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8 year old girl's birthday dinner

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Where can I go for an 8 year old's 8:30 pm birthday dinner, with a bunch of her girlfriends? She is a city kid, and so are they. She is not (yet) a gourmet, but we are and I'd like to take them someplace a little special or unusual. Serendipity? Someplace else, pref on the UWS? Uptown preferred, alas...Thanks for any help you can provide.

No theme-y Planet Hollywood-type places, please...

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  1. maybe something like Congee Village for both unusual and usual chinese food?

    1 Reply
    1. re: progressivenewamerican

      She might be able to handle it but I don't know about her 8 year old friends (one of them ordered plain pasta, no butter, when I took her out to dinner recently--at Brooklyn Diner! $10 for plain pasta, the ultimate markup).

    2. wow, what a fun question...

      hmm, i'd like to think of somewhere better than Serendipity, because she'll doubtlessly go there for countless other pre-teen bday over the years...and then hers will blend into all the others...

      What kind of food does she like?

      UWS makes it hard too, because that's a bit of a wasteland even for an 8-year-old palate...

      How many other people in the party?...an Italian place?...Greek?...Mexican?...i don't have a definitive suggestion in mind...but such a fun question demands thought...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Simon

        I *know* UWS is a wasteland, I'm dying to move back downtown. Problem is it's a wasteland for adults not kids.

        party of 10, 3 adults and 7 kids (gulp). I'd like good food in principle (and for the adults to eat), but to be honest a festive, slightly unusual and kid-friendly atmosphere/decor is probably more important. Thanks Simon!

      2. If you are willing to come a bit south of uptown, La Bonne Soupe, the sweet French bistron, on 55th St., b/t 5th & 6th Avs., might be a good option. Lots more on the menu than just good soups, including fondues, which would be fun for the young ladies -- and for you.

        http://www.labonnesoupe.com

        1. I don't love Vynl, but there's plenty of sufficiently tasty kiddie and non-kiddie itmes on their broad menu to satisfy you and your pre-tween attendees. The old-time rock 'n' roll touches, bright colors, mirror balls, etc. are at once festive and subdued enough to avoid a theme-y designation.

          2 Replies
          1. re: D...DF

            I don't know much about it, but will check it out--sounds interesting.

            1. re: D...DF

              I can take or leave the food at Vynl, but my friends and I always get a kick out of the decor, and there menu is large enough that there's something for everyone.

            2. I'm not sure how the food is..but Southern Hospitality owned by Justin Timberlake.

              1. A Korean BBQ on 32nd Street. Assuming there are no vegitatarians in the group having the meet cooked in front of them can be a lot of fun.

                I also think someplace in chinatown is a good idea for a treat.

                1 Reply
                1. re: maxine

                  Completely agree. My kids-- 9 and 7-- love this.

                2. How about a pizza party? John's on 42nd and 8th or 9th has great space and it's totally fun. It's not that unusual, but the pizza is great and I think for 8 year olds, it would be perfect!

                  1. Have you looked at Pinch and Smac? I haven't been but it sounds like it would be the right kind of place for a bunch of children.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: LNG212

                      Checked out serendipity and vetoed it yesterday. now hesitating between pinch/smac and popover cafe, or perhaps mama mexico...

                      1. re: crinkle11

                        The food is okay at Mama Mexico. And they certainly know how to cater to kids to make it fun (they have school classes there all the time). I think they usually have mariachi as well. A bunch of girls might get a kick out of the teddy bear decor at Popover but other than that I don't know that it offers anything special.

                    2. I know that you said no Planet Hollywood type places- and I would have put Serendipity in that class.
                      The most fun my kids have ( and they are older, but no less city girls) is at Todai. The food is not anything that belongs on this board, but the selections are vast, it is not intimadating, and you don't have to worry about guaranteeing an exact number- often a problem at kids parties. They can squeal as much as they like. We have had an issue with a kid with a seafood allergy, even though the staff said that they had dishes that did not have it, this girl ( probably wisely) chose to just be a part of the party and not eat.
                      It is not uptown ( 32nd?)

                      1. In case you decide it's worth it to go downtown, consider Blue Ribbon on Sullivan. I just ate at their Brooklyn Brasserie, and there is an extensive (and dirt cheap - $9.50 complete dinner) kids menu. The staff was extremely accommodating to the 3-year-old in our party and seemed very accustomed to dealing with younger guests. If your daughter finds the kids menu not quite sophisticated enough, the restaurant is happy to divide entrees and salads from the regular menu. I'm not positive that Sullivan Street would be as good an experience, or that it has the same kids menu, but I'd check it out if I were you.

                        Edited: And...I just saw that you'll be a party of ten, and the restaurant's website limits reservations to eight. Maybe if some of the diners are kind of small?

                        http://www.blueribbonrestaurants.com/...

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: small h

                          I am a big fan of Blue Ribbon everywhere but I don't see Sullivan Street fitting the bill- location- wise doesn't cut it and it is way too small for that many kids. I have not been to S'mac yet but I am anxious to try it- anyplace that has GF mac and cheese is ok by me!

                          1. re: carfreeinla

                            I haven't been to the Sullivan St. one for years, and I don't remember what size it was, so I'm glad you weighed in. Girlfriend mac and cheese?

                            1. re: small h

                              Gluten-free

                              1. re: whitneybee

                                Hah! Not sure that's going to catch on. And I read your post below as "significant other" good. Stop hijacking all the relationship-oriented abbreviations!

                                1. re: small h

                                  vbg- us people with CD toss them around, IMHO. From what I understand, you can order the mac and cheese either GF or not GF. Just like Risotteria- pizza GF or not. My kids say that they can't tell the difference between the GF and regular pizza...

                                  1. re: carfreeinla

                                    It catches on if you wind up talking about it a lot.

                                    My family and friends have said the same thing about the pizza - I've never actually been to Risotteria with another celiac. As for S'Mac, you can order your mac and cheese gluten-free or not - their white sauce and breadcrumbs and everything are all gluten-free, so the only difference is the pasta.

                            2. re: carfreeinla

                              S'Mac's GF mac & cheese is SO good, and while it's been helping me get over the fact that I no longer live a 5 minute walk away from Risotteria, its' starting to get a bit dangerous - that's how often I go.

                          2. Thanks to everyone for their input--and here's a report on the actual event:

                            Popover Cafe doesn't take reservations, but they thought on a weekday night at 6:30 we'd have a reasonable chance of getting in, and they suggested setting up the dinner on the long banquette in their back room. They didn't hold it for me, and we had to (nicely) ask for the couple who were sitting there to move. Once we were set up there, the evening was almost perfect--normally impossible when you're doing an event with 8 children and 5 adults.

                            The banquette was long and soft, the service was very nice (though the food came more slowly than we would have liked. The restaurant has teddy bears that a bored child can borrow, plus a kid's menu that comes with crayons to draw on. I had to bring in my own birthday cake (and charged a $10 cake fee), but that was fine. We pretty much had a whole half-room to operate in and yet it was a quiet enough place that the grown-ups could relax while they had a drink. The food was just fine, though nothing was exceptional. Plus the place had a kid's menu, which meant that the total bill with tip for all of us (including 5 drinking adults) came to $350 or so. All in all, pretty much a best-case scenario, and I'd recommend the Popover to anyone doing a girls' event for this age.

                            Two words, though: try and get that back banquette--and make it clear to them if you've got a movie to get to or other kind of deadline.