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Is it a no-no to order desserts only?

I will be traveling to NYC with my 3 teenaged children. They are picky eaters and would not fully appreciate a fine meal at a nice restaurant. Would it be acceptable to go to somewhere like Tavern on the Green for only dessert?

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  1. First of all, why would you waste your money for a place like Tavern on the Green? You can go to a nice restaurant with so much better food. Go to: Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, wd-50, etc.

    It's fine to order desserts only once you tell your waiter/waitress first. I did that once for my friend's birthday last summer for wd-50, while we had a sushi dinner at the now closed, Esashi beforehand. Anyway, our waiter was gracious to accommodate our request and he didn't give us any problems or attitude about it.


    1. I would ask before being seated. I've been turned down for dessert only during prime time hours. You may also want to look into dessert only places such as p*ong and chikalicious.

      1. I believe AC said she is traveling with teenage 3 picky eaters. I'm doubting WD-50 or p*ong -- two of the more cutting edge restaurants in the city, are going to appeal to them.

        AC- you may want to call wherever you are considering going in advance just to check on what their policies are on this.

        1. Are you going to eat a full meal while they only eat dessert?

          1. I would try desert place first esp. at prime meal hours.

            1. Hey, ackindergarten,

              I do not think it is acceptable for you to go to a fine dining establishment with the intention of you having a complete meal while your picky teenagers only have dessert.

              If you have your heart set on a fine dining experience, my solution would be this. Since they are teenagers, send them off to a place with food that they like -- pizza? burgers? bbq? -- and afterward, perhaps, a movie, while you indulge yourself.

              And, btw, definitely stay away from Tavern on the Green because the food sucks!

              1. If you have kids and you are looking to please THEM with dessert, go to serendipity, dylans candy bar, carmine's or even the dessert truck or Magnolia........

                1 Reply
                1. re: kcijones001

                  Exactly, There are plenty of dessert-only places in NYC. I'd choose one of those instead of taking up a dining table during dinner time.

                2. Hi ackindergarten,

                  You can go to Otto for the gelato (do a search and you will see all the raves about the olive oil gelato and other desserts). You can order just desserts, but I will suggest going to non-peak hours as it gets really packed during dinner time.

                  If the restaurants have a bar area (e.g the bar at Modern, Tavern Room at Gramercy Tavern, etc.), you can probably do desserts, particularly at non-peak hours. I will definitely tell the staff about ordering just dessert before they seat you, as they may put you in the bar areas to leave room for other diners.

                  While it is probably ok to order just desserts during lunch or dinner times, I agree with UES Mayor that you should try to avoid it. You do yourself and the restaurant a favor by not having to line up for just desserts and the tables can be available for other diners that are ordering full meals.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kobetobiko

                    Oh, how can I forget - Line B of Shake Shack for frozen custard! I will highly recommend the burgers there as well. I can't see how your kids not like them!

                    1. re: kobetobiko

                      ...and you can order olive oil gelato, pizza, appetizers, and other Otto dishes at the front part of Otto. Note that pizza is only available at the bar via the bartenders, but other dishes are available at the standing room only areas (tall counters and freestanding tables scattered about).

                    2. I agree with many of the recommendations here. Otto would be great at an off hour but were you thinking Tavern on the Green because you will be on the UWS and not planning to go downtown? As RGR said, the food at Tavern on the Green is just not good. It's a tourist trap and, while it may sound like a beautiful environment in the NYC tour books, there are countless other places you can go with a view. If you really want a park setting, I'd recommend the Central Park Boathouse over Tavern on the Green; it is less than a mile north right in the park. Here's the link: http://www.thecentralparkboathouse.co.... The setting is far more beautiful and the food is likely to be better. As the website indicates, you also have the option of sitting in the more casual section of the restaurant where the menu is different. Perhaps you can find a way to eat what you want there in a gorgeous setting while your kids munch on more casual food and/or dessert. If you really want a fine dining experience, I'll agree with the idea that I think someone else came up with on this thread. Find the restaurant you'd really like to visit and then drop the kids off at a pizzeria/diner or other appropriate place on the block. I'm sure 3 teenagers will be just fine on their own while you guys enjoy a nice meal and then the family can reunite for other meals like Shake Shack.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: nativeNYer

                        Hey, nativeNYer,

                        In addition to my comment about TotG, I also suggested the dropping-the-teens-off scenario. Glad you agreed with me about both. :-)

                        I agree with you about the Boathouse. The food is, in fact, very good, and as you pointed out, the view is gorgeous!

                      2. Will the kids eat a burger? There are many very good restauarnts in NY that have one on the menu, so you can enjoy a real meal while the kids can find somthing to eat. Appetizers often work too.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Stuffed Monkey

                          If you are speaking of an average restaurant, I would agree with you. However, ackindergarten was thinking about going to a more upscale restaurant where one would not find a burger on the menu.

                          1. re: RGR

                            plenty of upscale restaurants have burgers

                        2. I wonder if Telepan would suffice. It's located on the UWS near TotG, sort of on the upscale end of places, and their Summer 2008 prix fixe brunch menu includes a hamburger with a cool-sounding "volcano" on the side (onion rings and fries, i think). But, then again, paying $28 X 3 for the three teenagers may not be what the OP had in mind.

                          1. Teenagers, just desert? Cafe Lalo on 83rd between Broadway and Amsterdam would be the place.

                            Cafe Lalo
                            201 W 83rd St, New York, NY 10024