Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jan 26, 2008 07:52 AM

Birthday Dinner for 8 Year Old in Theatre District

We're taking my daughter to see Wicked for her birthday and want a good place for dinner. She is a pretty good eater- likes steaks and burgers, pasta, sushi. Something upbeat and fun, not crazy expensive and please no Carmines or Ruby Foo's or the like...

Also, any good brunch recommendations also in the theatre district? Have been to Le Madeline and Marseilles recently, but would like to try something new if possible.

Thanks in advance...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. For brunch, I recommend West Bank Cafe.

    As far as the birthday dinner is concerned, can you be a bit more explicit as to what you and most especially your daughter would regard as "fun"?

    3 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      I obviously don't want an insanely loud bar scene and nothing stuffy or formal. Just really good food with a fun, city vibe (good music is always a plus). And nothing touristy. We lived in the city for more than ten years and we spend enough time there now that we still feel like new yorkers. We also eat a lot of meals in the city but usually downtown or in bklyn...

      1. re: lemonhead3

        My first thought when I read your original post was Marseille until I saw that you had been there.

        Though quite different from Marseille, the very family-friendly La Bonne Soupe might be a good option. To be honest, I haven't been there in a very long time, so I'm a bit hazy about the vibe though my best recollection is that it was upbeat.

        Trattoria Trecolori is a favorite of mine and many other Hounds. Well-prepared, homestyle Italian fare is served by a friendly, efficient staff. The space is large with attractive decor, and the overall feel is cheerful and relaxed.

        If you're willing to have dinner away from the Theater District, you might want to take a look at this thread about Artisanal which is more along the lines of Marseille, i.e., bright and bustling:

        Happy Birthday to your daughter and Bon Appetit!

      2. re: RGR

        west bank cafe looks like a good option. thanks!

      3. I have a few suggestions, Becco, B. Smith's, Bond 45 are good ones. There's always Joe Allen's which is a classic theatre district whatever you like place, but not my favorite. I love db Bistro, but not sure how adventurous your daughter is.

        4 Replies
        1. re: robinsilver

          lemonhead3 mentioned that her daughter likes sushi, so I would say that the young lady has a fairly adventurous palate. I actually think dbBistro is a great suggestion, much better, imo, for a birthday dinner than Becco, which has an insanely noisy vibe (too much so for comfortable dining) and mediocre pastas. The young lady might really enjoy tucking into the famous db burger. And there are two steaks on the menu as well, albeit a bit fancier than steakhouse steaks.

          1. re: RGR

            while the menu at dbBistro looks great and seems to be my type of place, i think that $32 for a hamburger is a bit insane. in fact, i thought the whole menu was very $$$.

            i haven't been to becco or b. smiths in ages- both are just ok imo. and i cannot believe that la bonne soupe still exsists. is it any good? i used to go there with my father when i was a kid.

            1. re: lemonhead3

              If it were a normal hamburger, I'd agree with you. But it does contain short ribs and, more to the point, foie gras, which is the reason for the high cost.

              Yes, La Bonne Soupe is still going strong, and reports from many Hounds who have eaten there within the past year have all been positive. So, perhaps your daughter would get a kick out of going someplace that her grandpa took her mom to when *she* was a kid.

              1. re: RGR

                Virgil's has great barbecue and is perfect for an 8 year old. Becco has a prix fixe pasta dinner with 3 selections. A bit more sophisticated but fun. Both are reasonable.

        2. Hi lemonhead3, your daughter sounds like she has a good set of tastebuds.

          Have you seen this thread? . Might be helpful.

          Landmarc does get loud later on, but if you go before the show, the restaurant will be fairly empty. Do keep in mind that it is a little bit of a walk from Columbus Circle down to the Gershwin, and if you try to take a taxi, it may have a hard time getting through the traffic congestion. If you hop on the subway, it's only 1 stop on the C train.

          Molyvos (55th and 7th) is a family friendly, decent Greek restaurant within comfortable walking distance of the theater. It's lively and wait staff are sort of theatrical (with a relish for setting saganaki on fire, presenting desserts as big as your head, etc...).

          I somewhat hesitantly also suggest that you look into Mars 2012. The theme restuarant is obviously very contrived and your daughter might be too grown up for it, already. But I have escorted a large troupe of middle school children there before, who thought it was cheesy at first, but ultimately had a blast. The burger and fries I had there were alright--of similar quality as a respectable NYC diner. It's overpriced if you only look at the food; the experience might be worth it to you.

          If you go a little further west, Vynl might be a good bet. Your daughter could try some of the Thai options or stick to more traditional diner fare. It's a fun, colorful restaurant.

          1. Uncle Nick's is a fun, boisterious, not pricey Greek place on 9th Ave.

            1 Reply
            1. re: katie570

              Along with all the other fine recommendations, I would also suggest Etcetera Etcetera.

            2. Molyvos: too expensive even if it is good, and I've never seen young children there. For sushi: East on 55th between B'way and 8th; excellent sushi at NJ prices and they serve cooked food too. dbBistro too stuffy for kid, even one who eats foie gras. Churrascaria Plataforma is large and family-friendly. It is Brazilian; grilled meats, huge salad bar for one price. W.49 between 8th and 9th. Although you could certainly consider it touristy, it is fun: Ellen's Stardust Diner. Can't say much about the food but it is very entertaining. 44X10 Hell's Kitchen serves great "comfort food" and is not overpriced. However, it is a bit out of the way; across from the Hess Station on 10th Ave. at 44th st. Cab-able to Gershwin Theater, of course! La Bonne Soupe is a fine choice, just get there ahead of the crowd if you can. They don't take reservations.

              1 Reply
              1. re: joannabar

                I've actually taken middle school kids to Molyvos, too. They loved it! (We had a highly entertaining waiter.)

                Like the Churrascaria suggestion. Be wary of eating so much you fall asleep for the show, though... :)