Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jun 2, 2009 09:19 AM

The 'Rents are coming! Help!!

My family (chinese immigrants parents (HK) who have lived in San Diego/OC for the past 40 years) is coming for a whole week in June. Here are my roadblocks: they are not huge foodies, but like to try different ethnic foods (esp Asian), they don't eat sushi, they don't like to spend tons of money on food, the idea of waiting an hour for a meal doesn't register with them, they are 60 y/o and i can't take them anywhere too loud/trendy/cramped.

I'm taking them to Blue Hill at Stone Barns for the one splurge meal. I was also thinking Di Fara's (going early to avoid wait), Momofuku Ssam, and Shake Shack. Where else??? Help!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. To avoid very long waits at Di Fara's, I suggest you go around 2 p.m., though be aware that Dom isn't exactly fast, so you'll still have to wait a fair amount of time for your pie(s) to be ready. As far as avoiding hour-long lines at Shake Shack, it's best to arrive a few minutes before they open at 11 a.m. Your family can get tables, sit and relax while you put in the order.

    We haven't been to Ssam Bar, but from what friends tell me, if you want to avoid loud, this is not the place for you.

    I definitely recommend the 2 for $28 lunch deals at both Eleven Madison Park and Jean Georges. The cuisine styles are quite different, i.e., French-inspired New American at EMP, and Asian-inspired French at J.G.

    3 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      To avoid the roar at Ssam Bar go early, just after they open at 5 pm.

      1. re: scoopG

        Yes, I've been there once just at six pm, and don't recall Ssam being noisy, nor was it the several times we have gone to lunch there.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I've found the earlier the better - it does get insanely loud later on.

    2. alrighty, they sound a lot like my parents. i'm going to guess that they love seafood. would you consider taking them to le bernardin for their splurge meal instead of blue hill?

      also try xe lua for pho (i recommend in part because service is very patient and gracious), saigon bakery for bahn mi (takeout), maybe del frisco's for the business lunch set menu and mad for chicken (previously bon chon chicken) for the korean fried chicken (call ahead so you don't have to wait). jewish deli fare was a bit risque for my folks, but i think in the end, they really liked the pastrami sandwich and latkes at 2nd ave. deli. and my dad LOVED lobster from the lobster place steamed at home.

      i wouldn't really recommend shake shack in madison square park if they don't like to wait for food, unless you go during off hours.

      final thought: do they like pizza? i'm not well versed in nyc pizza, since i don't actually like it very well, but my parents love that stuff. do a search for "pizza" on the manhattan board for some chowhound favorites.

      2 Replies
      1. re: cimui

        YES! they totally love seafood! but i really want to go to blue hill at stone barns and i've already reserved (PLUS i'm going to LB for my b-day next month!). do you have any mid-range priced seafood recs? i haven't been to aqua that any good?

        i thought about jewish deli fare, but they're so not into it...although my dad does love pastrami, so i'll throw that one past him. my mom loves bahn mi, so thanks for that suggestion. AND i'm so happy you mentioned mad for chicken...i think they'll love it!

        i'm not totally into pizza, but my dad and brother are, so i think we're going to hit up di fara's. my dad's fave pizza place is costco's pizza....he's sooo out of touch suburbian!!

        1. re: kim e

          yeah, you're right: blue hill is a REALLY hot ticket right now and you'd probably kick yourself later if you gave it up! so, mid-range seafood...

          - i haven't been to aquagrill in so many years (4-5) that i really can't speak to whether it's good, now, but it still seems to be well liked on this board. fish entrees are around $25-$30. is that within your price range for moderate?

          - pylos greek (LES) and/or ethos (murray hill) for whole, grilled fish. ethos gets really crowded and loud at peak times, so if you go there, go early (5:30 / 6ish). it does have a better selection of fish than pylos. pylos is a more pleasant, low-key restaurant for sitting around and it has better non-fish dishes. the fish are of comparable quality (very fresh) at each. at ethos, you get sides, pita and dessert with the fish. the entire meal, not including drinks and tax/tip, generally comes out to be about $25, making it a bit less expensive than pylos.

          - xigua's pearl oyster bar rec is a good one, esp. if your parents like oysters. they also have well made grilled fish (a smidgen less fresh than at ethos in my eperience). mary's fish camp and ed's lobster bar are also low key and about the same price and quality as pearl. all are crowded at peak hours and not great for groups. mary's and ed's have a wider range of preps: fish can come nut-encrusted , fried, sauteed, seared, etc...

          Pearl Oyster Bar
          18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

          Ed's Lobster Bar
          222 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

          Mary's Fish Camp
          64 Charles St, New York, NY 10014

          128 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

          495 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10016

      2. Do not mean to project but based on my experience entertaining my dad the ultimate Chinaman (he has to eat rice/rice-like starch once every day to be happy), when my folks were in town from Singapore we ate, besides Chinese food:
        1. Japanese (Yakitori Totto, Ramen - Setagaya and Ippudo)
        2. Korean (but quite available in CA)
        3. Vietnamese (available in CA)
        4. Afghan or Persian (Afghan Kebab House)
        5. Moroccan (Nomad)
        6. Seafood (Pearl Oyster Bar)
        7. Italian (preferable v. French due to abundance of lighter fare not heavy on cheese and butter)
        I personally would not go to Shake Shack for a burger unless its a beautiful day out or your personal favorite.
        And definitely go to BHSB! Its so lovely and the veges this time of the year should be amazing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: xigua

          OMG--my dad is the same way! he MUST have his rice everyday! they love korean and vietnamese, but you're right in that there's a huge abundance where they live.

          they totally prefer italian over french. i'm definitely going to add a mid-priced italian place to the mix. they do love seafood and middle eastern food. thanks for the recs!

          i am a fan of shake shack and my dad has requested a burger place. they want to go to yoyo ma's free concert at lincoln center (they're soooo old school Chinese!), so we might end up going to shake shack on the UWS afterwards to avoid the MSP lines. I love Ippudo...I think I'll add to the list, as well.