Meeting place for 10-12 college friends
we are a group of 10-12 college friends from the 70"s who like to get gether every know and then for a good meal and drinks. We need a place where we can here each other and have some good food. East side west side not an issue. Food probably should be American or Italian may be Bar b que. Help the date is coming fast March 13.
For Italian, consider Inoteca or Supper as possibilities. Both are solidly good restaurants, though I think I'd give a slight edge to Inoteca, which almost never disappoints me and is quite good for the price, in my opinion. Crispo is also a possibility; I generally have enjoyed their food, though my last trip was not quite up to previous ones, and they have good wine and grappas,
If you want to go for Chinese food, per Steve R's suggestion, there are several other Sichuan places that are worth going to, including Szechuan Gourmet (ask whether they have a large enough table to seat all of you together; if you go to the 56th St. location, I think they can accommodate you upstairs, not sure how they'd handle it at their 39th St. flagship). Legend is also a possibility, if you'd like a place that has a bit more decor and also a happy hour until 8 PM (not sure if that's every day or just on weekends). If you'd like to go for Cantonese, I recommend Oriental Garden.
If you're willing to be in the high moderate range, I think a reservation for a large table at Keens is great for food/drinks and easy conversation. They have many rooms. Not great for vegetarians (if you have any in the party). In the low price range, I've always found that a large round table at one of the better Chinese places works for groups of your size and, at some, you can even bring your liquor (they usually have beer). I recommend Bowery Congee (non spicy and with some of the best fried chicken in NYC) or Lan Sheng (Szechuan... spicy and excellent). These places have excellent food, good service, large tables and are used to groups like yours.
Of course, there are also places like Otto, Maialino, etc that can also be good for a group.
My suggestion based on the last 10 person get together that I attended, is Tribeca Grill. They have a big bar where you can have drinks while waiting for a table. It's in Tribeca.
The food although not amazing, is good. I've never had a bad dish there. Lastly, they have round tables for big parties. When 10 people are at a round table you can actually talk to everyone. Rectangular tables limit the conversation.
My backup choice is Cinque, which is Italian and 12 people can either get a table in their private room, or they also have big tables.