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Brunch / Lunch with parents Thanksgiving weekend

Looking for some guidance from fellow 'hounds as I work out details of parents' visit.

Brunch or lunch for six on Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.

Priorities, in addition to very good food, would be:

- low noise level conducive to easy conversation
- ability to reserve table (or be assured of no wait)
- very good service
- leisurely meal, without feeling rushed to give up the table

Open on price and location, though we seem to gravitate to the West side.

Ideas, so far:

Asiate, for the view and I assume quiet setting (I've never been). It seems right for a *special* occasion.

Telepan - very convenient location

Momofuku Ssam - can we get reservations if we pre-order the Bo Ssam?? I've never been and am dying to try it. I think my parents would be game to, but I'm not sure about two others in the party. Also, is the restaurant noisy?

Cookshop - the idea here would be to visit the High Line after eating. Not so familiar with the area. Any other nearby places we should consider?

River Cafe in Brooklyn - for the view

Other places I considered: Aquavit brunch sounds wonderful, but it's only offered on Sundays. I read Compass had a good brunch but I didn't like the vibe so much when I had dinner there earlier this week. Bar Boulud is nice, but based on an earlier visit seating seems kind of cramped for this occasion.

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  1. I'd do Blue Ribbon Bakery, Locanda Verde, maybe Perry Street.

    For Momofuku Ssam Bar, yes, you can get reservations if you order the Bo Ssam. However, while it's not very crowded during lunch/brunch hours, they do play rock music, and the seating is mostly wooden backless stools. Not really comfy for parents, I would think.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      kathryn, do you think Locanda Verde would be noisy on a Saturday afternoon? I thought I read it could get noisy, but that could have been at dinner. I had a nice group dinner at Blue Ribbon Bakery in the past, and would definitely consider returning again to try brunch. Thanks for the suggestions, and for your awesome 2009 brunch list!

      1. re: uwsgrazer

        I've been twice to Locanda Verde for brunch now and it's been fine -- they're not terribly crowded or busy. I also like that you can get a round table for a group.

    2. How about Jean Georges? The 2 for $28 lunch is served on Saturdays, and it meets all of your stated requirements. If it's already booked, the more casual Nougatine would also be a good choice.

      6 Replies
      1. re: RGR

        Jean Georges is a great idea! We had a wonderful lunch there about a year ago but I didn't realize they offered the lunch deal on Saturdays. According to opentable.com it's still too early to reserve, but I will try again one month in advance to the day. Thanks, RGR.

        1. re: RGR

          Jean Georges/Nougatine also serves wonderful breakfasts. Very traditional, but among the best I've ever had.

          I also like the Cookshop-High Line combo. Cookshop is ridiculously noisy at night, but much quieter during brunch service, even when full. The food is excellent (I much prefer their brunch to their dinner), and the High Line is magnificent.

          1. re: Blumie

            NB: The two course for $28 lunch RGR refers to is for the formal dining room. Nougatine has its own lunch prix fixe deal.

            According to NY Magazine's site, Nougatine only serves brunch on Sundays, not Saturdays. On Saturday, they serve breakfast and (separately) lunch with a break in between. The formal dining room doesn't serve breakfast, only the Nougatine room does.

            1. re: kathryn

              kathryn, thanks for the details. I had Jean Georges in mind. I love the room and setting but, on reflection, I'm wondering if something a little less formal might be better for this particular occasion. The Nougatine menu online looks good. Is the food quality the same at both restaurants? I only dined at Nougatine years ago. I vaguely recall it was a bit more informal in terms of dress, but I guess at both places one would probably feel more comfortable on the more dressed up side, is that right? I'm still mulling over the Cookshop-High Line idea. While the brunch / lunch will be late November, if the weather is at least dry that day maybe it could be a fun combo (though I've never actually been to either). On the other hand, if it's raining or bitterly cold, the proximity of JG or Nougatine would be more appealing and convenient.

              1. re: uwsgrazer

                Jean Georges is informal at lunch since jackets are not required.

                I very much enjoyed the two meals we've had at Nougatine within the past few months. While the food is somewhat different in style from what is served in Jean Georges, I found the quality to be of equal caliber.

                Photos of our dinner at Nougatine in August (pre-Mostly Mozart concert) can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                We've walked the High Line twice this past summer. Lovely! I happen to think it's best experienced when the weather is warm. My guess is the fact that it's elevated along with its proximity to the Hudson River would probably make it exceptionally chilly and/or windy on a cold day. But I'm a weather weenie and dislike walking anywhere when it's cold out.

                As for Cookshop, our one experience there last year -- dinner on a Sunday evening -- was severely disappointing. So-so food, haphazard service, tightly packed tables, and a very high noise level.

                1. re: RGR

                  My last dinner at Cookshop also was disappointing, but I've continued to have great experiences with their brunch.

        2. I don't know if you've already made your decision, but Locanda Verde is fabulous! I think it would be a great setting for brunch with parents (mine loved it!).

          You also might want to consider Hundred Acres (from the owners of Cookshop). The food is great, the ambience is lovely (less chaotic and much easier to converse than in Cookshop), you can make reservations, and I've found the service to be very good.

          Another suggestion is Public - such a gorgeous setting and fun, fantastic food. Also very parent appropriate. Too many choices!

          -----
          Locanda Verde
          377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

          Hundred Acres
          38 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

          1 Reply
          1. re: Averly

            Thanks for the recs. We decided on Nougatine (just faxed in the reservation guarantee form ...) but I appreciate the other ideas and will definitely keep in mind for future ocassions. I totally agree, though - too many choices! But a nice problem to have :-)..