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Recs for Manhattan dinner with suburban 14 year old?

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A friend's 14 year old son is coming into NYC tonight because he wants to see the midnight show of Rocky Horror at Clearview Cinemas on 23rd, and his parents volunteered me as his babysitter. We're having dinner beforehand, and he's put in a specific request for ice cream as well ("I love ice cream," he's told me twice). This will be my first time alone with the kid since he was very young, and I don't really know his taste in food, but I'm guessing it's very suburban. I would like to push the envelope to expose him to something slightly different food-wise, but not be so adventurous that he doesn't eat anything. Prefer downtown, and near someplace with good ice cream. Don't have kids myself, so I'm not really clued in to what 14 year olds eat. Any recommendations?

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  1. Empire Diner? Not far from the cinema.. has a fun menu..including ice cream.. or perhaps Max Brenner (which would probably blow him away -- the whole chocolate thing..) , which is also not too far from the cinema.. and also has non-chocolate dishes..

    1. Gyu-Kaku - Korean Barbecue on Cooper Square. You can cook your own food over a grill. What kid doesn't like fire? There are plain meats like teriyaki chicken and steak and veggies like broccoli or more exotic korean fare. My super suburban 12 year old niece whose a very picky eater loved it.

      Then you can walk to Cones in the East Village or Mary's Dairy on Bleecker or the new Whole Foods on Bowery for Il Laboratorio de Gelato. or even Max Brenner for chocolate.

      1. LIttle giant, and it's near Il laboratorio del gelato

        1. I think Otto will be excellent. It is pizza of which every kid likes, but it is not the usual Domino's or red sauce pizza. It serves Italian styled pizza and most of the pizza are very approachable, just a little "gourmet"-like. So I think it will achieve your goal in getting him to try something slightly different without being too adventurous.

          The most important time, however, it is killer gelato that they have at Otto. If you do a search you will find many hounds rave about the Olive Oil gelato, and I am an asbolutely fan myself. If Olive Oil gelato seems too adventurous, there are a lot of old standby flavors, and the quality of the gelato is definitely one of the best in NYC.

          I hope you will like it!

          2 Replies
          1. re: kobetobiko

            This is exactly what I was going to recommend! Otto's is your answer...Great pizza and killer gelato...He will LOVE it! I took my son there for the first time when he was 14, and he is 16 now, and it is still one of his very favorite places...You really can't go wrong with this recommendation...

            1. re: jinet12

              Trailer Park is right by the theater. Don't know about ice cream, but I'm pretty sure they have it. The menu is limited...sloppy joes, burgers, tater tots...etc. Pretty good "bad" food. Plus the place is fun, kitchy.

          2. thanks for the recs. As it turned out, for logistical reasons (plans with 14 year olds are so complicated), we ended up not having dinner. I wouldn't have thought of Otto's for 14 year olds, because I would have assumed that kids would find the menu a little too weird for their tastes, but maybe they're more sophisticated than I realize.