|Bayard's occupies an elegant mansion off Wall Street.
141 E. 48th St., near Lexington Ave.
This festive Greek restaurant is known for its fresh Mediterranean fish. The
rustic private room, decorated with ceramic vases, racks of wine, and
stone-washed walls, holds 50 to 80 for dinner, at a cost of $45 per person
on weekdays, $85 on weekends. Try charcoal-grilled octopus or Greek salad to
start, followed by grilled loup de mer or sirloin.
21 W. 17 St., near Sixth Ave.
AZ serves innovative American cuisine with Asian influences in a sensual,
softly lit setting. The second-floor private room has a waterfall (which
actually begins on the third floor and falls down to the first) and seats 25
to 65 guests. The $145-to-$200 menus include appetizers like seared tuna
with avocado-and-lime sauce and entrées like grilled gulf prawns.
249 W. 49th St., near Eighth Ave.
It’s nearly impossible to score a table at Rao’s, but it’s
a cinch to take 80 or so of your friends to dinner at Baldoria, Rao’s
theater-district offshoot. The private room on the second floor seats 80 to
90; bring 130 to 170, and they’ll lend you the entire restaurant.
Three menus ($55, $65, and $85 per person) feature Italian comfort food,
served family-style. A buffet dinner starts at $45 per person for up to 80
people, and the cost of the raw bar depends on how many oysters and clams
243 E. 14th St., near Second Ave.
A Caribbean-fusion spot styled like a plantation house, Bambou is decorated
with wooden ceiling fans, birds of paradise, palms, and lithographs from the
early 1900s. For $50 a person, start with tropical salad and follow with
pineapple-glazed pork chops. Desserts include a house bread pudding with
sauce à l’orange.
321 W. 46th St., near Eighth Ave.
This restaurant, set in four 1874 townhouses, has an impressive garden that
will hold 80 guests for a seated dinner. The largest private room seats 135
and showcases antiques dating from 1775. The $55 dinner includes agnolotti,
Maine diver scallops with Yukon Gold–potato crust,
1 Hanover Sq., at Stone St.
Chef Eberhard Müller began at Le Bernardin, took over Lutèce, and
now oversees this free-standing Wall Street mansion. Model ships and
maritime oil paintings decorate nine private rooms, which accommodate as few
as 6 and as many as 300 for cocktails (200 for dinner). Dinner is $60 to $90
per person, $95 to $125 with liquor. Menu standouts: lobster salad, fillet
of beef, and a chocolate dome dessert.
25 W. 56th St., near Fifth Ave.
At Beacon, where everything
is cooked in an open wood fire, chef Waldy Malouf serves up dishes like
wood-roasted trout and oysters, grilled ranch-grazed rib eye, and
brandy-laced roasted-lobster soup. The classy spot features wood floors,
leather banquettes, and plenty of classic cocktails. Three-course meals
start at $70 a person. The second-floor glass-enclosed room seats
up to 100.
Blue Water Grill
31 Union Square West, at 16th St.
Plush blue velvet curtains warm up the vault room in this cavernous old
bank. Up to 35 people can dine on entrées like herb-crusted tuna,
roasted mahi-mahi, or filet mignon. Choose from four appetizers, five
entrées, and three desserts for $58 per person; for a bit more, you can
add passed hors d’oeuvre or sushi and raw-bar platters. The larger
jazz room holds 110 for sit-down, 150 for buffet-style.
11 Fulton St., at South Street Seaport
Enjoy a view of Wall Street’s landmarked buildings from the giant
windows at this banquet space. In the summer months, chefs barbecue on the
terrace overlooking the East River. The $125 menu, available for a minimum
of 40 guests, includes mango margaritas, petit filet mignon, Moroccan-style
chicken, softshell crab, and more. The Terrace Room can seat up to 200.
Café St. Bart’s
109 E. 50th St., at Park Ave.
You can follow a rehearsal in St. Bart’s chapel with an elegant
torch-lit dinner for 20 to 40 in the church’s flower-filled tiled
cloister garden. Or, host up to 200 guests on a section of the
church’s terrace, which overlooks Park Avenue. They’ll work with
brides to customize a menu; standouts include the mushroom ravioli, rack of
lamb, and chicken and wild mushrooms en croute. A four-course meal with open
bar is $150.
Charlie Palmer Events at Astra
Decoration & Design Building, 979 Third Ave.,
near 58th St., 14th Fl.
The man behind Aureole brings that same complex cuisine to the
restaurant’s events-only venue, where up to 300 guests for cocktails
or 140 for dinner (100 if they’re dancing) can choose from a limited
selection of Aureole favorites like balsamic-glazed quail and
truffle-crusted salmon with polenta. Everything is cooked to order (they
don’t cart it in from Aureole), and a three-course meal with open bar
runs $150 per person every day except Saturday, when it costs $175.
414 W. 42nd St., near Ninth Ave.
The lighting is kind in
this twenties-style salon, with a zinc-topped bar, vintage
red-upholstered chairs, and piano entertainment. Fifty-five dollars will get
you Maryland crab cakes, followed by black American sea bass or filet mignon
au poivre. Salad and dessert, too. The private Salon Marrakech seats 45; the
whole place can be yours with 100 to 120 guests.
208 W. 70th St., at Amsterdam Ave.
Chef Neil Annis’s latest foray on the Upper West Side includes three
private rooms: a 40-person chef’s room with kitchen viewing, a
30-person semi-private (elevated and curtained-off) lounge with its own bar,
and a 16-person glass-enclosed wine room. Feast on eclectic New American
delights like saffron-risotto fritters, organic calf’s liver, and
softshell-crab tempura for $80 to $150 per person.
60 E. 65th St., near Park Ave.
Gourmand guests treated to a rehearsal dinner by chef Daniel Boulud will be
talking about it for a long time. The spring menu features chilled pea soup
with rosemary cream, asparagus-and-lobster risotto, and raspberry vacherin
with verbena ice cream. Petits fours and madeleines follow. The Bellecour
room, with gold-leafed sconces and taffeta curtains, seats 30 to 80 guests.
You’ll pay $100 per person for food, plus $500 for the room.
Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave.
The mezzanine-level private rooms here overlook the restaurant’s
Deco-style main dining room and historic Madison Square Park. Invite 10 to
53 guests to dine on wild-mushroom soup followed by pan-seared arctic char
with salsify and truffle oil, or côte de boeuf with potato-fennel
gratin. Prices are $85 to $130 per person, depending on the number of
courses and which entrées you choose.
27 W. 24th St., near Sixth Ave.
At this grand club with black lacquer tables and a dining room that
accommodates 50 to 120 guests, guests can munch on hors d’oeuvre like
mini seafood tacos and buffalo wings with blue-cheese fondue. The sit-down
dinner consists of salad, vegetable plates, and cheese platters followed by
shrimp cocktail or oysters, filet mignon, roasted chicken, or
couscous-crusted salmon. With dessert and open bar, the price is $100 per
| Italian newcomer Fiamma is a great spot for a Soho rehearsal dinner.
206 Spring St., near Sixth Ave.
You can show childhood footage of the bride and groom on the plasma screen
in the private dining room of this new Italian spot. Soft, golden
Venetian-plaster walls, mahogany accents, and parchment-shaded floor lamps
add warmth. In the banquet room, parties of up to 70 can feast on a
four-course menu; options include sea scallops with crispy artichoke,
handmade tortelli with asparagus, and veal chop scented with sage (from $95
The Four Seasons
99 E. 52nd St., near Park Ave.
The famed Pool Room in this Philip Johnson–designed restaurant has a
private indoor terrace that overlooks a white marble reflecting pool and has
a giant Larry Rivers painting on one wall. For 40 to 100 people, you can
create a set menu (no choices) for $100 per person. Seviche of bay scallops,
black bass and maya shrimp with ginger and coriander, and wild boar with
pappardelle pasta are among the appetizers; Dover sole, breast of pheasant,
and rack of lamb are entrée selections.
Bryant Park Hotel,
40 W. 40th St., near Sixth Ave.
Former River Café chef Rick Laakkonen’s menu features an
impressive selection of wines and cheeses as well as exotic offerings like
ragout of octopus and Manila clams, and pan-roasted rabbit with olives and
oregano. A customized menu for twelve or more starts at $100 per person.
Renting out the entire restaurant, which seats 125 people, is subject to
negotiation. The hotel also rents out its Cellar Bar for cocktail hours or
dancing after the rehearsal ($5,000 to $10,000 a night, or $90 per person
for 150 to 170 guests, including open bar and hors d’oeuvre for three
La Petite Auberge
116 Lexington Ave., at 28th St.
A great deal is offered at this charming 25-year-old bistro, which is filled
with paintings from Brittany. Kick off with classics like onion soup or
leeks vinaigrette, move on to fillet of sole or veal chasseur, and finish
with chocolate mousse or crème caramel—all for $23.95 per head.
The wood-paneled private room has a fireplace and seats from 15 to 50
155 W. 51 St., near Sixth Ave.
There’s a new private room with etched-glass walls and a coffered wood
ceiling at this legendary seafood restaurant. Start with
lime-coconut-marinated peekytoe crab or yellowfin-tuna carpaccio, then move
on to pan-roasted red snapper on creamy jasmine-coriander rice. Finish with
yuzu-lemon tart and ginger parfait with a thin caramel tuile. Ten to 90
diners can enjoy a three-course menu of your choice, starting at $130 per
249 E. 50th St., near Second Ave.
This luxe ladies-who-lunch favorite will thrill your out-of-town guests. The
private Grand Salon, decorated with an antique gold mirror and sage
Ultrasuede walls, has a balcony overlooking the main dining hall. You can
take it over and serve 40 guests seasonal-menu delicacies like foie gras
terrine, lobster velouté with vegetables, sautéed duck breast, and
dark-chocolate-and-peanut-butter fondant with pear sorbet (prices start at
$90 per person).
Maloney & Porcelli
37 E. 50th St., near Park Ave.
This refined steakhouse transforms into a relaxed spot for rehearsal-dinner
parties, where a feast of lamb, garlicky chicken, or onion-crusted salmon
steak, plus hors d’oeuvre and open bar, starts at about $100 a person.
An upstairs room with a gas fireplace and three large skylights fits 40 to
125 people (up to 150 for a buffet).
The Manhattan Ocean Club
57 W. 58th St., near Sixth Ave.
Owned by the folks behind Smith & Wollensky, this midtowner delivers fresh
seafood in a casual setting. A glass-enclosed room surrounded by rare
reproductions of Picasso ceramics fits 28 (the whole restaurant seats 220).
Party menus feature dishes like clam chowder, baked oysters in morel cream,
and sauteed tuna with fois gras butter and fingerling potatoes. The
four-course, open-bar extravaganza costs $150 a head, or go for the
non-shellfish version at $130 a person.
Morton's, the Steakhouse
551 Fifth Ave., at 45th St.
Morton’s prime steakhouse fare in a clubby setting should satisfy
almost any carnivore; its private “boardrooms,” with parquet
floors, Oriental rugs, and Leroy Neiman lithographs on mahogany walls, seat
from 10 to 100 guests. A menu of salad, sirloin, vegetable, potato, dessert,
and coffee is a bargain at $61.95; $55.95 gets you melt-in-your-mouth
1354 First Ave., near 73rd St.
Fans of no-fuss comfort food flock to this quiet, quality Italian eatery for
a slice of Tuscany. Part of the restaurant can be curtained off for groups
of 20 to 80, and the whole space can be rented for up to 165 people. The
party menu ($65 per person) is a reduced version of their regular offerings,
but they’ll also accommodate off-menu requests for dishes like duck
risotto, lobster fra diavolo, or Caesar salad made fresh at your table.
130 E. 57th St., at Lexington Ave., second fl.
This lively restaurant and nightspot has two beautiful back rooms—one
with eggplant-colored walls seating 50 and another with space for 100 to
120—that can be combined for up to 170 people; both have velvet chairs
and large arched windows. Prices are $40 to $80 per person (extra for
drinks), and the customized menus can include hors d’oeuvre plus main
dishes like cannelloni of lobster, tuna tartare, lamb couscous, or striped
bass with celery-root purée. Among the desserts: dulce de leche flan
and passion-fruit Pavlova with fresh berries.
The Post House
Lowell Hotel, 28 E. 63rd St., near Madison Ave.
With a menu that includes grilled chicken breast with jalapeño ginger
sauce, filet mignon carpaccio, and Cajun ribsteak, the polished spot with
parquet floors and leather armchairs is the U.N. of steakhouses. It has no
private room, so your best bet is to invite 30 or fewer guests, who can fit
comfortably on the platformed section in the back of the restaurant. Guests
order à la carte from a selection picked by the host; about $70 per
Sel et Poivre
853 Lexington Ave, near 64th St.
Bring 60 to 65 people to this small, cozy French bistro and you can own the
place for a night. For $3,000 and up, you can get a full bar and three
courses selected from a menu that includes savory roasted chicken,
steak-frites, leg of lamb, and grilled salmon fillet. Smaller parties of 25
to 35 can be seated at long tables with the regular dinner crowd.
Smith & Wollensky
797 Third Ave., at 49th St.
A home base for surf and turf, this midtown steakhouse has three upstairs
dining rooms with skylights and wood floors that can accommodate groups from
20 to 180 people. A selection of lobster and various cuts of beef, dry-aged
in house for over 28 days, starts at $110 per head.
900 Seventh Ave., near 57th St.
Styled after a Tuscan country villa, with stone-tiled floors and fireplaces,
the connecting Bomarzo and Candle rooms on the lower level of this
restaurant can fit 20 to 80 guests combined. The 80-seat Il Naso room, with
paintings and sculptures of famous Italian noses, is another option. The
menu, which starts at $85, includes an antipasti bar, a pasta course, and a
choice of fish, veal, or chicken. Add filet mignon or lobster at an
Trattoria Dopo Teatro
125 W. 44th St., near Sixth Ave.
This theater-district Italian eatery, with private rooms for 10 to 120
guests, mixes country décor and exposed brick with Broadway-themed
paintings and mementos like a Phantom of the Opera mask. Start with a
mesclun salad, move on to a pasta course like farfalle with diced tomato and
asparagus, then an entrée such as slowly braised veal with rosemary and
mushrooms, and finish with a homemade dessert, all for $55.
Union Square Ballroom
27 Union Square West, near 16th St.
Bring a band or D.J. and dance the night away on the ballroom’s
mahogany floor. This place is a deal at $75 a person for 60 to 180 guests.
The price includes passed hors d’oeuvre—mini croque monsieur,
summer rolls—and a three-course meal starting with salad, continuing
with grilled salmon or chicken breast, and ending with a mocha soufflé.
The East River and 44th Dr., Queens
Watch the Manhattan skyline from a prime seat on the deck of this
barge-restaurant. For $90 per person, 20 to 45 guests can start with
cocktails and hors d’oeuvre outside then dine in the mirrored, Baroque
semi-private room. Options include lobster raviolini, filet mignon, and
Chilean sea bass. For dessert, try the apple tart.
Pier 81, Twelfth Ave. at 41st St.
As you cruise around Manhattan, you’ll catch exquisite views,
including the illuminated Statue of Liberty. Each of World Yacht’s
five ships are decorated in a unique style, and for about $90 per person, 15
to 50 guests can enjoy appetizers like English pea soup with roasted quail
and entrées such as filet mignon with mushroom sauce or roasted loin of
Photos by Kenneth Chen.