I need help finding a restaurant for an office dinner (6-7 people). I work for a Japanese company (and am the only non-Japanese in this 6-7 person group). Whenever we go out for dinner we end up at a mid-town (east fourties) Japanese businessman establishment (like Riki or Tatany 52) which are always great and welcoming and comfortable for my coworkers who would rather not speak English.
These places are also good because they understand the Japanese businessman habit of ordering a lot of little dishes for everyone to share rather than one entree per person and ordering A LOT of drinks throughout the night. Often when we go to Riki we stay for almost 4-5 hours and order a few small dishes at a time throughout the entire time (our bar tab & tip more than make up for our time spent there).
The few times that I have ventured to non-Japanese establishments with them we've gotten confused looks from the waitrstaff when we said we wanted to keep the menu and continued to order appetizers throughout the night. We've also gotten a number of dirty looks from management when we stayed for more than 2 hours. So we finally gave up on going to non-Japanese restaurants for our group dinners.
However, a new staff member will be coming from Japan next week and we want to go out to dinner to welcome him to NYC. Since he'll only be in NY for a few days this time around and then going back to Tokyo, we want to take him to a non-Japanese restaurant on Wednesday. Do you guys have any suggestions? I'm thinking Tapas might be a good way to go, any other ideas? Mid town is best, but I might be able to talk everyone into another neighborhood.