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Visiting NYC with Foodie Tweens, suggestions ?

We're a couple of foodie parents who have spawned foodie kids. Before kids and years ago, I happily ate at places like Union Square Cafe, Gotham, Patria and more recently Craft. Our kids are 13 & 10 and actually enjoy food and the whole dining experience; some of their favorites include duck confit, lobster, anything with truffle oil and stinky cheese trays. This will be their 1st visit to NYC. I don't want to break the bank so moderate is probably best, as is a casual atmosphere. Neither of them are huge eaters, so we often order for them to share one meal, so I guess places that are sympathetic to this would be good. Coming from Toronto, we have our share of Asian places so I would pass on that.

Where should we go?

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  1. I happen to love Artisanal, which is a bistro with an enormous (100+) cheese menu. The fondues are a ton of fun for kids (and grown-up kids). Atmosphere is bustling and they have always been accomodating.

    Another place that might be fun is Casa Mono. It's a very good tapas restaurant right off Union Square with a small open kitchen. Because it's tapas-based, the kids can order as much or as little as they want.

    1. I would strongly consider Savoy which is casual and very moderately priced and I've seen them accommodate families well. Lots of dining options (big plates/ small plates), and an amazing duck confit with duck liver. You might also consider Odeon, Balthazar (you know, the brasserie thing), Prune and maybe Hearth.

      1. 11 Madison Park has been getting raves since Chef Humm was installed there. Maybe you'd consider going there for lunch, if dinner costs more than you'd like to spend. Have a look at their website:


        3 Replies
        1. re: Pan

          I am a fan of Eleven Madison for both lunch and dinner but it wouldn't be my first response to a request for casual, moderately priced, with kids.

          1. re: dbird

            You're right; the room is too impressive for the place to feel fully casual. But if they kids are well-behaved, it could be a real treat for them.

            1. re: Pan

              I think these 10 and 14 year old foodies would love the experience of dining at Eleven Madison and agree with Pan that it would be a real treat.

              The lunch atmosphere there has a decidely more casual feel than during dinner, this despite the fact that with many business people lunching there, lots of suits are in evidence. But many people do dress casually as well.

              We've had lunch at EMP, as well as dinner, since Chef Humm's arrival, and the food at lunch was just as outstanding -- though you don't get showered with all those amazing extra amuses and pre- and post-desserts. Unlike at dinner, there is an a la carte menu at lunch, making sharing plates a possibility + two $32 tasting menus, all of which can help keep costs in the moderate range.

        2. For lobster: either Pearl Oyster Bar or Mary's Fish camp. Both in the West Village and both have amazing lobster rolls.

          1. Lunch at the Jean-Georges main dining room. It might seem a bit formal, but it's open, light, and not as expensive as you might think. It's $28 for two plates (no distinction between apps and entrees), $12 per additional plate, $8 per desert. The kids should be able to get by on 2 plates, the adults might want three each. The foie gras terrine is phenominal, as is the veal cheek, if it's still on the menu.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rcg

              Lunch at Jean-Georges sounds like a great idea, is it mostly business folks in suits? Would we be out of place in casual tourist mode?

              And please keep the replys coming.

              1. re: lightbulb

                It's frequently families or couples dressed nicely, or business people. I remember seeing much more business casual and upscale casual than suits.

                I wouldn't wear a t-shirt or jeans (maybe very fashionable jeans, but it's not really that style). I would hope that the dress code is more lenient for children.

                You'll need a reservation to be assured of a table, so you can ask them about the dress code then (after making the reservation, of course).

                If the main dining room is not available, you could do the 3 course prix fixe or a la carte in the Nougatine dining room; maybe they'd be willing to serve the main room plates in the Nougatine dining room; I've never asked myself (nor heard the results of asking).

                Hope this helps.

            2. Thinking back, I've always thought of Gotham as a quintessential NY dining experience and had a number of excellent meals there. Perhaps I should take the kids; what's it like these days?

              1 Reply
              1. re: lightbulb

                For what it's worth, neither I, nor the other two in my dinner party, liked the food that we had at Gotham one and a half years ago. We shared everything, so we all had a good sampling of the food.

              2. One thing you may not get much of in Toronto is good Mexican or South American food (we sure didn't have any in Ottawa, where I grew up).

                Maybe you could try some of the more upscale joints like Suenos?

                1. My wife and I recently went to Les Halles (http://www.leshalles.net/) It's a french bistro.. This is Anthony Bourdain's restaurant.. The place is very relaxed. The food was great and reasonably priced. FYI we went to the one on Park Avenue.

                  1. My foodie early teenagers loved Le Bernardin. Oddly, although they enjoyed the food very much, they were utterly fascinated by the intrcate ballet of service at Le Bernardin. They'd never seen anything like it before or since and are both clmmoring to go back there two years later. The one who is a vegatarian also said that it was the absolute best improvised vegatarian meal that she has ever had, and she's very picky. The waiter asked her likes and dislikes, and the kitchen created a vegetarian entre to match her preferences on the fly. Very nicely done and quite tasty.

                    The enormous cheese cart helped seal the deal, too. Very impressive and the waiter started answering questions about the various cheeses, so it quickly became a game of stump the cheese waiter. The waiter won. The four or us each got four seperate cheeses and we ended up passing the plates so that we sample 16 different cheeses. (Of course, it didn't hurt my attitude to order another bottle of wine for hte cheese course -- a nice Chevillon 1983 Nuit St. George village that was far better than it had a right to be.)

                    I understand that this doesn't exactly fit in the "let's don't break the bank category," but they were 12 and 14 at the time and they absolutey loved that meal head and shoulders above a week of meals a Cafe Boloud, Gramercy Tavern, Veritas, and simlar restaurants.

                    Veritas is probably a close seoncd choice for the meat eater, although the vegitarian marks them down more than the non-vegatarian. Vegatarian's second choice would probably be Gramercy Tavern.

                    1. How about a place like Little Owl? I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but it's definitely on the more casual/inexpensive side and is supposed to have fantastic meatball sliders and a killer pork chop. And if you are interested in going the Mexican route, I'd add Mercadito to your list, especially if the kids would be willing to try their great ceviches (definitely try the scallop and pickled watermelon) and guacs.

                      1. How did you trip to NYC with your foodie tweens go? I am interested in that very question. This is for her 10th birthday and I want it to be very very special, but not too over the top that she doesn't know what she's eating.