Suggestions for meet the parents brunch/lunch?
My fiance and I are introducing our respective sets of parents to one another (and he has two sets - both remarried!) in NYC late in September.
We figured brunch/lunch is always safer than formal dinners for a getting to know you kind of thing, but I'm unsure where to take them within these constraints:
1. The restaurant must accept reservations which immediately eliminates some of my favorite show up and wait places...
2. Shouldn't be unreasonably $$$ - we're not trying to impress them, or each other, so I'm not thinking of big hotel brunches...
3. My parents like ethnic, his are more mainstream - I was thinking Greek or Mediterranean, but Snack and Moustache (some of my favs) don't accept reservations and may be TOO un-Americanized for his folks (or not?)
4. Can't be ridiculously spacious or echo-y because no one can hear.
I welcome any suggestions - we're probably leaning more toward LUNCH than proper brunch but I'm really at a loss here - my usual go to's aren't going to cut it! Thoughts?
Here are the ones that I believe have space for a large party / group, most take reservations, especially if you plan to bring that many people:
- Pastis (communal table)
- The Neptune Room (communal table)
- Freemans (they have a private room)
- Jane (private room downstairs)
- The Smith (Jane and Neptune Room's sister restaurant)
- Devin Tavern (huge space, private room downstairs, many large tables) -- probably the most expensive in the list, though
- Morandi (also quite large, and a nice space)
- 'inoteca (downstairs room)
- Five Points (space for larger parties is in back -- there's a tables and a booth)
- Blue Ribbon Bakery (they can seat bigger groups downstairs)
- Cookshop (they have booths and tables that can seat 6)
- Stanton Social (have an upstairs bar/lounge area that can be used, too) -- also on the pricey side, and it's all small plates
- Ouest (they have big comfy booths in the front, where it is more quiet/private, not sure how many they can fit though)
I'd choose Five Points, Cookshop, or Stanton Social for somewhere a little more upscale and comfy. Stanton Social seems very parent friendly; I've seen lots of family units there (likely parents visiting their grown up kids). Cookshop is a tiny bit out of the way, especially if you are traveling via subway. Five Points is also very good but I think they may have only one place to seat an 8-top (you, your fiance, your mother, your rather, your fiance's father + mate, your fiance's mother + mate, whew). Actually, now that I think about it, it may be a little cramped for that size of a party. Cookshop and Stanton Social are much larger and more spacious but Cookshop is quite a bit louder (it's very modern and has more metallic surfaces) whereas you can hear fine at Stanton Social because the diners are all spread out amongst different levels and booths.
If dim sum is also a possibility, I'd try Chinatown Brasserie. It's pretty parent-friendly, clean, etc. and in a nice location. There's Americanized Chinese options for less adventurous eaters.
We do this with when we want to get both sets of inlaws together too, we've tried out quite a few places, three that worked for us (you'll see there's a pattern since we live on the east side)
One of the best brunches I've been to recently was at Turkish Kitchen. The food is excellent, and there's enough normal stuff to satisfy those that aren't really into the mediterranian food, it's not over the top expensive, and they take reservations (in fact reservations are required because they're always booked up.)
We also had a very nice brunch with both sets of inlaws at the Water Club. A bit more expensive than Turkish Kitchen, but the food is over the top in terms of both selection and quality.
We've also done pretty well with Artisanal for brunch, but that may not work for you because of the 'echo-y' problem.
i like the brunch at calle ocho as well under the right circumstances -- but in truth, it can be a bit of a sodden, frat-partyesque mess. the focus is definitely on the unlimited sangria. food (while ok) comes in very small portions. the sangria also tastes distinctly of bottom-shelf liquor.
I love Kellari Taverna: consistently great food, elegant surroundings, great service, and tables are spaced far enough apart to enable good and "hearable" conversation. We have been with a large family group and they were so accommodating, even giving us extra cookies (the best homemade) to take home.
They have both a la carte and prix fixe bruch options:
I had a great brunch at 100 Acres (from the Five Points/Cookshop folks) last weekend. It was an easy reservation and not loud at all. They had a perfect bloody mary and lots of lunch-like options.
Are you planning going to have the meal over the weekend for sure (and that's the reason you said brunch)?
If you are doing it on a weekday, I will recommend Giorgio's of Gramercy for lunch. I often suggest this place for "meeting the parents" meal because this place seems to work very well for "parents". It is unpretentious and warm, and the atmosphere is very civilized and great for conversations. The food and service are both fine.
Another option is Fleur de Sel. It is small and cozy and the lunch prix-fixe (available every day) is a great bargain with such high food quality. They have a few round tables at the center so your party can really meet and talk easily. Never found it to be noisy at all.
I strongly agree with the Stanton Social suggestion made earlier. I recently had a "meet the parents" lunch there myself. The fact that everything is to share and you have to pick many small plates makes it interesting for eveyone and keeps the awkward silences to a minimum. Its very comfortable, upscale but not too pricey. Its not ethnic but definitely creative.
I appreciate all the responses - and they're all great suggestions. I apologize for not commenting back sooner...its been a busy week! I've been considering Blue Ribbon and Cookshop, as well as Deborah in the W Village, which is a personal fav of mine. I always enjoy BR and Cookshop, while not overly convenient, is consistently good. Last time we did brunch with half of his parents, we did 202 at Chelsea Market and enjoyed it, but they don't take reservations...
None of our parents can ever HEAR in busy restaurants which is an important consideration - and takes some of the above (like Pastis) off the table, sadly.
I'm unfamiliar with Perry St but it sounds like a solid rec, too, so I'll explore that...and I COMPLETELY forgot about Stanton Social, so that might be a good idea, too, especially since its served the same purpose for others rather successfully!
And finally - I hadn't heard of Kellari's but looked into it, and they have a bistro by Grammercy that looks perfect, too - many good options all around.
I'll keep you posted on our final destination(s)...