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Another family visit in a culinary waste land

One of my other sister's is visiting the city tomorrow and my parents are meeting her for lunch near Penn Station. I've searched the boards and can find virtually nothing in the area that sounds decent. I probably can get them to walk as far south as 28th and as far north as 40th - lets say between 5th ave and 8th ave.

Does anyone have any "safe" suggestions? Not too ethnic, the last time I had this problem we went to Houstons on the east side and they loved it.

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  1. Keens is on 36th St., just east of 6th Av. - http://www.keens.com

    Biricchino is on the corner of 29th St. & 8th Av. -

    1. To be really safe, there's Heartland Brewery on 5th and 34th.
      I've heard very good things aboutt Market Cafe on 9th b/t 38th and 39th but can't personally vouch for it.
      Same for Seven on 7th Ave b/t 29th and 30th but it looks nicer than a lot of the other places in the area. I walk by it every day and it's always crowded, which sound be an indicator of something, yes?

      3 Replies
      1. re: vinogirl212

        Market Cafe is excellent--it's my failsafe option in that dreary neighborhood. Not ethnic--just good American with a few creative touches. And not expensive. Haut-diner decor. The only drawback is that it's on a stretch of 9th ave. that might seem sketchy to out-of-towners (though it's perfectly safe).

        1. re: natasha

          I too recommend Market Cafe - in such a lame area, it's a great option to have. The menu is simple but well done.

          1. re: pellegrino31

            Another vote for Market Cafe - good food, good variety, nice staff...and definitely "safe".

      2. Keens is kind of pricey for lunch; if they had a Delmonicos Grill style menu it would be perfect. Does anyone have any comments on Croton Reervoir Tavern?

        Seven also looks decent - I saw a couple posts for it here and on menupages it looked ok. I avoid Heartland at all costs :).

        1 Reply
        1. re: wingman

          I am not familiar with Delmonico's Grill menu, but Keens' Pub Room menu is less expensive than the one in their main dining room.


          1. I used to live in that area -- Tir Na Nog would probably be a good place for a family meet-up. Decent food and a nice atmosphere


            1. Metro Marche is awful, as is Croton Reservoir. I've worked in the area for the past 18 years, and yes, it's a wasteland with some recently arrived places that bring some promise.

              HK, 39th and 9th, bistro food with great burgers and sandwiches in a pretty cool environment. Pasta Pesce, a very small restaurant with a very friendly owner who acts as host and is quick to serve you some spectacular parmiggiano or some spanish jamon before you order, 9th between 39th and 40th. Burgers and Cupcakes, (I know some may disagree but they have a really good cheeseburger), 9th between 35th and 36th Street, Staghorn Steakhouse, 36th Street, just west of 8th avenue, really good nice looking restaurant - great steak and of course other things. Mario's Trattoria, 9th avenue, west side, between 36th and 37th, great brick oven pizza, salads and pasta in a cozy room. Osteria Gelsi, 9th and 38th, west side, excellent pasta and fish.

              1. There are a number of Korean restaurants, in area of 56th//6th and 32nd Street.....