Downtown spot for group birthday dinner?
Anyone have a favorite spot for a group dinner party -- about 14 people -- in downtown Manhattan, below 14th street (east or west), or Brooklyn. Nothing too pricey but good food and good drinks (or wine) is important. I'm thinking of somewhere with an awesome backyard or garden, or maybe a great indoor space that's not so loud you can't hear anyone. Mexican, Italian, Indian, French, American - anything really. Someplace new, even BYO, is fine too. Anything come to mind?
Cinque (Italian) in Tribeca has a nice private room. Gigino by Battery Park, has a great outside area with a view.
Before you subject your guests to an evening at Cinque (about which foodwhisperer & I have disagreed before), please read my review, as I went to a group birthday dinner in the private room a few months ago.
I've had good experiences with group dinners at Italian restaurants at Il Bastardo (a few blocks above 14th) and Villa Mosconi. The former has a back room that's rarely full, so it will feel like a private room to you. If I were planning this shindig, though, I'd opt for Loreley or Cafe Asean. Both have good food, low-ish prices, and outdoor space.