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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It's Your Birthday - vol. 1

We're gonna party like it's your birthday. The only question is.......where?

Over the years, I have been bombarded with inquiries about every kind of event planning issue. Hands down, the number one request is about birthdays.

In New York, planning this celebration can be trickier than you think so each month I will give you a few of my top recommendations for different types of birthday bashes - complete with pricing and contact information.

Pass this along to friends, colleagues and family. Bookmark it. This is good insider scoop. (And, please feel free to leave a comment about your favorite birthday spots around the city.)

For the first installment, here are 3 great places to host a dinner party.

Dinner for 10: Barmarché (14 Spring Street, 212-219-2399)

Cozy and casual, Barmarché on Spring Street in Nolita has a great banquet style table at the back of the restaurant. It seats 10 around a big rectangle so its perfect for group conversation. Chef Linda Japngie will customize a prix fixe for your party or you can order a la carte of the regular menu. The bistro salad with pear, endive and blue cheese is amazing and they do a mean steak frites. You can bring in your own cake for a plating fee of $5 per guest but I highly recommend their desserts (and, yes I've tried them all). Owner is Chris Eddy from industry (food) which explains why everything is so damn good.

  • Customized Prix Fixe or A la Carte
  • Per person estimate: $50 and up (exclusive of alcohol, gratuity and tax
  • Credit cards (payment with multiple cards is allowed)
Contact: Minh, 212-219-2399 (or

Dinner for 16: Indochine (430 Lafayette Street, 212-505-5111)

I've celebrated countless birthdays at this iconic French Vietnamese restaurant (including two of my own). Indochine is eternally chic and the waitstaff is gorgeous. After 20 years, they know how to cater to the fashionable and the fabulous. They have had parties and dinners for Diane von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton and MAC Cosmetics among others.

Try the Indochine Martini made with pineapple and ginger infused vodka, fresh lime juice and triple sec. Best appetizers are the summer rolls either with king crab or chicken and shrimp. For entrees, the Spicy Chicken Breast with sweet potato crisps and the Steamed Chilean Sea Bass are loved by everyone.
  • Prix Fixe Menu
  • Per person: $55 (without wine) to $75 (with wine)
  • + 20% gratuity + tax
  • Credit cards (payment with multiple cards is allowed)
Contact: Reception 212-505-5111 (or via Web at

Private dinner for 20: Palma (28 Cornelia, 212-691-2223)

Dining in the private cottage at Palma will transport you to the countryside of Italy. This quaint and charming event space, located behind the restaurant, can accommodate up to 20 guests for dinner. The Italian/Provencal menu, comprised of fresh pasta, seafood and meat, changes seasonally so check back in April for an update. The husband and wife team who own Palma also run a catering company so they understand how to throw a party. Rental of the cottage includes dedicated waitstaff, fresh flowers and other elements of décor.
  • Prix Fixe Menu
  • Per person: begins at $90 (exclusive of alcohol, gratuity and tax)
  • Credit cards - maximum of 8
Contact: Terry, 212-691-2223

Service is really good at all of these restaurants but it wouldn't hurt to tell them that we sent you (wink, wink).

*all pricing and information is subject to change.


Rafe Totengco said...

thanks for the tips Celia. I've always wanted to celebrate something at Indochine. maybe for my next Bday.

Pradip said...

That's some great information! Some places I like, with a South American flair, that maybe you could blog about are AZUL for a casual dinner usually not more than 8 people and INDUSTRIA ARGENTINA which just opened up a private dining area which seats 30. Both restaurants serve amazing food!!!

Celia Chen said...

Thanks for the tips. Azul is a great Argentinian restaurant on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Azul (152 Stanton Street - 646-602-2004). And, I will be sure to check out the new private room at Industria Argentina for upcoming posts.