Emmons Ave rec, please?
Can anyone offer reccomendations for a place suitable for a (very) casual birthday dinner, that'll include a family with several varyingly picky-eater, not that well restaurant-trained kids? Randazzo's was the first thought, but I'm hoping for something a little cheaper. (I think, annoyingly their website doesn't have prices and didn't have the chance to grab their menu but if I remember correctly, they're by no means "inexpensive.")
Oh - I'm not not necessarily looking for seafood though that would be a good choice, and this time, for better for worse, food quality isn't the main point? Cuisine type per se isn't that much of an issue, but more on the "standard" side than otherwise would be better, too.
I recommended Istanbul to someone on here, and they liked it. Good Turkish food, outdoor space. Stick to standard fare (as you should in any restaurant in that part of Brooklyn). XO is good for crepes, and U Swejka has good German/Austrian inspired food and beer. Thai Orchid is a good Thai place but those standard issue patio white plastic tables are a real turnoff (same for Istanbul, come to think of it, I only eat inside).
re: Peter Cherches
I noticed two new places opened up on Emmons. New York Steakhouse and right next door is this Asian Fusion restaurant/lounge called, what else but, "Fusion". The decor looks like something you would find in Miami's South Beach. I would pass on that place, since I don't like fusion anything. The steakhouse does look inviting, I will give that place a try. Has anybody tried either of those places?
Thanks for the suggestions - it seems "the plan" has changed yet again but I'll keep 'em in mind for future reference. Good to know about Randazzo's - I've never heard it touted by a reliable source as wonderful but "awful" I'd not heard either - it would've been a choice more because I know the kids will always find something they actually want to eat at a place like that and the outdoor seating would've allowed for their sometimes less-than-wonderful table, not exactly manners, but more "attitude."
As for the steakhouse - I was out there last weekend (also for the first time in maybe not quite 20 years) and noticed it but personally wouldn't bother. To my shock, that whole strip of Emmons Ave. has gotten a little too "South Beach-ish" for my tastes and I'd just as soon go to one of the old, established standbys for something I consider "serious business" like steak. ;)
FWIW, I did go to Yiasou Estiatorio last weekend so might as well report on that. I can't rave about it, but I was pretty happy compared to the Greek restaurants that are left (or have cropped up more recently) in Manhattan, and even the one place I've been to more recently in Astoria (a Cypriot place, forget the name, that was on the whole very forgettable if not "bad".)
First off, any Greek restaurant that serves normal bread gets a gold star from me. I really don't know where this whole pita thing started, but pita is Arab bread, NOT Greek, nor even Turkish for heaven's sake. My mother had never even heard of the stuff until she was in her 20s and eating out on her own.) I like pita, but it annoys me to get it automatically even in places run by Greeks.(sigh)
But anyway. The beet & skordalia appetizer was really excellent - nicely and sharply, but not overly, seasoned, and the skordalia wasn't pasty as it sometimes can be. The avgolemono soup was very good, but even allowing for my preference for heavy-on-the-lemon I just didn't taste it at all - maybe it needed a little spritz before serving after being kept warm?
The main courses were, on the other hand, less than wonderful, if decent enough. The flounder fillet ("glossa fileto") was a bit thick & heavy - maybe fluke instead of flounder? - but reasonably well prepared. My youvetsi was good, very good even maybe - but if they're going to serve it in a casserole where you can't easily get at it while you eat, they really ought to use boneless meat. I managed to yank most of the the bones out of the "bowl" with my fork once I realized they were there, but I felt a little like I was performing surgery, not eating dinner. lol
Service was good except for one arguably minor thing. The wine list is barebones and I wasn't familiar with one of them so I asked the waiter which of two he'd suggest, and he reccomended a white that was nice enough, but really didn't hold against my lamb. Not that I'm a rigid white/fish, red/meat person, but this time that would've been the right choice. But then, the guy's a waiter, not a sommelier, so I'll just remember to ask for details rather than an opinion if I end up there again...
Last comments are that it tended to get a little loud at times, though never actually overbearing and they need to fine tune their HVAC. The temperature was fine, but when the A/C went off, so did ALL air movement. Neither was remotely enough to keep me away, but both were noticeable.