I'll be in NYC with 6 people for an extended weekend in mid Sept. and need help in avoiding a wasted dining experience. I used to travel to the city regularly for business, but haven't been much in the past few years so most of my food recollections are a bit dated. Regardless, I've been chosen to make all the restaurant reservations for the group and I'm going to be held accountable - please help me look good.
Here's what I'm looking for:
A light dinner for either before or after theatre - tapas / small plates for sharing would be ideal. Can be outside of the theatre district if it's open late (Saturday night). $50 - $60 per person.
Our dinner centric evening - a relaxed, enjoyable atmoshpere with interesting menus would much more important than hitting one of the star chef restaurants. Craft and BLT Steak were two big hits for me previously. $100 + pp.
A unique dining experience - either the room/location or the food or both. Must have good cocktail / wine selection. Would prefer something downtown. Flexible on price.
Constraints - would like to avoid italian, sushi and traditional asian (fusion OK). We all get a ton of that back home.
I've either had recommended or seen on the boards the following restaurants, which I'd love comments on - Buddakan, Whym, Veritas (is 6 too large a group?), Degustation, Eleven Madison Park.
Also - good brunch spots in between times square / columbus circle would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance