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You need to choose a spot for your book club to get dinner after you finish discussing the new Nick Offerman book. You’re pretty sure three people are vegetarian, one guy seems to only eat cheese and cured meat, and the other four are primarily interested in cocktails. Get a big communal tables at Cata, a fun LES spot that looks like a converted fire station. The huge tapas menu has options for everyone, and there’s a long cocktail list including 12 different types of gin and tonics.
Small plates, big tables. That’s not a terrible combination when you’re getting dinner with a group. Cata does tapas, which works out well if you have friend who gets most of their daily calories from vodka. They can have something small, and you eat some razor clams, chicken croquetas, and quail eggs benedict. This place is on the LES, but it isn’t super trendy, so you should be able to book a last-minute dinner for your group pretty easily.
Everyone loves the non-committal concept of tapas restaurants - and they make a lot of sense for birthday gatherings where people don’t want to order a whole roast chicken. But so many tapas places are, like their food, very small. Cata is large, takes reservations, and has a whole menu of gin and tonics for your Spanish drinking pleasure.