My parents will be in town this weekend.
My mother is a fussy eater.
She's vegitarian, but she also doesn't like any oil or butter or greasiness, and she thinks just a little bit of flavor is too spicy.
When we go out, she usually asks for a custom dish of steamed veggies over dry pasta or rice, or pizza without cheese, or salad without dressing and cheese...
So, this is New York, and there's got to be something that caters to exactly her taste, right? My father and I are willing to suffer for a meal or two.
Any suggestions? Most places I know of have spicy thai flavors...
Manhattan or brooklyn.
If you're willing to go upscale, Pure Food and Wine might work for all of you. It's vegan and "raw" food (not cooked past a temp of around 118 degrees). Normally, my husband and I, who are ardent carnivores, would not patronize this type of restaurant. However, we heard raves about their signature dish, a "lasagna," and had to try it, which we did last summer. The raves were not misplaced. It was phenomenal! I started with a green salad, which was nicely dressed and not at all oily. However, I don't see it on the current menu. Desserts were very expensive and hugely disappointing. So, the lasagna is the only thing I can recommend, but it's worth going there just for that. Plus, weather permitting, there is a large, beautiful back garden with very comfortable seating.
I feel for you- my grandmother is just as bad- she even goes so far to ask for no salt on her plain broiled salmon...and then dunk it in tons of ketchup:}
I would definitely suggest Hangawi at 32nd and 5th- it's a fun atmosphere (you take your shoes off and they serve you in kimonos), and your mom can find dishes with next to no spices added to them, but there is enough for you and your dad to savor (it is korean based so some dishes are spicy)- the food really is delicious, and all vegetarian.
For your mom I would suggest a porridge (pumpkin or sesame with rice flour- filling and yummy, not too sweet) and the avocado rolls or wraps (forgot the name)-just avocado, cucucumber and other vegetables- no spices (save for the sauce). Or the acorn noodle salad- it has absolutely no oil, served cold with vegetables and asian pear.
For the rest of you, go for the Ghenghis Khan noodle pot or anything with mushrooms- they do things to mushrooms that make you swoon and forget there is no meat.
Dojo on West 4th by Mercer might fit the bill... it's really cheap (or it was when I was at NYU), mostly vegetarian, and generally pretty bland, though there are a few more spicy noodle-type dishes that you and your dad could enjoy. I liked the veggie burger with ginger-carrot sauce a great deal. I think there's also a location on St. Marks.
agree with angelica's kitchen or dojo as suggestions. or even shun lee palace or similar chinese where you can order a great steamed vege plate over brown rice...hold the sauce. zen palate, various locations, would also offer yummy choices for all. they have some 'bland' food with a pleasant selection of excellent dishes for you to choose.