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.
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!
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