It's Worth Getting Sloppy For This Grilled Cheese Taco
There are several reasons why this buzzy East Village restaurant continues to live up to the hype -- David Chang’s refined food, a cozy wood-paneled atmosphere, and the large-format Bo Ssäm supper. For the latter, it’s $250 (or $25 a head) for six to 10 people to feast on pork shoulder that has been cooked overnight and slow-roasted for six to eight hours, a dozen oysters, rice, lettuce, and an array of sauces (Korean-style barbecue and kimchee-and-ginger scallion) for wrap-making. Those looking to spend a little more cash can opt for the Bo Ssäm five- or six-course prix fixe for 11 or more, which includes pork belly steamed buns with hoisin sauce and arctic char with beet bonji and crème fraiche (five-course, $65; six-course, $75).
How to reserve: Call 212.254.3500
Steak frites three ways, duck au poivre, and grilled trout with eggplant caviar for you and 59 of your closest friends is just one phone call away. The expansive dining room at this charming Boerum Hill French/American spot, which is outfitted in marble tables, brown banquettes, and a mahogany bar, can seat up to 60 people (or 35 in the enchanting back garden). If you even know that many humans, congratulations. If not, just know that there’s plenty of room for that not-so-intimate birthday dinner or large brunch affair. Vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free diners can all be taken care of, too.
How to reserve: Parties of up to 10 people must call 718.935.1200
Situated in the heart of Harlem, this Afro-Asian-American brasserie offers both a spacious dining room and a wonderfully varied menu sure to fit even your pickiest friend’s tastes. Start with appetizers like the whole Nigerian prawns and short ribs before moving on entrees like tamarind-glazed oxtails and cinnamon-scented fried guinea hen. For those who like to mix and match, there’s also a wok bar to create your own main course. Big groups can always be easily accommodated -- just make sure to call ahead to save your spot.
How to reserve: Call 212.866.1262; for parties of 15 or more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re the kind of crew who rolls deep and eats a lot, make your way to Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng’s Chinese eatery, which is tucked underneath RedFarm in the West Village. The large-format dinners at the 22-seat communal table don’t come cheap (it’s $78 a head), but you get your money’s worth in the form of succulent, cooked-to-order Peking duck along with duck consommé shots, pancakes, three different sauces, and other tasty sides.
How to reserve: Call 212.691.9700
Other than that one vegetarian friend, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone opposed to a meatball-centric dinner. Michael Chernow and Daniel Holzman’s empire is a comfort-food goldmine. While there are plenty of locations to choose from (LES, UWS, UES, West Village), the Chelsea location houses a private lounge that can seat up to 32 guests at a time. Tucked beneath the restaurant, the space is aptly named Underballs. Each guest gets to choose two balls (beef, spicy pork, chicken veggie), two sauces (classic tomato, spicy meat, mushroom gravy, Parmesan gravy, and pesto), three sides (salad, mashed potatoes, broccoli, polenta, white beans), and two ice cream sandwiches for sharing -- all for just $25 a head. P.S. If you happen to find yourself in Brooklyn, the Williamsburg outpost houses two communal tables that can accommodate 10 each.
How to reserve: Call 212.257.4363
Lower East Side
This Jewish steakhouse housed inside an old-school LES basement is like the ultimate bat mitzvah -- except this time around, everyone’s drinking (wait, what was your bat mitzvah like?). Singalongs, Yiddish folk music, dancing the hora, and swigging shots of vodka from an ice-enclosed bottle are all part of the rowdy, memorable night you’ll have at Sammy’s. When you’re not dancing in the center of the room, gorge yourself on chicken liver, beef tenderloin topped with chicken fat, and potato pancakes. The space comes with long tables that can fit up to 40 -- just make sure you reserve well in advance.
How to reserve: Call 212.673.0330
Tapas dinners with tons of people typically suck -- you shell out tons of cash for a couple bites and end up having to stop for a slice of pizza on your way home. That’s not the case at this Meatpacking spot, which serves up a family-style menu, including salt cod fritters and orzo with squid ink, cuttlefish, and goat cheese alongside large-format drinks like sangria. Groups of eight or more can even add a paella or dry-aged rib-eye to the mix. The space, which features large windows and a mix of industrial and refined details, accommodates parties of up to 16, and you also have the option of sitting at the chef’s table to take in all the behind-the-scenes action.
How to reserve: Email email@example.com or call 212.691.2360
Don’t let the small space you see up front fool you. Besides having some of the best thin-crust pizza in NYC, this family-run establishment has enough space in the back to accommodate everyone and their mother (parties of eight to 20), but still somehow feels cozy and homey. Definitely order a crisp pie with toppings like vodka sauce, sweet sausage, broccoli rabe, and ricotta, but don’t miss out on other non-pizza options like chicken Parm, spaghetti & meatballs, and carbonara.
How to reserve: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Located in Midtown East, this nautical-themed eatery is the ideal spot for meals with your family or coworkers. The atmosphere is at once refined and laid-back (marble bar, salvaged wood) and there’s an excellent oyster happy hour, perfect for post-work cravings. All fish on the menu is locally caught and used in dishes like handmade squid ink spaghetti, lobster curry with Japanese eggplant & fresh bamboo shoots, and seared rare yellowfin tuna. While there’s plenty of space in the main dining area, there’s also a private room upstairs that can hold from eight to EIGHTY people, should you ever need to invite the entire town of Jud, North Dakota out for a meal.
How to reserve: Call 646.895.9585
It’s all about the bird at this popular Peruvian chain, and if you’ve got enough fowl-loving friends, bring them to the the extra-large Queens location, which has two levels and several dining areas, including a back patio. The Matador combo comes with a massive rotisserie chicken and fixings like yellow rice, beans, tostones, and avocado salad. Plump and juicy, the chicken is the result of a 12-hour marinating process that involves cumin, garlic, Peruvian beer, and other flavorful ingredients. Other South American staples (think paella and ceviche) are also available.
How to reserve: Call 718.426.1010