Okay, so the title of this post is a liiiitle misleading: let’s be honest, the actual food is usually not the stressful part (stress usually arises from the night-before-the-wedding-jitters coupled with lots of out-of-town family from both sides). So I’ll admit up-front, this post is about food, not therapy. BUT, especially in NY, finding an easy and affordable rehearsal dinner option can be stressful. Everyone wants to throw a nice dinner, but given the tens of thousands about to be spent the next day on the, you know, actual wedding, budgets for the rehearsal are usually a little tight. I’ve compiled a short list of 3 of my favorite options….enjoy!
If you have a lot of out-of-town family: Otto
You can never go wrong with Otto in my book. Not only is the restaurant crazy delicious, it’s also surprisingly affordable, offers fixed-prices for large groups and, (bonus for grandma!) is owned by celebrity chef Mario Battali. And while those of us who live in NY don’t get so excited about celebrities and their restaurants (or at least we pretend not to…), extended family, in my experience, goes crazy for some celebrity dining. The restaurant has a great West Village location, and adorable decor. And the price! For $60 per person, you get a 3 course meal (antipasti, lots of pizzas and dessert) plus unlimited wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks. Plus, you get a reservation. And for anyone who has tried to dine at Otto on a Friday night and ended up waiting 2 hours in the bar for a table, you know that the reservation alone is worth it! For more information, check out their website.
If you have a parent/family member/friend willing to host: Tanoreen
Tanoreen is a middle eastern restaurant based out in the wilds of Brooklyn that happens to be outrageously delicious. Heading out to 76th street in Brooklyn is a hassle (good luck getting your snobby cousin who lives in midtown to agree to that trip!) so instead, why not take advantage of their amazing catering? For incredibly reasonable rates and gigantic portions, you can get tons of delicious middle eastern delights. Just transfer from disposable platters to your host’s trays, pop open some BYOB-drinks and you’ve got yourself a rocking good time, I promise. Bonus: amazing leftovers for the family the day of the wedding (hello, getting ready food!) and maybe even for brunch the day after.
If you have hip, locavore rehearsal dinner guests: Flatbush Farm
Flatbush Farm is one of my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn. Now, that could be because I live about a 7 minute walk away from there but I do honestly believe it’s a place worth traveling for. The decor is totally and completely “new Brooklyn”: rustic wood, repurposed materials, low lighting and a backyard that’s to die for. They do rent out for private parties, and they have insanely good food and drinks. This is definitely not for everyone (the Flatbush Avenue location and low-lighting could be a deterrent for the elderly or the staunchly suburban) but with the right crowd, this one is definitely a winner. Bonus: the have a bar next door, adorably named “Flatbush Bar(n)”, that shares a backyard with the restaurant. Once the grown-ups finish eating, grab your wedding party and head over to the bar for some delicious late night cocktails.
What about you, dear readers? Any great rehearsal dinner gems out there that you’ve discovered? Please share!