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Hearth or Il Buco for private party?

My dad, sister, and I are planning a birthday party for my mom for late April for about 20 friends and family members. After combing through these boards and contacting about 20 restaurants, we have narrowed it down to Hearth and Il Buco based on price and availability. In the end the price will end up being about the same, so we just can't decide. We have never been to either restaurant, but we have heard a lot of great things about both of them, so I am looking for some input from people that have been to both restaurants (and even better if you've been there for a private party).

Here are the details -

Hearth -
- semi-private room (separate room but no door) for the whole night
- seats up to 28 (so not too huge for 20 people)
- 3-4 courses with 3 options each and family style sides
- we can choose one red and one white wine ahead of time so people don't have to dig through the whole wine menu

Il Buco -
- Chef's table room for the whole night (private room downstairs)
- 5 family style apps, choice of entree, family style desserts
- alcohol charged by consumption

Thanks in advance for any input!

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  1. ive had dinner at hearth and ive had the chef's table at il buco. it basically comes down to better food (hearth) or nicer atmosphere (il buco).

    i really am not a fan of il buco's food. it was a nice night but the place felt very forced and very formulaic and fake. i felt like i was in the italian pavilion at epcot center.

      1. re: gutsofsteel

        I second Hearth. Was at Il Buco last night and the food, for the price, was mediocre, with service to match.

        1. re: jewelin

          Thanks so much for the input! Looks like we're either going with Hearth or a catered party ay my parents' house (my dad just added this possibility... I'm voting for Hearth)

          1. re: jessbnjess

            maybe for another thread but if i was so unimpressed by il buco's food, will i like alimentari?

      2. I dunno, I planned a 65th surprise birthday party for my mom at the private room at Il Buco, for about 20 people and had a lovely time. They were gracious, the food was delish and everyone was thrilled.....for what we got I don't think it was outrageously priced either - I think what you mentioned along with some passed apps to start and red/white wine- good luck!

        1. Hearth!!!!

          However if you want that rustic Itatian setting do Peasant. That is a tough call Peasant vs Hearth, I couldnt say one is definitely better than the other and their menus are different enough you don't have to compare them like that. Peasant is one of my very favorite places in NY. Have been to Hearth only twice but it was fantastic both times.

          2 Replies
          1. re: 2slices

            Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Unfortunately my dad has decided to host a catered party at their house, but after all the raves about Hearth (and the very nice people I was in touch with about their party options) my husband and I will definitely be heading there for dinner soon.

            1. re: jessbnjess

              Dissenting view: I haven't been to Il Buco, but I've given up on Hearth since the last time I went (actually, last couple of times). Slow service, but more importantly, the food is no longer anything special - or at least what I ordered (including duck, which I had liked there before) wasn't. I haven't been to Apiary lately, but I think it's at a similar price point, and the one meal I've had there so far was great. And if you're not restricted by neighborhood, I think there are quite a few better options at similar price points.

          2. I am a big fan of il Buco for ambience/decor, food and service.

            The BEST private party I have ever done was at il Buco - we rented the private room (in the basement) which is a beautiful wine cellar (and inspired The Cask of Amontillado by Poe). The room is fantastic, the staff was accommodating and everyone had an amazing time. If you're willing to pay the price, this is an unforgettable place to have a private party.