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Jan 30, 2013 11:49 AM


My daughter wanted to have her birthday dinner at Vynl (it had everything we were looking for) but they just told me they will not do reservations for a large group (15) on a Saturday night.

I am now trying to find something else that would appeal to teens - not only the food but the atmosphere as well.

Any suggestions? I am looking for $30 pp and we are open to any location in Manhattan.

As far as her palate she is not very adventurous - she does not like spicy and is not a fan of seafood.

I realize all of these requirements limit the possibilities but I would appreciate any suggestions or help.

Thank you

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  1. If you are willing to go up to $40 pp (which I realize is a big if), I would recommend Otto. The food and atmosphere seem right for this occasion and they are very good with groups.

    2 Replies
    1. re: prdct

      We just had a nice lunch at Otto with wine, pizza and pasta fr $30 pp. we did not have dessert.
      How about Balthazar, Pastis or The Dutch?

      1. re: Motosport

        Will any of those places even take a reservation for 15 people? I don't even know where they'd put them at Balthazar (is there another room downstairs?). I guess the communal table at Pastis? At the Dutch, they might try to force you to use the private dining room below.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. Thank you for your suggestion prdct. I have seen Otto suggested before but not sure if the menu is what she wants. She wanted something a little different.

        Unfortunately I can't go higher on $ since we are going to a show also.

        She is so disappointed that Vynl wouldn't accomodate us because she loved everything about them.

        Thanks again :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Penny2013

          Perhaps you can explain to your daughter the difficulties of large groups in Manhattan restaurants, which tend to be on the smaller side.

          Smaller groups are usually separate parties at separate tables, arriving at different times, so a large group means that the overall timing of "turns" is less efficient. They have to hold empty tables for if the restaurant is really busy, it theoretically can get multiple turns of smaller tables more quickly than waiting for a large group to vacate. And you want Saturday night, the busiest night of the week.

          And very likely if Vynl had been to accomodate you, you would not be able to order a la carte, but forced into a prix fixe menu, priced above your stated budget. It's harder for the kitchen to make sure the entire group's food all comes out at the same time while maintaining quality (especially serving food at the right temperature). Hence, the prix fixe. You'll be better off going somewhere that does family style anyway, but that's usually Chinese or Thai food or pizza (which you stated she does not want).

          And since it is a group of teens, they won't be drinking in alcohol. I was going to suggest The Smith, but then I saw that they have a food and beverage minimum. Their group menu isn't too expensive but it's unlikely you'll meet the minimum without alcohol.

          Even Hill Country's cheapest package is $32pp. It might work for you if she likes the atmosphere. Since BBQ does not have to be cooked a la minute, that helps ease the street on the kitchen.

          $32 Per Person
          Add Hors D’oeuvres for $5 Per Item
          1 Starter, 2 Meats, 2 Sides and 2 Desserts of your Choice (Minimum of 10 people)

          At least you called ahead and tried to make a reservation. Some people try to walk in with that many people and are disappointed when they are turned away...

        2. If you'd like an "out of the box" suggestion think about Bowlmore Lanes. Our group has hosted parties there that were reasonable. Basic bowling, pizza and snacks. Not fine dining but decent fun. It's in the W Village and sort of "cool!"

          1. Thank you so much kathryn!

            I tried to tell her that she may need to cut her guest list down but she already mentioned to her friends that she was inviting them - wouldn't be nice to uninvite them now.

            I will have her look at Hill Country & The Smith but to be honest nothing will compare to Vynl in her eyes...yet (the disappointment is still too fresh lol).

            Motosport I actually suggested that to her and I got the "eye-roll"...

            What about Cafeteria or something along those lines?

            Thank you again for your suggestions!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Penny2013

              Make sure you go on the Smith's site and check out their minimums for big groups. It's probably going to put it out of your budget.

              Also for any place you are considering, I'd call and make sure they have availability for the night you want. Before getting her hopes up.

              1. re: kathryn

                Spitzer's might be a good spot. They have those long tables that would fit 15 people,Although they used to check ID's, so i'm not sure if they let teens in. Maybe Inoteca on Ludlow St is a good choice too. Or Pulino's or DBGB. Or Otto might be perfect.

              2. re: Penny2013

                Ah! Teen daughters!! I have one teenaged daughter. She's 30 now. Not much has changed.
                How about Rare? The Chelsea location is "cooler."