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Mar 28, 2009 08:37 AM

Weekend in Manhattan with a friend and our two teen boys

My girlfriend and I are looking for some fun places to take our sons to eat but where we can have cocktails (dinner) or a nice glass of wine. The boys are 15 but mature for their age and open to new things. My friend's son hasn't been to New York before but mine has been several times and his only request is that we have to go back to Chinatown for soup dumplings. I was thinking of taking them to Katz's Deli for lunch one day. We're staying on the west side just south of Columbus Circle, so I would love a recommendation for a good bagel place and/or diner for breakfast. Any and all recommendations for fun food - can be off the beaten path - would be greatly appreciated. The last time I posted you guys really came through for me. I love New York - and New Yorkers!

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  1. Not certain when you are coming to the city, but one suggestion is to check out the responses to "Stone Street" in the "Search this board" box at the top of the link. If the weather is good, all of the restaurants, and you can just about pick your style, put tables outside: Excellent for teenagers. I would echo the entries for Adrienne's pizza and Ulysses. A very direct subway ride from your hotel location (take the 2 or 3 to Wall Street).

    1. Definitely go to Katz's, and I think the best all-round Shanghainese restaurant in Chinatown now is probably Shanghai Cafe, Mott St. between Canal and Hester. I'm not gonna say it's a great restaurant - I haven't found any Shanghainese place in Manhattan that's as good as any old hole-in-the-wall in Shanghai - but if you go, definitely get the Kao Fu (Wheat Gluten cold dish with mushrooms and bamboo shoots).

      4 Replies
      1. re: Pan

        and their Dong Po Rou - (listed on their Chinese specials menu - in Chinese) a great slab of yum yum pork belly. Also sauteed pea shoots.

        1. re: scoopG

          I haven't gotten the pea shoots there. What's special about their rendition?

        2. re: Pan

          Shanghai Cafe is exactly where we were planning on going - we've been there before. Thanks for the Kao Fu tip.

          1. re: suse

            You're welcome. It really is good; you'll see.

        3. My teenage sons really enjoyed pizza at Grimaldi's in Brooklyn (one stop from Manhattan). You can then walk back to Manhattan on the Brooklyn Bridge. Its an unforgettable experience.

          3 Replies
          1. re: carolinadawg

            Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is a really amazing experience - even this jaded New Yorker swooned the first time I did it (after living here a long time). But Grimaldi's is one of those places whose reputation has far outstripped its merits. Make no mistake, it's really good and a worthy destination once you're across the bridge. But just try to make sure you go early in the day: if you arrive around opening time (11:30 or so) on a weekday, you'll walk right in and have a wonderful time. Get there a couple of hours later, or on a weekend afternoon, and you could easily wait an hour and then wonder whether it was worth it.

            Either way, once you're done with whatever you're doing, stop by Jacques Torres (around the corner) for some "wicked" hot chocolate, especially if it's cold outside. I unfortunately developed an addiction to this stuff and spent at least $50 keeping up my habit until I was able to shake it a year later. :-)

            1. re: cjd260

              cjd260, nice thread did that before as a visitor and your right on, especially about getting to Grimaldi's at the right luuch hour otherwise as you said with a wait would have wonderd was it worth it?

            2. re: carolinadawg

              We actually walked to Grimaldi's once before, but our friend from the Upper West Side got a bit lost on the Brooklyn side and by the time we got there, a baked piece of leather would have done the trick. I remember it as one of the best pizzas of my life because I was ready to chew my arm off by the time we got it. We still had to stand in line and it was almost 11. It was a bit of a turnstile experience. Anything but relaxing. The walk across the bridge is amazing. It's a great idea.

            3. What about RGR's famous LES tour? A link below:
              Since your son likes soup dumplings, he might also be amenable to fried and boiled ones, and there are a few shops on Eldridge and elsewhere in Chinatown you could go to for a taste-off.
              For breakfast, pick a bagel on 57th and 7th has decent bagels, and there's always Bouchon Bakery for the sweet stuff in Time Warner.

              3 Replies
              1. re: xigua

                Great recommendations, thanks. We love all good Chinese dumplings - I lived in China for a couple of years and make boiled dumplings myself. One of these days I'll actually make it to the Chinatown in Flushing - I hear that's where the best places are found.

                1. re: suse

                  Flushing certainly has its own beguiling charm: much more diverse food-wise and more polyglot than Manhattan (more than 140 languages spoken) but it does not have Manhattan beat in either soup dumplings, nor boiled or pan fried dumplings. Try Prosperity on Eldridge Street for excellent pan fried dumplings.

                2. re: xigua

                  Bouchon Bakery - best sticky buns!

                3. Thanks for the tips, everyone. If you have any other suggestions, I'm all ears.