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Apr 11, 2012 10:25 AM

challenge: cheap dinner for 6 this saturday?

I need to arrange a last-minute dinner for 6 (or possibly 7) people this Saturday night and I can't seem to find anything that fits the bill

It needs to be:
--Affordable (entrees in the $20 range, cheap drinks / wine / beer are a big plus)
--Vegetarian friendly
--lively / fun / unique -- one of us is in town for the weekend and hasn't spent a lot of time in NYC, and we'd like to impress her
--Any neighborhood works, but preferably in Manhattan
--Ethnic is great -- just no Indian. We love Mexican, Japanese, Greek, etc.
--possible to get a reservation for this Saturday between 7:30 and 9:30, or walk in with 6 people.

Thanks for your help!!

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  1. Try calling Kefi and seeing if you can get a reservation. Look at their menu first, but I think vegetarian is OK there. I wouldn't call it cheap, but it's in your price range. Gazala Place is another possibility. Again, not particularly cheap, but within your price range, and they have an excellent vegetarian mezes platter.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pan

      Good call on Kefi -- that's exactly the type of place I'm looking for. It's a little bit out of the way for most of us (people are coming from Astoria, Chelsea, and the East Village) -- but it might work.

      1. re: nyc_to_ma

        Given where you all are coming from, Midtown would probably work best. So if not Gazala Place, consider other places on or near 9th Av. in the 40s and 50s. I ate once at Dafni on 42 St., right across from Port Authority. Good food, insanely huge portions. For 6 people, you could share a few mezes and no more than 3 mains. Figure that 1 main feeds at least 2 people. Seriously. Their "cup" of soup was a bowl! I'm guessing it would probably be easier to get a reservation there after the pre-theater crowd is gone (maybe 8:30).

    2. Hecho En Dumbo might work for you - they don't take reservations, but you can call ahead if you have a party of 7. A decent amount of vegetarian options, entrees in the high teens - low twenties, and happy hour drinks 'til 7. I haven't been in a while so I'm not sure how crowded it will be on a Saturday night.

      I also like Kasadela, a Japanese small plates restaurant. It's hard to eat more than $25 worth of food there, and the beer's pretty cheap. They do take reservations, but I've never seen the place even half full.

      5 Replies
      1. re: small h

        Thanks -- these are both great ideas. The last time I went to Hecho en Dumbo it was completely packed, but I also really like Kasadela and you're right, it's never that crowded. It might work...

        1. re: nyc_to_ma

          Chinatown. Shanghai cafe. Great food, inexpensive beers

          1. re: AubWah

            It's my go-to Shanghainese place in Manhattan, but I haven't found it great. What do you love there?

            1. re: Pan

              Braised pork tofu skin hong shao style, shredded beef with dry bean curd and hot pepper, xlb, spicy cabbage

              1. re: AubWah

                I had the xlb, spicy cabbage, and kao fu yesterday, and I've had the shredded beef dish. That's very good. But still.

      2. I'd try Bamiyan (Third Avenue at 26th Street). Aghan restaurant, good, reasonable food with lots of vegetarian options. You can sit at the low tables, and there's optional hookah smoking in the back.

        1. Freemans only takes reservations for 6+ and might have availability still. So might Blue Ribbon Bakery, which is a little bit pricier, but they only take reservations for 5+ people and might also still have tables available. Neither are super-hip any more, but seem to fit your requirements (affordable, vegetarian friendly, last minute planning-friendly).

          1. Thanks for the advice, everyone. We ended up doing lunch on Saturday at Gyu-Kaku, because they have really extensive "happy hour" deals on food and drinks all day. I know it's technically a chain, but its something that our friend doesn't really have in Boston, and it was really fun.