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Suggestions for a 16 yr old and her friends in Manhattan - not a chain

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I hoping someone will have a suggestion either for lunch or early dinner in midtown (preferred) or downtown for a group of 5 teens and 2 parents on a weekend. Taking our daughter and some friends to ice skate (either at Wollman or Rockefeller) and then onto a meal (order could be reversed).... It's my daughter's 16th b-day so she's looking for something a little different - no chains please. Something bohemian or artsy would be cool. Thanks fellow hounders for any ideas. I was thinking of Shopsins down at Essex for lunch but he is quirky and doesn't seat parties greater than 4. Serendipity 3 is a backup.

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  1. If the teens like meat, you can do Brazilian BBQ/Churasschia at Plataforma. Lunch is cheaper than dinner.

    1. How about Spotted Pig or The Breslin. Hip enough for the teens, with food they like to eat.

      2 Replies
      1. re: fm1963

        Have you seen the menu of the Breslin? Really not teen friendly. Pig's trotters for two? Terrine Board? Scotch eggs? Not even a hamburger; they have a crazy delicious lamb burger.

        1. re: chow_gal

          The brunch menu has a lot of teen friendly items (or at least it did back in November). It was less adventurous than the dinner menu. Yeah, my picky nephew really liked the lamb burger,

      2. how about the modern? the dining room overlooka the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.
        http://www.themodernnyc.com/

        2 Replies
        1. re: smokeandapancake

          i think the modern bar room is a great place...the food is really amazing and its also a cool space (with great cocktails for the adults !)

          1. re: lemonyc

            I think the the bar room is pretty far from Bohemian and just because it's in the MOMA doesn't make it particulary artsy. I'm far from young and I'm not a female but I can't imagine The Modern would be the least bit enjoyable for them (the parents - absolutely - the youngens - no)

        2. Don't go to Serendipity - it's a total tourist trap. The Spotted Pig for lunch is a good idea. Otto would work well too.

          Plataforma and Tony Dinapoli are also both big tourist traps and not particularly good. In midtown The Modern would be good but not the formal dining room....go to the bar room.

          1 Reply
          1. re: gutsofsteel

            For dessert, find the waffles and dinges truck..
            http://www.wafelsanddinges.com/locati...

          2. May be further away from skating then you would like to go but how about Taboon? It's Moroccan/Arabic, may be fun for younger people because it's different from everything else.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Spiritchaser

              Stanton Social Club (downtown) or Aspen Social Club Midtown. For a cool, southwestern experience, try Suenos in Chelsea or go to Motorino in the East Village for wonderful pizza.

              1. re: Spiritchaser

                Oh, I love Taboon! Went a few months ago on a whim and have been wanting to go back. Thanks for the reminder. Super cozy space and menu. Would be a perfect after ice skating!

              2. I say Tao on the upper east side, only a few blocks from the park and you can tell her it was in Sex and the City.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Edwin E.

                  I second Tao for tweeners. The atmosphere and food are very "hip".

                  Chinatown Brasserie is a good choice downtown, they easily accomodate a group and the dim sum is beautiful, appealing to kids and adults alike. Dim sum is also easy to share.

                  Yakitori Totto is another option. The skewers allow everyone to sample many different tastes and are top notch.

                  1. re: Pookipichu

                    Tao is not good and it is a waste of money!!

                    1. re: smokeandapancake

                      Oh come on - that's a bit harsh. This isn't for a state diner - it's for teenagers. Jay Z eats there, they have a giant fortune cookie full of chocolate mouse! Would you prefer Buddhakan?

                      1. re: Edwin E.

                        Cause Jay Z eats there it's good? Ive had horrible experiences there. It USED to be good...i will give it that. I just think ifyou are going to spend $ on food, go somewhere where it's quality.

                        1. re: Edwin E.

                          Lots of terrible places are popular with celebs -- look at how many celebs patronize Mr. Chow in NYC and LA. Tao has bad food and overpriced to boot.

                        2. re: smokeandapancake

                          I completely agree. It's an overpriced kitschy tourist trap with lousy food.

                        3. re: Pookipichu

                          I third Tao...

                      2. I agree that Tao would be a good choice. It has that WOW factor that kids go for. Is it the best or most authentic food? No, but that's not what OP is looking for. Even Serendipity would be a fine choice considering the event.

                        Panna II is a lot of fun, too. Wrong neighborhood, maybe, but still fun. There's also the Boathouse in Central Park if they're the fancy type.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: coasts

                          Avoid Serendipity at all costs...just search for it on this board if you have any doubts. For that geography I agree that the Bar Room at the Modern would be a fantastic choice. Great food and ambiance for all and the girls would find it cool and sophisticated. Very convenient to Rock Center and not too far from Wollman.

                          1. re: City Kid

                            Yep....and she did say bohemian/artsy...which is the opposite of Tao and Serendipity.

                            1. re: gutsofsteel

                              yes, i think poeople were losing sight of the whole bohemian / artsy thing. In no way is that motorino, tao

                              1. re: smokeandapancake

                                Fellow chowhounds, thanks so much for your input, opinions and trusted suggestions. I love the site and sense of community everyone helps to create. After mulling over the decision with the daughter and checking out websites, other sources, etc., we're going for Stanton Social - the place looks way cool (nice techno beat on the website) and the small plates should be perfect. Afterwards, we can walk in the village, schmay around, and the girls will likely converge on our place and consume mass quantities of pizza around midnight!

                                1. re: smokeandapancake

                                  Just curious- I am in the same situation. How did Stanton Social work out for you?

                            2. re: coasts

                              Just curious: You recommended Panna II just for the Christmas lights or what?