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Help! Need one last restaurant recommendation for family weekend trip.

jjnLA Apr 1, 2009 02:43 PM


As the single Uncle, once again I have been suckered into planning all the meals for a family trip to Manhattan Easter weekend. I lived in NYC many years ago and visit about twice a year so of course I am supposed to know every restaurant on the island suitable for large family dinners. Nonetheless, there will be 8 of us (grandparents, parents, 2 teens, and me.).

So far I have booked:

Thursday night - Marseille on 9th Avenue (near theaters)
Friday night - NOT BOOKED
Saturday night - Schezuan Gourmet
Sunday Brunch - Beacon Restaurant on 56th. or The Modern (about a $40 price diff. per person)

Scarpetto and Babbo are booked. We have been to Lupa and Del Posto. Insieme gets mixed reviews. Convivio is too far east. Am thinking of: Piccolo Angolo, or Trattoria dell’arte.
But, we don't have to go Italian.

Would love a recommendation in the West Village/ Soho so we can walk around afterward. Noise is a factor as the parental units are in late 70's and have a hard time hearing with a lot of background noise. How is Balthazar for dinner?

Would like to keep it around $50/person for food only. Thanks for any suggestions.

  1. j
    jjnLA Apr 16, 2009 10:12 PM

    Thank you all for your replies. I have filed them all away for our next family outing in a few months. This trip we ended up going to ALTO....yes, much more than originally intended.

    The food was very good...4 course tasting menu for $85 which is a pretty good deal quite frankly. Service was very aloof and not friendly....too bad because the room is beautiful and the kitchen is turning out some damn good meals.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jjnLA
      RGR Apr 17, 2009 08:51 AM

      I'm glad you enjoyed Alto because I agree that Chef Michael White's cuisine is delicious. I also agree with you about the lovely space. It's been a while since we were there, but I do recall the staff being rather reserved, but since service was correct, the aloofness didn't bother me.

      1. re: RGR
        jjnLA Apr 20, 2009 01:23 PM

        Regarding the service at Alto, I just wish they would have been more attentive in explaining the menu and what the options were for the 4 course meal. We waited quite a bit for someone to come over and answer our questions. And, this was probably more the fault of the kitchen than the service, our second course took forever to come out. Nonetheless, as previously stated, it was a lovely meal and everyone enjoyed their meals.

    2. s
      Stuffed Monkey Apr 4, 2009 10:35 AM

      Batalii was the chef at Po. before he went out on his own, but hasn't been conected to it in years.

      1. k
        kobetobiko Apr 4, 2009 01:03 AM

        Balthazar is great. Blue Ribbon Brasserie is awesome too.

        West Village:
        Le Gigot for traditional French Bistro
        Perry St for modern French
        Perilla for American
        Po for Italian (Pasta) - it is Batali-affliated

        There are many good places in WV like dell Anima, but they are too small and I don't know if your party can fit in.

        If you are willing to go to E. Village, I will recommend Hearth.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kobetobiko
          rrems Apr 4, 2009 01:07 PM

          Perry St. is perfect, but I checked Opentable and they have no availability for your Friday dinner. Perilla may be your best bet. Another possibility is 10 Downing. The food is great and when we were there on a Friday at 8:30 it was not too noisy. Snack Taverna may also work. You could also try Orso or Vice Versa. Both are in the theater district, so they are not busy after the pre-theater crowds leave and should have availability, and neither is particularly noisy.

        2. Slob Apr 3, 2009 10:33 PM

          You might want to try out Malatesta. I've heard some really good things about it.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Slob
            Pan Apr 3, 2009 11:02 PM


            I have no personal experience with Malatesta, and therefore, no opinion about the place. I always wonder where Chowhounds "hear things" they write about, and I don't consider unattributed hearsay very reliable.

            And picklesister: Are you recommending Jane for dinner (which I would disagree with) or only for brunch (which I would agree with)?

            1. re: Pan
              Slob Apr 5, 2009 08:48 AM

              Pan, I've heard other folks on here comment on Malatesta and most had very good remarks. I've also read all positive reviews elsewhere. I'm going to try it out on my next visit to NYC next month because of all the good things I've read.

              1. re: Slob
                Pan Apr 6, 2009 07:42 PM

                Great. I hope you have a good experience there and look forward to reading about it.

                1. re: Pan
                  crisj Apr 6, 2009 08:21 PM

                  Keep calm and carry on -- and be nice!

          2. p
            picklesister Apr 3, 2009 09:53 PM

            I second the Otto and Landmarc recommendations, those are perfect choices! Also Extra Virgin in the West Village and Jane on Houston Street.

            1. l
              LES_Crawler Apr 3, 2009 02:20 PM

              I second the recommendation for Blue Ribbon. Also, I didn't love it but lots of people have super-nice things to say about 10 Downing and it's in the right location for you guys.

              1. s
                sara333 Apr 2, 2009 12:39 PM

                I had a similar assignment a few months ago and ended up at an Italian place called Volare on W. 4th, just east of 6th Avenue. Under normal circumstances I never would have thought to go in there -- it's a very old school/ red sauce kind of place -- but the food was actually very, very good and everyone in the family loved it. In fact, I have to say that they made the best lentil soup I've ever had in a restaurant. Go figure.

                1. k
                  kathryn Apr 1, 2009 03:39 PM

                  > We have been to Lupa and Del Posto.

                  What about Otto? They are so large that they are often able to accomodate such a large group without a ton of advance notice. It can be loud, however, dependent upon where you are.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kathryn
                    jjnLA Apr 1, 2009 03:48 PM

                    Hi Kathryn:

                    We have been to Otto as well and the family liked it....even my Italian mother who is a great cook and very critical...miracles never cease. Thanks for your post.

                  2. malibu Apr 1, 2009 03:17 PM

                    Balthazar is good for dinner but it's really loud in there. I would suggest Lanmarc Soho or Blue Ribbon Bakery in the WV. Blue Ribbon have private rooms downstairs in the wine cellar. In fact, we took our family there once and sat in the vault. Highly recommend it. Very impressive for the out of towners.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: malibu
                      kathryn Apr 1, 2009 03:39 PM

                      Ditto - Balthazar has a LOT of reflective surfaces, mirrors, it's a bustling, loud brasserie.

                      1. re: malibu
                        Pan Apr 2, 2009 12:55 PM

                        I haven't been to Blue Ribbon, but did you mean Landmarc, and if so, is it a branch of the same restaurant that's in Tribeca and the Time-Warner Center? Because if so, though good, my impression so far is that the food is far inferior to Balthazar's. How loud is Pastis for dinner, Balthazar's excellent sister bar/brasserie? I ask because I've only been there late at night.

                        1. re: Pan
                          malibu Apr 3, 2009 04:32 AM

                          I meant the Landmarc in Tribeca. My mistake. Technically it's not Soho. And yes, I would categorize Pastis as loud.

                          1. re: malibu
                            Pan Apr 3, 2009 02:00 PM

                            I don't think that's technical. Landmarc is several blocks south of Canal, and I was actually assuming from your post that there was a new branch in Soho. Pastis isn't so loud late at night, so I wonder at what hour it stops being loud but I know that's beside the point for this thread.

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