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One teen, one 30 year old...can it equal fun?

Everyone, I know I posted a similar question before, but I'm just having a lot of trouble with this. I did read a lot of prior posts on teens, but they were more geared toward "family vacations with teens to entertain". I'm taking my 14 year old stepdaughter into the city next Friday and Saturday nights. I want this to be like a fun girls trip, not family vacation. I want to take her "out"; but I obviously can't take her to a club or bar. I saw all the recommendations for Butter, Stanton Social, etc., but I am afraid she is going to stick out like a sore thumb. She doesn't look like a little kid, but is obviously a young teen.

I want to take her someplace really fun, with a bar/lounge atmosphere, maybe a DJ or mustic, but that we won't catch a lot of attitude from others there. We are planning to be out late, like post theater. I just don't want to be inappropriate/out of place.

We are staying midtown, but different parts of the City are also ok. all types of food are good, she does especially like Thai, sushi, italian.

I just don't want to end up at a place where she is totally sticking out and uncomfortable. If the place I'm looking for doesn't exist, tell me that too. Re: Butter and Stanton Social; I'm afraid she is going to be totally overwhelmed, but maybe I'm wrong. I've never been there. Any help is appreciated.

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  1. At the end of the day, these are restaurants, not clubs and she can be there. Other ideas: Sushi Samba, Buddakan.

    You sound really worked about this. Is she handicapped or extremely awkward, Asperger's or something?

    7 Replies
    1. re: chow_gal

      I think Stanton Social would be fine, but Cafeteria may be more proper and fun for her. In addition:
      The Standard Grill


      1. re: LeahBaila

        A similar choice to Buddakan is Spice Market; definitely a neat atmosphere for someone visiting.

      2. re: chow_gal

        I'd wondered along the same lines. When our "girls" (now in their 30s) were pre-teens and beyond, they went any and everywhere (we lived in SF and they lived in Marin with their mom so while not NYC....). Not sure why there's this angst. Just have fun :)

        1. re: chow_gal

          Ha Ha no!! she is beautiful and wonderful. I'm "worked" about it because this is a special stepmother stepdaughter bonding thing and I want it to be great for her. And c oliver, I'm not having angst about it; I just don't want to get attitude from the crowd for bringing a teenager to a place she really shouldn't be.

          1. re: thebets

            "this is a special stepmother stepdaughter bonding thing and I want it to be great for her."

            That is beyond your control :) I promise you. I'm a stepmother also and it's been the weirdest things sometimes that wound up being "great" in their eyes. One of our faves was dim sum in SF Chinatown one Sat. morning when the younger girl said afterwards "Dad, you're the tallest person here." My choice of "angst" was the equivalent of "worked."

            1. re: thebets

              In these places I bet a 50 year old step mom sticks out more than a beautiful girl. Go have fun and stop worrying what other people think. This is NYC, we are all freaks in some way or another.

          2. A teenager won't stick out like a sore thumb anywhere in New York I promise - kids and teens at any restaurant are not rare in NY at any time of the day. Stanton Social will be great, as will Butter or Cafeteria.

            I also agree with the Otto rec and would add Lupa to the list if you want great pasta.

            1 Reply
            1. re: stephaniec25

              yea, dont you watch NYC Prep?! Otto is fine if you can deal with waiting 45 minutes with a resie.......

            2. For something completely different (and depending upon what kind of music she's willing to try) - how about Café Taci? - http://www.caffetaci.com/ - opera nights (opera singer waitpeople) now held on Saturdays at Papillon Bistro and Bar on East 54th Street. It's definitely a city experience (if not totally chowish) and the singers as well as the other patrons will be thrilled to see a youngster/newbie in the audience. Nothing like having a gorgeous baritone or tenor singing straight to you. Just a thought.

              1. Would agree with the Otto rec, or maybe a tapas place (Boqueria perhaps) though she can't do wine. Buddakan is also probably the right sort of vibe. But would agree with everyone else -- at a restaurant in NYC, a teenager won't stand out at all, and she might enjoy the "adultness" of a sophisticated place.

                1. I've taken my upper-teen niece and nephew to Bar Pitti. It has the cachet of being a place to people-watch so you might consider that as one of your stops.

                  1. Otto and Buddakan are both really good ideas. Also, my sister told me about a girls night out she went on to a place called Ninja which is ninja themed Japanese restaurant. Apparently they built a sort of disney japanese village in this giant place and all the tables are in these little houses. It's kind of showy and the waiters dress like ninjas-- if you order certain menu items they come with a sort of display/surprise. The food sounded pretty solidly good and the atmosphere fun and hokey, so she might get a kick out of that. Good luck!

                    1. Returned from NYC on Sunday...wanted to thank everyone for their opinions and recommendations. Here's what we did.

                      SushiSamba 7 on Friday night. Had a 9 pm reservation, had to wait until about 9:30 to get a table. My stepdaughter was totally fine in there. They even let her stand in the bar area while waiting for a table. We were seated upstairs, which has a great fun atmosphere and decor. The weather was nice enough so that they had all the upstairs walls removed and the fresh air and scenary of the street was great. We had the yellowtail taquitos, which were outstanding. Light, crisp shell, delicious fresh yellowtail mixed with a creamy avocado. Wonderful. We also had the pork belly skewers in butterscotch miso sauce, which I was concerned about for the sweetness factor but it was not overwhelming. The sauce was a bit syrupy and a little sweet for my taste but still delicious, and the pork belly was cooked perfectly. We ordered sushi rolls and they were nothing out of the ordinary, but especially with sushi I do appreciate just getting what I expect to when I order. The quality of the fish was very very good. It was fresh and not fishy in the least. overall, very good experience.

                      We did head to Stanton Social after that for an 11:15 reservation. The weather didn't cooperate and it rained, we couldn't get a cab, i couldn't figure out the subway, and it was too far to walk in our heels. We finally managed to get a cab over there but it was close to midnight at that point. The SS bouncer initially didn't want to let us sit upstairs in the lounge because my stepdaughter being underage, but the hostess told him we had a reservation and they let us up. We got up there but unfortunately didn't eat anything. My stepdaughter had had it with her long day of school, then traveling, then the whole cab in the rain experience. We were soaked and tired, so we just left. Too bad, because the atmosphere and menu looked great. i will definately try it next time.

                      Lunch on Saturday: Ippudo ramen, which is my favorite. We both got pork buns and the Modern, nothing fancy. I did Kae-Dama but that was a mistake this time because I was overly stuffed. I personally love the depth of flavor in the broth of the Modern, and the noodles are spot on, so this is my personal favorite. I will note this small irregularity in seating: We got there around 12:15, so of course the place was already packed. The hostess told us at least an hour for a table. We put our name in and started walking around the union square area to kill time. For some reason (a hunch I guess) we went back about fifteen minutes later: and we were the next table called. Had we walked around for 45 minutes or so and then returned, which was my plan, we would have been SOL. I know hosts exaggerate wait times to give a worst case scenario, but it was a bit much.

                      Dinner: Osteria del Circo. I know its nothing special, but it was close to the hotel and I've always wanted to try the one in Vegas and never have, so thought I would give it a try. Adequate at best. Our waiter was very unhelpful when I asked him to explain different dishes or give a recommendation, he basically just read the description of the dish off the menu. No insight about what to order. Bread given initially was run of the mill focaccia mix, and they provided only a very little olive oil for dipping. Really, like just a tablespoon or two in a small dish. So it had to be refilled, which is a little odd. I started with the grilled octopus and stepdaughter had caprese salad. Hers was a caprese salad, enough said, but she is not very adventurous. I did taste the homemade mozz and liked that it had a slightly sour flavor. My octopus was just OK. I think I was comparing it to the first time I had octopus at Badolato in Las Vegas, which was flipping outstanding. This octopus was several whole tentacles that had been heavily grilled. It was very encrusted with grill crust and seasoning, which overpowered any taste the octopus itself might have had. It was a little chewy, but not horrible. Came with a lemony creme fraiche to dip which I also thought was an odd choice. I am used to my octopus lightly grilled, with a light lemon herb dressing, maybe potatoes/capers, etc. creme fraiche a little heavy for me. For main courses, stepdaughter had tomato basil gnocchi which was....tomato basil gnocchi. Gnocchi were homemade, good but not outstanding, and in my opinion a little small. Also, the sauce was very close to a decent sauce out of the jar. I had expected something a little fresher. It tasted good, but was nothing special. I had the mozz/spinach ravioli. It was advertised as being cooked in browned butter, but I saw no evidence of that. The ravioli pasta itself was very good, thin and well cooked. The filling was a bit on the light side and too heavy on the spinach, but was acceptable. The dish was solid but again not outstanding. It did sit very heavily in my stomach. For the price we paid, meal wasn't worth it, but stepdaughter did like the interior decorations and had a good time. And there was nothing wrong with the meal, it just was average.

                      Brunch at David Burke Townhouse on Sunday: I basically went here because I knew stepdaughter would love the cheesecake lollipop tree, and it did not disappoint. By this morning we were both very full from eating all weekend, however, and couldn't do much justice to a three course brunch. But we tried! She started with berries/yogurt/granola, which again was a good rendition of what it was. Berries looked very fresh. i had the tomato soup, which was outstanding. Well seasoned, with a little creme fraiche and basil oil on top. Smooth but still with good texture. And served quite hot, which is how i like it. Very good. Main courses were a bit more problematic only because of a menu issue. I had looked at the menu online before coming and had decided I wanted the "smoked salmon reuben" which is advertised as a salmon reuben sandwich with gruyere and zucchini "sauerkraut". It was not on the menu at all when we were there on Sunday. Also not on the menu was the pancakes with chocolate chip ice cream and whipped cream, which stepdaughter had wanted to order. So we were a little disappointed. i asked the waiter if the kitchen could still make me the smoked salmon reuben and he checked and then said that they could. So I was excited. What I got for a meal, however, was a smoked salmon eggs benedict with a side of shoestring potato fries, which I never would have ordered. stepdaughter had gotten the chorizo eggs benedict, so we basically had the same thing with different meats. I was not very happy about this; but it was my fault for ordering something that wasn't on the menu, I guess. The eggs benedict was good, hollandaise well executed and seasoned, eggs cooked perfectly, etc. Didn't eat the shoestring potatoes, not my thing. For dessert stepdaughter got the cheesecake lollipop tree, which really is visually stunning. It's about eight walnut sized cheesecake balls on sticks that have been dipped in various coatings like chocolate, nuts, etc. and put on sticks to fashion a "tree". She thought they were great. I literally couldn't even eat one because I was so stuffed. I had berries and cream only for dessert, as I was so full.

                      So that was the weekend! Thanks so much for everyone's input! Sorry this is so long!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: thebets

                        Sorry, just wanted to add that I didn't say anything to the waiter or staff at DB Townhouse about the fact that I didn't feel I got what I ordered. Felt it was my fault for ordering off the menu, not theirs. obviously a misunderstanding, so not meant as too much of a criticism. CH wouldn't let me edit previous post, so sorry about the repeat.