Trendy Restaurant for Holiday Office Dinner - Suggestions?
My boss has asked me to research a trendy place for our holiday office dinner in December.
Assume a party of 18 - somewhere within the Gramercy/Chelsea/Union Sq/Greenwich Village area, good food options for all, decent wine list and fun atmosphere.
Preferably not a private room - likes the hustle of other diners. Price is not an issue.
Last year year we went to Spice Market where we had a family-style tasting menu of:
Chili Rubbed Beef Skewers
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Black Pepper Shrimp
Avocado and Radish Salad
Char Grilled Chicken
Grilled Strip Steak
Snap Peas with Shitake Mushrooms
Baby Corn and Broccoli
Ginger Fried Rice
Selection Ice Cream and Sorbet
403 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10014
The places coming to mind for me are all a little South of where you're looking - it seems "trendy" stays below 14th St, for the most part.
Over in Chelsea / Meatpacking are your typical "trendy" places that draw big crowds even though no one really seems to have anything particularly positive to say about the food: Buddakan, Abe & Arthur's, The Darby, etc. And new places like Catch. There's Morimoto as well, where the food is certainly good (just don't bother with sushi - stick to the composed dishes) - I'm not sure if they could do 18 in the main room, though. Maybe by sectioning off a group of tables.
In the Village you've got new places Tertulia and Empellon - probably either/or could do a section-off for you.
As to Gramercy or Union Square... those sections don't really scream "trendy" so much.
Slightly further South, Public would fit the bill. There's a big communal table that could seat 18, right in the middle of the main dining room. It's certainly trendy, and the food is great as well. They offer a couple different prix fixe packages, three or four courses, with a few options per course.
For uber-trendy, for the moment (as trends do tend to be momentary) the big "downtown chic" place is probably Beauty & Essex. The food is solid, though, unlike a lot of scenester places where the food is kind of secondary. If they're booked (don't be surprised if a lot of bigger places are already booked for holiday parties) there's their sister restaurant, Stanton Social. Still a happening scene, you could reserve the whole upstairs lounge for your group (leaving the bar area open to regular customers, not taking the whole floor) - that could be nice since it's couches & coffee tables, allows everyone to mill about rather than sit in assigned seats for the meal.
75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002
88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011
210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012
134 Reade Street, New York, NY 10013
244 West 14th St, New York, NY 10011
Abe & Arthur's
409 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011
230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014
Beauty & Essex
146 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
359 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011
21 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014