Serendipity 3 for my 70-something UK cousin ?
My wonderfully fun but at the same time very English cousin from UK is coming in October for her first visit to N America in 50+ years, and we are spending a few days together in Manhattan. She a moderate appetite, likes her food, but specifically asked not to go to a steak house because she can't face huge slabs of meat any longer !
One night I am taking her to Circo, which I know from its sister in Vegas, and which I am sure she will enjoy because of its cheerful atmosphere, variety of choice and its being quite unlike anything she would find in Sherborne, yet not far out, threatening or weird ! She a moderate appetite, likes her food, but specifically asked not to go to a steak house because she can't face huge slabs of meat any longer !
I wondered for the second evening before we head to a show or a movie whether she might enjoy Serendipity, the first restaurant my Mother took my sister and I to when we first visited NYC in our sub-teens. I have been back several times, and enjoyed it to my surprise as, however funky the atmosphere, it has seemed accommodating, not packed with noisy teen parties on weekdays and the food fairly conservative with pleasant riffs in the direction of the bohemian spirit ! Would you think a spry 70-something would find it fun and appealing ? Or is it too over-run these days ?
Thanks in advance for your help !
Well Eve, thanks and will be interested in your recommendations. Budget not an issue though I suppose to be a tad less expensive than Circo would be good. Cuisine - well, not steak, not a fish house and nothing Asian or Indian. Atmosphere - able to hear ourselves speak would be a plus. Something different from the pub/lugubrious country inn dining room/stiff hotel scene typical to the English countryside would be a double plus. Perhaps a little informal and a little unusual - Circo fits that bill, as doubtless other places do ! Artisinal and Il Mulino are two of my fave places in NYC, but the deafening vibe at the first and the erratic nature of reservations at the second when my Cousin may be tired made me feel neither was a good choice. Maybe Les Halles ? or Bar Boloud ?
Serendipity3 may have closed. I know it was closed last year for health code violations. I also know from having been there that it is SO not worth it. Touristy, lines out the door for food and drink that isn't worth it, extremely crowded tables, just awful service and a dated setting in which you cannot hear yourself think, let alone talk to someone. Frozen hot chocolate, if you MUST go there,the place is open AND you must have one, is fancy chocolate milk. Order only 1 as they are very big. Truthfully, I'd save my money for something better.
A somewhat better choice is Good Enough to Eat on Amsterdam between 83 and 84 St. www.goodenoughtoeat.com It isn't FANTASTIC but it is good, serving American comfort food. It has been about a year and a half since I've been there...can't vouch for it now. Serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
If you are in the Theater District, think about 44X10 on Tenth Ave and 44th. It is a short cab ride for someone who isn't up to walking long blocks back to the center of the action on Broadway between 8th and 6th but it is a fine choice for upscale American. The waiters are pleasant and easy on the eyes. Reserve. If you go at 5:30-6:00 the noise is not a problem, but it can be when people start filing in pre-theater, around 6:15-ish. Not hugely expensive and definitely not touristy. Portions are shareable. www.44andX.com
Balthazar is fine (in Tribeca) but also can be very noisy. No one seems to put carpets on floors anymore!
For "fancy" lunch I'd suggest the $28 3 course lunch at Nougatine, the daytime Jean Georges in the Trump International Hotel on Columbus Circle. Reserve if you want to do this. Service is superb, it is surprisingly not noisy although there is no visible sound-proofing, and the food is as you would expect in a Jean Georges establishment.
If and when you have any clearer idea about where you are planning to be at mealtimes, it would help us figure out how better to help you!