It's time for me to pick the next spot for our once a month "Guy's Night Out". We're non- drinkers and like to go out the first thursday of each month around 7-730pm. We've been to a ton of restaurants over the 11 years we've done this but haven't yet been to "as a group" Ray's the Steaks or Brasserie Beck or Hook. I've done Ray's a month or so ago with my wife and another couple and was VERY happy with the food. 2 years ago or so we did Ray's the Classics with my guy's group and most everyone liked it, but I really wanted to do the orginal Ray's with them this time. The only thing is that I'd have to get there at 400pm to put our name in for 8 and then wait around that area of town till 7pm when my buddies show up (I'd be coming from Gaithersburg). That's not really optimal but I'd be willing to do something crazy like this... for the experience of Ray's with the guys. Problem is, if more than 8 people want to come out that night, they can't really do a larger table than 8 easily so we'd either have to limit it to 8 guys or pick a different restaurant.
Choice 2 is Brasserie Beck - we already have a reservation for 8 at 730pm for this night as a backup idea. The thing is, sometimes 12 people want to come, and then we couldn't do Ray's OR Beck, as Beck can't accommodate more than 8 at a table, and we prefer to all sit together. I called Central by the way too, but they only have 830pm which is too late for us AND they limit it to 8 guys too.
Choice 3 is Rasika. I loved it the one time I've been but no one ever picked it from our group... I'll bet they could handle more than 8 people, but my one friend ate there once and he said he wasn't that thrilled with it and didn't want to go back that much. I don't really get that, but to each his own.
Then I thought about some other places I'd heard of and read about but haven't been like Oyamel. Not sure if they take reservations though... Lately it's been said on Chowhounds that it's gone downhill a bit, but I'm not sure as I've never been. We have done Zengo and Oya after people said they were just OK and we loved these places.
I'd love to try CityZen, 2941, Eve or Palena with this group but the price will be more than our budget of $90 w/tax and tip. We like to spend less whenever possible! $60-80 would be better for most of us. We did West End Bistro 2 months ago and that was more like $95 (excellent meal) and last month we did Ceviche in Silver Spring and that was only $50.
I had thought of Hook as a final whim and just now happened to call them... they CAN take a group of 12-14 guys. That would be perfect. The most expensive thing on their menu is the $29 beef steak and the desserts are $10. Appetizers are $8-12 they said on the phone. High, but not utterly outrageous. Any thoughts?
Thanks in advance,