Best group dining and meal deals
The latest behemoth addition to the perpetually buzzy restaurant’s large-format menu is a 50-day dry-aged, salt-crusted rib eye and cap ($250) cooked a la plancha (on a hot griddle) for a deep sear. After coating the beef in browned butter and thyme, chef Matthew Rudofker serves 65 ounces of juicy meat alongside bowls of roasting juices, bulbs of blackened garlic, red-wine–and-onion marmalade and béarnaise. Complete your plate with a heaping Caesar salad studded with brown-butter–toasted croutons and crunchy, salted fries with a house-made smoked-bacon ketchup.
Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng’s basement bird haunt offers an assortment of house-pickled vegetables and fried fish-skin chips before its glistening Peking duck ($78) arrives. Crisp from the rotisserie, the bird is sliced and, in Beijing tradition, paired with piping-hot shots of clear consommé, and fixins like cucumbers, scallions and fried leeks. Pile cuts of supple meat onto thin, spongy pancakes, and mix-and-match your “sides” and "snacks"—a parade of small plates (oxtail dumplings, octopus salad), vegetable fried rice and entrées such as grilled shrimp with seared beanurd—until the impressive buffet is cleared.
An ambitious departure from the seafood small plates at April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman’s Ace Hotel raw bar, a 3-pound red snapper ($75 per person) is flung into the deep fryer and presented whole at your table. The flaky tempura crust is flecked with fried basil, a canvas for sweet-and-sour and Thai-chili–licked fish sauces. The Far East feast also includes spicy papaya salad, green-curry–soaked eggplant, and rice cooked in coconut milk. Cool your taste buds with dessert: a scoop of bright lemongrass sherbet lanced with cashew wafers.
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Danny Bowien has gone normcore. The relaunched Mission Chinese, trades in beer kegs, paper dragons and a cramped, dive-punk Orchard Street basement for smart cocktails, banquet-hall booths and an ample, gleaming dining room in the far reaches of Chinatown. That inescapable hour-long wait for a table can be spent in the downstairs bar, but the real party is upstairs—a lively hodgepodge of bespectacled food disciples and beanie-clad millennials spinning lazy Susans loaded with pork cheeks and turnip cakes while golden-age hip-hop pumps through the room. Family-style dining is available for parties of just two or more, and include dishes like the Chongqing chicken wings, salt cod fried rice and mapo tofu.
Buzzing with urban-farming fund-raisers, local brewers pouring their ales and food-world luminaries fresh off Heritage Radio interviews, this sprawling hangout has become the unofficial meeting place for Brooklyn's sustainable-food movement. Opened in 2008 by Chris Parachini, Brandon Hoy and Carlo Mirarchi, Roberta's features its own rooftop garden, a food-focused Internet-radio station and a kitchen that turns out excellent, locally sourced dishes, such as delicate bibb lettuce with red-cherry vinaigrette or linguine carbonara made with lamb pancetta. It also doesn't hurt that the pizzas—like the Cheesus Christ, topped with mozzarella, Taleggio, Parmesan, black pepper and cream—are among the borough's best. Group dining is available for prix fixe menus where pizza takes the center stage.
Walk into this LES rathskeller on a crowded evening and you may think you’ve stumbled into a bar mitzvah—Yiddish sing-alongs and folk dancing are ignited by the live synthesizer and further fueled by icy shots of vodka. The very Eastern European menu includes chopped chicken liver, garlicky karnatzlack sausage and enormous beef tenderloins, all of which are hearty enough to slow down the hora. The sparse decor may be dated, but the prices aren’t: Order carefully or you’ll lose your dowry paying for your meal.
At some restaurants, bread is an afterthought—baskets of chalky, uninspired dinner rolls shuffled out with chilled, foil-wrapped butter. This is not that restaurant, and it’s certainly not that bread. At High Street on Hudson, the day-to-night West Village sibling to chef Eli Kulp and Ellen Yin’s lauded Philadelphia restaurant, High Street on Market, head baker Alex Bois’s astonishing loaves—potent New World ryes, hearty German-style vollkornbrot, anadama miche enriched with molasses—obliterate the idea of bread as mere mealtime filler. Here, it is the meal. Who will say 'no' to that?
Even in a city smitten with large-format feasts—whole hogs, huge steaks, heaps of fried chicken—the Breslin breaks new gluttonous ground. The third project from restaurant savant Ken Friedman and Anglo chef April Bloomfield offers the most opulently fatty food in New York—served in medieval portions in a raucous rock & roll setting. Within the casual-restaurant landscape that the pair, also behind the Spotted Pig, has come to epitomize—a world without tablecloths, reservations or haute cuisine pretense—the new gastropub delivers a near-perfect dining experience. There are three types of group feasts offered for hungry groups: A whole-roasted suckling pig, rib of beef dinner or a fried chicken feast.
Chef-owners Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette have repackaged their beloved Massachusetts alcove as a Meatpacking District colossus, with soaring raftered ceilings and giant windows overlooking the whir of Eleventh Avenue. A mounted bull’s head and dangling jamones are token hat tips to old-world ruggedness, but with its pounding music and bombshell clientele, the industrial room is more representative of the nightclubs nearby. The mercurial menu sprawls as much as the space, offering 60 traditional and border-crossing tapas.
The dishes at this cozy Williamsburg wine bar are intended to be shared, and dining en masse means sampling the menu without breaking the bank—most items come in at under $15. Pull up a stool at one of the bar-height tables for plates like a Caesar-salad-inspired combo of sautéed broccoli rabe, anchovies, Parmigiano-Reggiano and boiled egg ($10), and a spicy-sausage–topped creamy polenta ($11). More substantial grub includes sliced hangar steak with escarole, cannelloni and red wine jus, and steamed mussels with fennel, onion and white wine. However you divvy it up, you won’t need to spend more than $20 to $25 a person, and the filling fare ensures that no one leaves hungry.
Nightlife impresario Serge Becker imports London’s sex-shop-themed Mexican cantina, scrubbed clean for the Dream Downtown: He’s swapped the seedy original’s neon lights and peep-show silhouettes for copper-trimmed tables and mirrored panels. For his third venture at the hotel—joining Melvin’s Juice Box and La Esquina—Becker taps chef Michael Armstrong (Morimoto) to roll out Yucatán-inspired tacos (soft-shell crab), quesadillas (habanero and roasted tomatoes) and large-format dishes (whole suckling pig). Banked by a wall of antique tequila barrels, the amber-lit bar stocks 90 bottles of the spirit, employed in cocktails like the Chamomile Daisy (chamomile-apple agave, lemon) and a hibiscus-infused Paloma.
Groups can stuff themselves on the cheap at this popular minichain. For $25 a head, you’ll get a family-style spread that includes two meatball choices (spicy pork, chicken, beef or veggie), two sauces (spicy meat, classic tomato, Parmesan cream or mushroom gravy), three sides (such as mashed potatoes, rigatoni or white beans) and two ice cream sandwiches for dessert for the whole party to share. If your entourage is on the small side, the regular menu is still a bargain—not much is more than $10 except drinks. Reserve at least two weeks in advance.
Frank Prisinzano’s (Supper, Lil’ Frankie’s) rustic trattoria showcases freshly made pastas and house-butchered meats in family-style dinners, offered for parties of four or more ($48 per person) served with your choice of two options for each of the six courses. Pick the Dad's Marinara with Kale Gnocchi and grass-fed beef bolognese with spaghetti for the pasta course, or the double garlic bread and fried zucchini matchsticks for antipasti.
Gather your crew around the communal tables at Joaquin Baca’s restaurant on Sunday or Monday for a Southern-style feast. Reserve a spot up to a day in advance for 3 to 24 people, and you’ll get a family-style fried-chicken dinner ($20 per person) featuring buttermilk-brined thighs and breasts and a side for each diner, like skillet-baked cheddar grits and stewed collard greens.