creative chowhound challenge!
looking for a largish space to celebrate my move from NYC (sniff!) to the west coast at the end of October, with anything from 20-40 pals, depending on how many ppl actually show.
here's the challenge: i'm not looking for a sit-down dinner, but definitely fantastic food that will help me have a lasting impression of New York deliciousness. because i don't know how many people will show up, i'd like to keep it casual and not too 'eventy'. ideally, we could just take over a space that is normally not too packed (it will be a weekday night) and people can buy their own drinks and small plates/ food & come and go as they please.
i'm hoping for a space that either has a private area (i'm willing to put down a small deposit) or, if a restaurant, a layout that will make it easy for people to mill about between seating and the bar, rather than sit down formally in separate booths/tables, since people will be coming in and out.
any cuisine is fine as long as it's delish, not too expensive (<$20 entrees or cheaper small plates/tapas), casual, and downtown (LES, East Village, Soho, West Village). to give you an idea, some favorites of mine: Supper, Esperanto, Awash, Von, Terroir, Chikalicious, Death&CO. Vibe definitely more on the boho-chic-hip-rustic side than the fancy (eg, slicker spots like Rayuela or Stanton Social are ok but not ideal)
-The 10 Bells (LES)
-Side area at Gemma
-Tapeo 28 (never been)
-Il Bagatto (downstairs or next door)
-Bia (Viet Wine Bar)
i see empty restaurants all the time in LES/E Village that could use this sort of weekday business, but of course i just can't think of them now.
thanks in advance!