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Aug 24, 2006 01:53 PM

long weekend with kids

Hi --

I'm coming to NYC from Maine in a couple of weeks, and am looking for chowish places that will work for my family of four. The kids are 8 and 10, and have very divergent tastes: the 8 year old has your typical kid-type palate, while the 10 year old will at least try anything and counts sushi as one of her favorite foods.

We're staying down in Battery Park City, but will be doing the whole tourist thing, and will travel for good food, especially stuff we can't get at home, like good ethnic food and real pizza.

I've done a search, but most of what I came up with focuses on younger kids. Any help would be much appreciated.

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  1. For pizza, you could go across the Brooklyn Bridge and get to Grimaldi's before they open at noon, or you could go to Arturo's on Houston St. Get a clam pie if your kids like clams. The place just oozes history and character, and at certain times, there is good jazz playing in the bar room that you can hear in the adjoining diningroom.

    You should spend part of a day walking around Chinatown and adjoining areas. If your kids don't mind some jalapenos, they will probably enjoy having a Vietnamese sandwich at Banh Mi Saigon Bakery (Mott between Hester and Grand), which is also neat because it sells crystals up front. For the kid with a typical kid's palate, he may still like the chicken sandwich (Banh Mi Ga) and you can request that it be made mild. After purchasing the sandwiches, walk a few blocks uptown to Spring St. and then turn left, and you'll find a little park with a playground where you can sit on a bench and eat your lunch, and your kids can run around.

    Your kids may also enjoy going to a restaurant with fish tanks. Any number of restaurants would qualify. I always liked looking at the fish and seafood in the tanks on the ground floor of Nice Restaurant, on East Broadway between Catherine and Market Sts. (not far from Chatham Square). The food is competently made and only some of it is unusual in any way, so you could order a mix of dishes and have fun.

    Dim sum is always fun for children, because it's interesting to see all the different food coming in the carts. Dim sum in carts in Manhattan is not an awe-inspiring experience for adults who've had better dim sum elsewhere, but it can still be fun. I think the best you can do is to go for breakfast. A couple of winters ago, I had dim sum breakfast at Harmony Palace (Mott St. just north of Canal) at around 9:20 on a weekday. This is a place that's usually really hectic at peak hours of lunchtime (and also at dinner, when it's a good place for regular dishes and often rented out for banquets), but at that time of day, it was relaxed, the service was friendly and helpful, and everything was hot and fresh.

    I can't really help you much on the sushi front, except to say that the East Village is full of Japanese places, some of which specialize in sushi, and it's another fun neighborhood to walk around. One thought I have is that you could get things to go in a Japanese store like Sunrise Mart or JAS Mart or M2M, a Korean market that also has Japanese things for sale, walk with your food to Washington Square Park and eat it there while enjoying people-watching there. And again, that's a park where your kids can run around and have fun.

    I have no doubt that others will offer you some good suggestions for kid-friendly sushi bars.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pan

      It's not cheap, but I've always found Blue Ribbon Sushi in Soho - at lunch - to be child friendly. And if you go (and even if you don't) head over to Kee's Chocolates on Thompson for amazing chocolates - I've had children (of friends) pick out and enjoy even the Thai Chile chocolate.

    2. Hey -- are you by any chance coming in for a wedding in Queens and missing out on the rehearsal dinner at the Nice Restaurant because the bride lied to you about when it was going to be? If so, this is the (sheepish) bride.

      You've been given some good ideas so far and hopefully you'll be given more but here's my two cents --

      The walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, ending in the reward of pizza at Grimaldi's and (don't forget) ice cream at the Brooklyn ice cream factory on the pier is a wonderful idea. Touristy -- but still a great treat. There's also the Jacques Torres chocolate factory over there on the Brooklyn side -- fun for kids of all ages.

      If not dim sum, Korean BBQ is really fun and hands-on and kid-friendly and not that expensive. (Tons of places around 32nd Street between 5th and 6th). I think both your kids might enjoy it. (Also in that vein and neighborhood is Mandoo Bar -- also Korean, but famed for their dumplings and they have someone in the window making them.)

      I might also consider, given where you're staying, walking around Tribeca -- it's a very kid-friendly but hip downtown cobblestoned neighborhood with tons of good restaurants. (Easy walking distance from your hotel).

      As for pizza, besides Grimaldi's and Arturo's (both of which I second), the groom's favorite pizza is Lombardi's (on Spring Street, near Chinatown and Soho). If you're in the Times Square area, something useful is John's pizza -- decent pizza in a large comfortable space that used to be a church.

      See you soon (if it is in fact you!)

      1 Reply
      1. re: chickfila

        These are excellent suggestions, as are those in the post below. I think all kids love the walk across the bridge, rewarded by pizza at Grimaldi's and chocolate from Jacques Torres or ice cream from the brooklyn ice cream factory. You could also take the water taxi back to battery park city instead of hoofing it back across the bridge or taking the subway.

      2. Some places nearby where you'll be staying:

        The Soda Shop on Chambers can be fun. Tiny place, imited menu, but soda drinks and candy available. My kids really liked it.

        Alfanoose, on Maiden Lane, has wonderful felafel, etc.

        Adrienne's Pizza Bar on Stone Street in financial district (itself a charming stroll) gets good reviews, though I haven't been yet. On that same street, Financier is nice for their signature pastries and good coffee. Their sandwiches are good too, at least at the Stone Street location (I think there maybe location closer to where you'll be staying, in World Financial Center.)

        Farther afield and good for kids:

        If you're going to Chinatown, the dumpling places on Eldridge and on Allen Street are excellent and cheap. 5 pork dumplings to go for a dollar.

        Le Burger Joint in Parker Meridien in W. 50s or Shake Shack in Madision Square Park. Both: delicious burgers (I think fries are better at LBJ), very kid appealing, you just need to time your visit carefully to avoid long lines. I've beeen to both places for an early dinner, 5 p.m., and not had problems.

        Good BBQ places:

        1. R.U.B. on 23rd STreet and 7th avenue
        2. Rack and Soul, near Columbia U., on 109 Street.

        For Mexican, try Tulcingo del Valle, on 10th AVenue and 47th Street. Cheap, good, and fun (they hace jukebox stocked with mostly Spanish music.)

        For Thai, consider Pam Real Thai, on W. 47th Street, which has a very extensive menu. There's bound to be something to appeal to everyone.

        For Chinese but not in Chinatown, and in convenient Rock Center location, try Wu Liang Ye. The food is excellent, and the staff is very solicitious of children!

        That's just for starters...