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Teenagers visiting Union Square area

My 17 year old nephew will be visiting NY from the UK with his politics/government class. They have one night free and the chaperone has decided to let them loose in Union Square. I am taking my nephew and a couple of his friends to dinner but would love to give the chaperone a list of suggestions for the other kids so they arent disappointed by their NY experience. Doesnt have to be super cheap but I was thinking BBQ/Mexican/Burger/Curry/Thai. I think we can stretch to walking distance from Union Square. Any great ideas out there?

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  1. republic would be okay but im sure they get decent south asian food in the uk...chat and chew is a good option for hokey but quite good comfort food. there's stand, the burger joint that has good shakes.

    RUB for bbq on 23rd isnt a bad option either.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sam1

      Republic is gross. Do not send them there.

      If its still open, they could walk a few blocks to Shake Shack for burgers. Otherwise, they can try the new Goodburger a few blocks up Broadway from Union Sq.

      BBQ - close to union square is RUB, Hill Country and Blue Smoke. I haven't made it to Hill Country yet. I think Blue Smoke is better than RUB. Plus Blue Smoke also has great burgers.

    2. There's the Coffee Shop...ALWAYS fun for tennage boys to people (women) watch there....Oh Chat & Chew may be an option as well.
      For a snack, take them to Pommes Frites for awesome fries. It on 2nd Avenue right off of St. Marks place..Then walk up St. Marks place..They'll love it. Any out of town teenager does....

      1. Wow, why don't you all do Rosa Mexicano (18th & 5th)? I'd scratch Thai and curry...there's MUCH better to be had in the UK.

        5 Replies
        1. re: LeahBaila

          Chat and Chew is awful please dont let that be their experience in NYC. I bet those kids from the UK will love RUB or Hill Country. Get them some good ol USA BBQ!!

          1. re: princeofpork

            Second (or third?) the recs for RUB and Hill Country. Though I used to be a big fan of RUB, now that we have Hill Country I have split allegiances. Hill Country has better atmosphere so I'd choose that one.

            Though I often agree with LeahBaila, I'd say nay to Rosa Mexicano. It's more upscale Mexican and so for this group, I'd go somewhere a bit more casual. Il Cantinero on University is a good option or La Palapa might work better.

          2. re: LeahBaila

            I think LeahBaila hit the nail on the head with Rosa Mexicano. It might be a little more upscale, but pound-to-dollar, it's not that bad. And it's damned near impossible to get Mexican food like this in Europe. El Cantiñero has awful food. It's just a local NYU spot for margaritas.

            The BBQ places everyone has mentioned are not that close to Union Square. And while Republic is ok, it isn't South Asian, it's more Oriental, though you'd do better for Asian at Momofuku, Saigon Grill or Chino's. Good curry is rare around Union Square, though you can get passable Thai at Spice (which is popular with students).

            Borough Food and Drink is a great option for tourists, though. It's a restaurant full of NY specialties.

            1. re: JungMann

              I agree on Rosa Mexicano.

              Republic, Spice, and El Cantinero ... don't do it. PLEASE.

              Pomme Frites is good but might not be a big deal for them since it's basically just chips. But a walk up St. Marks would be fun for a bunch of teenaged boys.

              1. re: JungMann

                It's a bit much to say that El Cantinero is "awful". Is it the best, most authentic Mexican food? Definitely not. That's what Tacqueria Coatzingo is for. But is the food good and the atmosphere fun and rowdy for a group of 17 year olds? Yes. I wasn't thinking Rosa Mexicano was upscale in terms of expensive (given our weak dollar, they will be happy spending anything) but more formal than this group probably wants.

            2. I am going to give them a list that includes the following:

              Rub and Hill Country- though a little far from US, you cant get Q in London!
              Shake Shake and Goodburger- cuz boys love burgers!
              Tequila's and Mexicana Mama- cuz they seem to get good reviews and are nearby.
              Patsy's and Una Pizza Napoletana- cuz who doesnt love pizza.

              I think Rosa Mexicana might be a little too sophisticated for Mexican food novices. I am afraid they may end up scratching their heads on that one.

              Anyway, it's up to them to chose and I am taking my nephew (and 3 of his friends) to Luzzo's. He's a pizza man!

              1 Reply
              1. re: MellieMac

                Oh, and thanks for all the suggestions!

              2. i used to live in UnionSq and recently left the city.

                i'd recommend: that they peoplewatch a bit in UnSq but then walk five to ten minutes south/east to actually eat.

                Republic, Chat&Chew, etc: all those places are total crap. CoffeeShop has *truly* disgusting food. And Rosa Mexicano? -- nothing against it specifically but why eat Mexican food in NYC? I'd recommend avoiding all Thai and all Mexican in Manhattan.

                I'd say they should head to St.Marks and eat at some of the Japanese places (Taisho for example), because even the mediocre-but-festive Kenka would more fun than any of those icky UnionSq cafeterias. Soba-ya on 9th St between 3rd/2nd Ave might actually be the best choice.

                Or slightly further east they could get affordable tasty Moroccan at Cafe Mogador. And there are lots of Italian options too (Cacio e Vino is my favorite: on 2nd Ave near 4th St).