21st birthday dinner for NYU actor student
Suggestions please for 21st bday for 7-8 people, weeknight (Thurs) Birthday "girl" is Actor/trendy. Loves all cuisines, just need great/creative menu for food and for drinks. Under $30 pp. Guests are students so some thoughts here, please. Prefer Union Sq or below 14th st. but will consider up to 30th if it fits the bill.
Creative foodie menus tend to command a higher price, I think your budget may be a bit low for your expectations but if you're flexible you might find something suitable.
The only place I know of that might meet your criteria is Dieci. They have very creative Japanese/italian fusion tapas dishes, but it's very small inside and probably won't fit your group unless you sit at their bar table. If you go there make sure you make a reservation. I really must stress that Diechi is SMALL, and they have 4 tables for 2 with a raised bar table for larger parties (it's not an alcohol bar, but a narrow elevated modern table with a cool curvy shape).
I have Dined at Diechi 4 times and love it. Their beef tongue is amazing, the foie gras chawanmushi is sublime and a big thumbs up for their squid ink tagliolini. I don't remember much about their drinks, but I think it's more sake and wine rather than cocktails.
Another place that might fit is the Wren on Bowery, but it's more upscale pub food than cutting edge creative- but the drinks are good and it's a trendy place. That said, I've only had drinks at the Wren but the food they served looked very good.
228 E 10th St
Veselka has a new-ish Bowery location that's quite large and is good for larger parties. Their entrees are between $11-17, so you could swing $30 pp w/o drinks on that. I've been to a group birthday there and it was awesome. Big, hearty food perfect for creating that nice binge-drinking stomach fortress!