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Jul 14, 2013 11:36 AM

Family dinner for fall wedding weekend, group of 14, incl. some elderly

A friend from NYC living in Kenya is having a marriage celebration here in October and charged me with finding a place for a dinner for family, local and from out-of-town. It's a party of 14 on a Saturday evening and the couple has a number of (reasonable) preferences:
"Great food (French, Italian, generic Euro or American), not too fussy or fancy—just really tasty, straightforward food with a range of dishes to choose from, in warm/happy/festive atmosphere with friendly service where we won’t be rushed and where it's quiet enough for conversation. And a good wine list."

The other parameters they listed are these:

They don't want a set menu, but for people to order individually.
They prefer a setup that -- unlike one long table or one giant round one -- permits people to talk to more than just the two people on either side of them.

Their budget allows for $100 per person (including appetizer, entree, dessert; drink; tax).

The party of 14 includes 2 or 3 vegetarians, 2 non-drinkers, and one person with some limited mobility, so reasonably accessible entry and toilet are helpful.

On the basis of my perusal of earlier postings seeking suggestions for large groups, I have queries out to Jane, Blue Ribbon Bakery, Gramercy Tavern, but I have a feeling there are some small, simple neighborhood gems I should be considering. Grateful for all suggestions!

(Groom's family nixes Asian food of any variety, alas.)


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  1. How about La Petite Abeille? I only have experience with the one at 20th St. and 1st Avenue, but I see on the website that they have four locations:

    Small, pleasant, not loud, but with room for a party your size if you reserve ahead. Belgian food and definitely within your budget. Menus are at the website.

    Definitely accessible for someone with mobility issues.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Elisa515

      Thanks. Appreciate the idea. I think they are looking for something a little more calmly festive than that -- though within their budget, the likes of Blue Ribbon Bakery or Jane might not be possible. I have been to the Petite Abeille in Chelsea and it was packed with loud, beer-guzzling youngsters (which was just right for the night I was there, but not for this occasion.) Thanks again!

      1. re: simkhe

        Oh, the scene at East 20th Street isn't like that at all! It's a family neighborhood, in the midst of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village.

        How about Union Square Cafe?

        Anyway, just an idea. I find most places in NYC, especially if there's room for a large group, to be rather loud during dinner, and very few will accommodate a group that wants to linger on a Saturday night.

        1. re: Elisa515

          Yes, you're quite right. If only they wanted to do this on a Monday!
          I'm calling USC shortly -- thanks for the good idea!

    2. Another option would be Craftbar. One of the few places I've been to with 10+ people that let us order from the regular menu, and the budget would be doable, particularly if you average in the non-drinkers and vegetarians.