Night two of eating in New York. This time, there was more of a challenge than just having me figure out where I wanted to go. I had a group of ultimately 12 people, and while last year 8 of us went to Amuse, I didn't want such an expensive place. More lowkey and relaxed, lots of alcohol as several disparate groups of friends were meeting..
There were some great recommendations from this board, but they just didn't pan out. I had originally wanted to go to 'inoteca, but for groups of 10+, you have to do a prix fixe. Esperanto wouldn't take reservations for such a large group between the hours of 8-10. So on, and so forth.
Then I read a review on here for Punch and Judy, and it was amazingly easy to set up the reservation. "11? No problem. What time? 8:30? That's fine with us. Yes we have food. No it's not prix fixe." Perfect. So smooth, that it made me worry.
So at 8:30 on Friday night, a large group of us gathered at Punch and Judy. We were seated at several tables in the back of the room, all the girls attempting to comandeer the long velvet banquette. There were several other large parties there as well.
Now, I'm going to confess that offhand, I don't remember much about the food. There were ample bottles of wine, and I was never without something in my glass. (Nice stemware too - Riedel, if I remember correctly.) That being said.. my boyfriend and I ended up splitting three dishes. The lobster club was a double-layered sandwich, lobster on one layer and lettuce tomato on the other. The bread was lightly toasted, and it wasn't too big to fit in your mouth, nor was it overly messy. (I hate sandwiches where the filling pours out the other side when you take a bite.) It was served with a small salad of mache, which I absolutely adore. We also got the "duck, duck, goose" which was a salad in three parts - some confit de canard, some foie gras, and some thin slices of duck. It was a smaller serving - not enough foie gras, alas - but very good as well. Finally we had the "Mediterranean trio", which was a very blah dish of hummus, tzatki (sp?) and something like pico de gallo, served with pita bread. Not inspired nor terribly interesting, but oh well. I had a bite of a friend's duck panini, which was excellent. I know other people ordered different salads and sandwiches, but they were all too far away for me to taste (since I didn't feel like moving.)
Then for dessert, I think we got fondue, served with an assortment of fresh fruit, and something like ice cream sandwiches, made with real bread? I'm not terribly certain at this point.
When we got there at 8:30, the smaller tables up front were full, but nothing yet in the back. The restaurant quickly filled up - and when we left. Well, I really don't know what time it was. Perhaps 12:30? 1? I don't remember. Everything was very reasonably priced. Service was pleasant and efficient. I would definitely arrange another group-outing here. If it wasn't so far down on the LES, I'd go there more often.