Big Apple vs. Baby
Our little family of three will be making a flying visit (only to 3 nights and two days) to New York at the end of May and will be staying in Midtown. Our son will be 17 months old we we arrive and has been in many restaurants around the world since he was born. He is very well behaved and will most likely be asleep, so we are looking for child friendly restaurants that won't balk at the idea of a Bugaboo sitting beside our table and may even have a high chair should he wake.
As dedicated foodies, we are looking for a modern American dining experience (something new and happening as opposed to traditional French style) that is baby friendly. As an example of the sort of thing we are looking for, we took our son to Boulevard in San Francisco when passed through this February.
Some of the places we have shortlisted so far include: The Modern, Gilt, Gramercy Tavern & Aquavit. but would like advice on whether these would be appropiate with the little one.
We would also appreciate other suggestions for both lunch and dinner, but we we primarily want to focus on dinner and location is also key as we ideally would like somewhere nearby to where we are staying.
Hope you can help.
Megandavid & Finn
Firstly many thanks to you all for your kind advice and suggestions. We will definitely give Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Babbo and Ottos (which also sound interesting) a try and let you know how we get on. To be honest, as suggested we'll probably elect for the highchair option and dine slightly earlier as we may be a little jetlagged.
We'd still like to try and eat at some of Manhattan's finest and would appreciate more suggestions. In our experience most restaurants do their best to accomodate us and we've been lucky that in our whole time dining out with him we have only had one restauranteur be a little difficult about it (when we were booking). They later came over at the end of the meal to compliment us on how quiet and well behaved he was. Hopefully our luck will continue during time in Manhattan.
Megandavid and Finn
Blue Smoke has a kids menu, high chairs, and changing tables, and delicious barbecue. It's part of the same resto. group as Gramercy Tavern, which is owned by Danny Meyer. You may want to call Gramercy first, and if it doesn't sound promising, ask the reservationist to recommend another restaurant in the group that meets your needs, keeping in mind what you already know about Blue Smoke.
I recently took my sister and her 3 month old daughter to Babbo. When making the reservation, I let the reservationist know that we were bringing an infant, and she asked if I needed a high chair. So, I assume they have them. She also said that she would make a note on the reservation that we would have a child with us. When we got to Babbo, the staff was so accomodating and helpful. They sat us in a banquette table, so there would be a lot of room for the baby's car seat. FYI, there is no room for a stoller in the restaurant and there is no changing table in the bathroom. However, when my sister took the baby to the bathroom for a diaper change, a bus boy told her that he would remove a flower arrangement in the bathroom so she could use the space to change the baby. She was so impressed and touched with the kindness she received by everyone at Babbo when it came to her baby. We chose the earliest reservation - 5:30 pm - since we had the baby with us.
Babies in restaurants is one of our most contentious issues on Chowhound, so we just want to take a moment to remind everyone to keep the discussion focused and useful. General debate on the issue of whether children belong in restaurants is off topic for the Manhattan board.
If you've got specific information on whether babies are welcome at the restaurants megandavid has suggested, please post it. Also post any additional suggestions on baby friendly restaurants that meet her criteria. Posts that aren't specific and helpful will be removed.
I have never been to The Modern or Gilt, but I have been to Gramercy Tavern and Aquavit. I do not think that it would be appropriate to bring a 17 month old to either restaurant. Additionally, like in almost every place in Manhattan, there is really no room to keep a Bugaboo sitting beside the table. This is coming from a mother of 2 children (2 1/2 and 6 months) and the owner of a Bugaboo, so I am not anti-children.
My suggestion would be to call any places that you are interested in and ask if they have a high chair. If they don't, it is not appropriate to bring a toddler. As for the child being asleep, I'm not sure what time you are planning to go to dinner, but I would suggest going to dinner on the early side. When my daughter was 17 months old, she certainly wasn't sleeping through dinner (she was too busy eating!) but we always arrived at the restaurants by 6:00, so that when she really started to get tired, we were finished with dinner and other diners were really just starting to arrive.
Having said that, this does not mean that you have to eat at Applebee's (we have never, ever eaten at an Applebee's), but there are places that are more appropriate for children.