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Manhattan Birthday Lunch

Birthday Luncheon at René Pujol (a long report)

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Birthday Luncheon at René Pujol (a long report)

bobjbkln | Jul 7, 2003 11:50 AM

About two months ago I asked this group for suggestions for a moderately priced place with a nice private setting and decent food to have a Luncheon for about 30 people to celebrate my mother's 90th birthday. Among the suggestions was René Pujol which we decided on. The event was a week ago Saturday and I am pleased to report that it was a total success. The participants ranged in age from their early 30's to their early 90's and everyone seemed delighted. The space was a very attractive brownstone floor through above the regular restaurant. And while this did require climbing a flight of stairs, there was a bathroom on the floor so that effort for the older people only had to be done once. We had 4 hours there and were not rushed. The first hour was a reception with by the drink full bar, although they allowed us to serve wine by the bottle (same selection as we used for dinner). We asked for hors d'oevres to be served and were allowed to select six from a choice of about 20. They were all very good, especially the duck spring rolls, fried zucchini and crab cakes (all crab meat, no fillers or sauces). It was served in a room adjacent to the one where the sit down lunch was to be served. My only complaint was that there could have been a few more chairs in that room, given the age of many of the participants.

We chose the 3 course luncheon package where we were allowed to chose one appetizer. We chose the warm goat cheese salad. We were allow to give the guests a choice of two entrées plus a vegetarian plate. We picked the grilled lamb and the Atlantic salmon. On the day of the luncheon, they added a third choice, the pork tenderloin house special. We also had a dessert plate and coffee or tea. For the wines, we chose an excellent Haut Medoc and a Macon Villages, both priced just a few dollars more than the house wines. They also served the cake which we brought.

The service was excellent. The head waiter was extremely French charming. They worked to our schedule and were very helpful. The whole luncheon, including all the drinks, tax and service charge was under $70 per person (not including the cost of the cake and the flowers which we brought from outside). The bill was well detailed (well enough that I could easily catch an overcharge error the next day, which they said they would correct and credit to my card).

My mother was delighted, and we got lots of compliments from the guests on how much they enjoyed the food and the setting. All in all, an excellent event with minimal pain for the host. So I would like to thank those of you who recommended René Pujol and suggest others consider it for similar events, especially those involving more mature guests.

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