my friend and i with the same birthday (but few mutual friends) had a joint dinner with friends at Carmine's midtown - we wanted to have enough food for everyone without any issue of overspending - excellent for that, we couldn't finish 2 appetizers+2 entrees between 8 people. no way to criticize that part in nyc.
The servers were arrogant and tactless, but it was not worth being upset about when the whole theatre district is there. The only FLAW to keep in mind: surcharges for petty stuff like extra marinara are everywhere, and it's a surprise on the bill - obviously it would be unpleasant to ask about an extra charge every time someone wants sauce or bread, so that's your call.Everything, Without Question or Saying so, CHARGED for!!
A friend brought a cake for us - we said we'd eat it at home and they happily insisted that we celebrate there. we said how many slices, but they sliced the whole thing, and hadn't even let us know that we'd be charged per slice. Corking fee is standard of course, but pushing a service without mentioning service charge upfront...and refusing to just bring forks or the bill- the cake she had already paid for ended up costing over $100 to eat. Crazy! Just eat their dessert or something.
Note that it's 4 instead of 3 stars because at the end of the day it's hard to find a place to let loose in a big group, eat your fill, keep a reasonable cost (if you come empty handed ha), take kids, arrange accessibly from wherever everyone lives and get a late reservation or a big group just a few days before
Pros: Huge portions, affordable wine, fun party atmosphere
Cons: rude service, surcharges