Holiday Parties for the Foodie Crowd: Don Coqui
A Puerto Rican venue perfect for the festive holiday party.
Why It Works: There’s a festive spirit at this Puerto Rican hotspot where sangria flows and portions are huge. For those interested in what goes on behind the scenes—or those who want to know how to make the restaurant’s famous tapas—you can actually step into the kitchen and cook yourselves, then eat what you’ve prepared. Along with a sit-down space for dining, the restaurant has a big kitchen on its first level and uses it to set up prep tables. A separate prep area also can be used depending on the size of your group. The food-centric among you can try your hand at making chicken satay, roasted eggplant bruschetta, or papa rellenas (potato stuffed with meat). Or better yet: Conjure up your own cocktail such as a Caipirinha or apple Martini. Don Coqui also offers corporate team-building including an Iron Chef-style competition in which groups work with mystery ingredients to prepare a first and second course. Wine-tasting can be added, as can a variety of hors d’oeuvres and main courses (try the Puerto Rican paella or papaya strudel). The kitchen/party room accommodates up to 30, with a large party space that can fit 120.
Fine Print: There are various packages, ranging from $50 to $125 per guest, depending on the chosen menu and type of activity. A 20-percent deposit is needed to secure your date. Ask for Cynthia Rojas.
Reserve: 115 Cedar St, New Rochelle (914) 648-4848; doncoqui.tv (A second, newer location is at 107 Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains sans the guest kitchen/prep area.)