

                  1. re: balabat

                    I don't drink, so we very rarely go for pre-dinner cocktails. On those rare occasions that we do (once in a while, Mr. R. likes to have a Jack Daniels), we pick places that are sedate and quiet -- surely not what people your age would like. Hey, we're
                    old(er), and I hate noise!

                    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                    1. re: balabat

                      I can confirm RGR's account of the Noodle Bar Fried Chicken dinner--it's huge. If the 10:00 reservation is too late, I'd recommend the Ma Peche Beef 7 Ways. While, I've never had it myself, I've read great things about it. I frequently have dinner at Ma
                      Peche, and I love all of their food. Congratulations!

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                      Ma Peche
                      15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

              3. We decided on Maialino instead of Alta as was originally planned and we're all looking forward to it. Rgr thanks for this recommendation, we're looking forward to going. Has op decided yet? Look forward to reading about your experience.

                5 Replies
                1. re: lilgi

                  You're very welcome, lilgi! I'm sure you'll enjoy Maialino. If you are planning to have the maialino al forno, it's a good idea to let them know in advance so they will reserve it for you. Btw, in my post upthread, I said that the price is $75; however, checking the on-line menu, I see it is now $85.

                  As for the o.p., based on balaban's last post (May 10), it appears that s/he's has decided to go to Noodle Bar for the chicken dinner.

                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                  1. re: RGR

                    Yes, thanks for the heads up since the 'maialino al forno' is a must!

                    1. re: RGR

                      Sadly, I was not able to snag a reservation. I had thought that Noodle Bar took reservations up to a week in advance, no further, but it takes reservations a month in advance, and my graduation night was completely booked. I ended up doing Pulino's on the Bowery--four pizza pies, several sides, and generally a good time by all. I'll hit up Noodle Bar one of these days, though.

                      Thanks for all your suggestions, everyone. This community is AWESOME!

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                      Pulino's
                      282 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

                      1. re: balabat

                        Sorry that Noodle Bar didn't happen. We've never been to Paulinio's but glad that you enjoyed it.

                        Congrats, again, on your graduation!

                        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                        1. re: RGR

                          Finally back to report that our celebration at Maialino was excellent, and exactly what we were looking for. Our favorite dishes all around were the pasta with braised rabbit, the fried artichokes with the anchovy bread sauce, and the maialino al forno.

                          We almost hesitated with the roast pork since one reviewer had reported that this dish was undoubtedly under seasoned. It was however cooked to perfection, extremely tender and delicately seasoned with rosemary. Not sure why this particular person was expecting a "pernil" at an Italian restaurant.

                          My only disappointment was that the dessert menu was trimmed down on that particular day, so some items we were expecting on the menu weren't there but hadn't been replaced either. Overall we were delighted and hope to go back very soon. Thanks again!

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                          Maialino
                          2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010