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Birthday dinner for large group

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Hello, I am looking for a great nice restaurant for a birthday dinner for up to 16 people. I am looking at Sylvain, August, and Herbsaint but I worry that they will break the bank! Any suggestions of comparable restaurants for a wee bit cheaper? Oh, and we have a few non-meat eaters (fish is okay) so Cochon is not a good choice (and not cheaper anyway). Looking to stay close to the FQ, and not interested in Galatoire's or Mr. B's (love them, but already been there and want to try somewhere new). Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks.

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Cochon
930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Herbsaint
701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

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    1. re: Littleman

      I will second GW Fins. They have a nice room, that should easily handle 16 - think that we had 20, and though it was a tad tight, it worked.

      The prices are at the upper-moderate end, and the wine list is well-paired for their fare, with a lot to choose from.

      I'd call their sales dept., and maybe work out a set menu w/ a handful of options. They might be able to get the costs down a bit more that way.

      Enjoy, and happy b'day!

      Hunt

    2. OK can this be a middle of the week dinner? Menu or set in advance?
      Do you want everybody at 1 big table (smaller restaurants kinda hate this) or could you do 4 - 4 tops? Do you want it to be in a private dining room so it's just your group?

      Are you all a good drinking group - everybody cocktails first at the bar and then wines with dinner type. What is your budget? Do you need a place that has a bar because your group likes to drink first or some work in the CBD and would get there early from work so they can hang?

      My first thought was Tommy's in the warehouse district, right down from Emeril's - food is great, their space is large & flexible and there is the bar for before & after's without it being a problem.
      For private dining rooms, Arnaud's & Antoine's both have the best options for space.
      Ralph's on the Park also has good private dining on the upperlevel with a fabulous view of City Park and the bar downstairs is large enough for people to wait at if need be.

      16 size needs to be booked in advance, it's not large enough to have to be a fixed menu but you need to work that out so that you have minimal surprises with the bill and 20% service fee.

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      Emeril's Restaurant
      800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

      6 Replies
      1. re: savory south

        Thanks for your response! We will be going on a Saturday in Dec, and we don't need a fixed menu or private room. Yes, 4-4 tables would be fine, hopefully all together if possible though. We are definitely a good drinking group! Cocktails at the bar are a must :). I will check out Tommy's, and I like Ralph's but we don't want to travel too far (cabbing around 16 people isn't exactly fun...) I think the guest list is dwindling a bit, but only by a few folks so I bet it ends up being more like 12 of us. If you have any more thoughts, let me know. Thanks!!

        1. re: Lisa123

          If you can do smaller tables many places will work. Muriel's is good with larger parties, has a great atmosphere but reports here speak of hit or miss food. My several visits there, all for birthdays, were pulled off very well.

          NOLA may also work for you. They are a little less expensive than Emeril's with similar service. Two sixes on one of the upper floors might be great. The upper floors have their own bars and this might be an occasion when NOLA's noise level works with you!

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          Emeril's Restaurant
          800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

          1. re: collardman

            Oh, NOLA! I didn't even think of that. I have heard the same about Muriel's but you're right, the ambiance is fun. I'm sure my crowd would get a kick out of it being haunted :).

            Is NOLA not too touristy? I live here and I feel the Emeril's name gets branded as touristy and kinda corporate. However, if the food is good and the bar is near, I am sure we'll be happy!

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            Emeril's Restaurant
            800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

            1. re: Lisa123

              Every good N.O. restaurant is touristy. Those on this CH board do nothing but send tourists to the good restaurants. But you will find each Emeril restaurant with its list of local regulars.

              The only corporate downside to the Emeril group is that the individual Chefs du Cuisine can't run away with the menu and have to stick within guidelines. Which doesn't make the food bad. Good ingredients, good training and good service still make a good restaurant

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              Emeril's Restaurant
              800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

              1. re: collardman

                Well-stated!

                Though there are "corporate guidelines," with the different Emeril's restaurants, the differences will be greater, than say with Roy's (Roy Yamaguchi), where the chef du cuisines have less latitude, though do contribute their individual "take" on all but Roy's standards. With the Emeril group, there will be more differences between each location.

                To the OP - Enjoy!!!!

                Hunt

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                Emeril's Restaurant
                800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Thanks everyone. I think we'll go wtih NOLA because it has more variety. GW Fins is excellent but, obviously, is mostly seafood :). I am excited! Thanks again.