So here's the situation: Two SF chowhounds celebrating a 44th birthday in midtown Manhattan in two weeks time. Six foodie friends flying in from London, one of whom cooks at St John for Fergus Henderson... Big birthday bash already booked for Friday night at Balthazar. Looking for a spot that will accommodate 8 on a Saturday night, preferably modern American or Italian-influenced. Budget mid-to-high but nowhere too quiet or pretentious. Was tempted with Cesca on W 75th St after reading review in The Art of Eating but MenuPages.com trashes it. Any suggestions gratefully received.