40th Birthday dinner/girls night out
We have an annual girls' trip over Labor Day weekend and are looking for a restaurant for dinner that Friday night. Staying in midtown, but are fine with venturing out as we know options for what we are looking for will be fairly limited in that area.
Looking for something fun/energetic as we will grab cocktails at the bar, but nothing that feels like we've gone to an NYC nightclub, and nothing that tends to the more formal side. Last year on the same trip, we went to Stanton Social and enjoyed the food and atmosphere, but it was a little too loud and the crowd a little too young (our group is late 30's, with one turning 40). We did Scarpetta the year before and it was a little too quiet. Some options that have been suggested to us include The Dutch, Empellon, and Tertulia. Are those good options, and what else should we be considering?
How big is your group?
Which Empellon, Taqueria or Cocina? Both have good cocktails, but Taqueria has the better bar area scene, however, the drinks are better at Cocina.
Tertulia is very loud and crowded, and the wait can be very long since they don't take reservations for smaller parties--hopefully it will be better over Labor Day, but maybe not. The bar area is also very narrow (you'll be right on top of the people sitting at the bar) and they are not known for their cocktails either.
Did you dine at Empellon Cocina? If so, how was it?
Anyone have any other suggestions for a group of 6 ladies for a 40th birthday? I've read other girls' night out/40th birthday threads such as http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/810000 .
Right now, I have Locanda Verde, Minetta Tavern, Empellon Cocina and Tertulia on my list. I'm not interested in Babbo for this meal, since I'd like to visit a restaurant I haven't tried before. A Babbo-like vibe would be fine.
I'm open to any type of food. I would prefer a lively, down-to-earth vibe over a cold vibe, but a bar scene isn't necessary. Thanks for any ideas.