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help me feed picky grandma

ok, so picky is putting it lightly. She will be in town for 2 days and is rreally hard to feed. her requirements...
1. place must be crowded regardless of time fo day- but we'll be eating at regular times this trip so should be ok.
2. she will only eat "american" or italian food...no asian, nothing wierd or too modern/odd ingredients.
3. must not be ina secluded room- she loves t look at all the people in a bigger place or the street.

siiigh. she loves the olive garden. she is obsessed with times square (bless her heart we go there eveyr visit and she goes, ok now what? and we say um, thats it unless were going to a show there sint much to do here---and she gets annoyed lol)
She is OBSESSED with going to carmine's because we ate there once 8 years ago and she feels safe there. however we cant go for every meal--and going to times square more than once in a 2 day trip may make me cry. any good alernatives to carmines? should we try the west side location...is the area any nicer?

please give me some alternatives fitting these requirements, hopefully in village? and save me having to share massive plates at carmines (3 of us dining) for 2 nighs in a row!! :)

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  1. Houston's would probably fit the bill, and I think the food is actually very good. There are two locations...one on the SE corner of 54th and 3rd Ave, and one on the SE corner of 27th and Park. From my experience the 54th St location is usually more crowded.

    1. How about Il Corallo Trattoria in Soho? It's a cute little Italian place with great pastas. It's always crowded enough, VERY affordable, and I'd say it's safe for picky Italian grandmothers (I would know, I have one and they are veeerry difficult when it comes to the food).

      1. In the Theater District, Roberto Passon, on the corner of 9th Av. & 50th St., has very good Italian food. It's extremely popular, so it's packed at dinner, which will give your Grandma lots of people to look at. Reservations are mandatory.

        http://www.robertopasson.com

        1. How about Tony's Di Napoli on the Upper East Side? Kind of a Carmine's knockoff (family-style Italian), although I think the food is better. You can tell grandma that it's a *real* neighborhood with *real* NYers to stare at, unlike Times Square. LOL!

          1. I consider myself somewhat of a picky eater too and tend to prefer Italian, American and steakhouses. Crispo would fit your grandmothers requirements nicely. It is a lively place in the Village (14th Street between 7th & 8th)and has a great menu selection with plenty of "safe" choices. You might want to check out their menu on menupages.com to make sure.