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First NYC restaurant experience 16 year old niece

I'm bringing my 16 year old niece to see a play and looking for a nice dinner to give her the total NYC experience. I'm thinking I want to bring her to a place that has been there forever, kind of old school or old New York, not really looking for the "in place",don't want to totally empty my wallet, doesn't really matter where in Manhattan,it probably has to be casual, could do chinatown but don't want to limit myself to that area. Open to anyone types of food. Any ideas would be appreciated? Thanks!

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    1. re: gutsofsteel

      My first thought was Katz's, but Keen's is a good choice too.

      1. re: Bone Thug n Hominy

        If you like pastrami sandwiches go to Katz's! They have some really awesome chocolate cheesecake there, also. :)

    2. I have to disagree with the preceding answers because NY dining is as much theater as what you'll see at 8:00. That thought leads me to suggest Le Bernardin immediately: it's certainly an old school establishment by now and a wonderful eating experience, though it will just as assuredly empty your wallet.

      I suggest, instead, that you take advantage of what makes NYC dining so exciting (and what the rest of the car-driving public in N.America is deprived of) and be spontaneous. Assuming the play you're seeing is on B'way, then take the train to 59th St./Columbus Circle around 6pm, walk to the top of Ninth Avenue and then stroll south towards 42nd. Let her pick the place (with some gentle coaching from you, maybe) based on what appeals from the outside. There are so many positive life & dining lessons in that route -letting the young woman choose- that I hope you can do it for her.

      (I mean, I love Keen's and Katz's as much as the next person, but taking a 16-year old to those places -as an introduction to NYC dining- is a little like asking her to sit on her uncle's bony lap and have her accept his kisses with grace.)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Phil Ogelos

        agreed. Neither Keen's nor Katz screams 16-year old girl. OP would be better off at the board-hated TAO!

      2. McHale's, RIP.
        That would have fit the bill perfectly for you both.
        Man, I miss that New York.

        1. Arturo's for old school Village and great pizza, piano player on the weekend
          Pastis for the meatpacking scene
          Joe Allen's on Theatre Row
          Carnegie deli
          Serendipity for dessert frozen hot chocolate, I know it is a cliche but it would be her first time
          Take the Ferry of course
          How about the Boat House in Central Park?

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          Joe Allen
          326 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

          1. I'm taking her to Sardi's for lunch. May not be the best choice but I figured the atmosphere would be fun. I have been ViceVersa a few times and although not old wordly I thought about there for dinner.

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            ViceVersa
            325 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10019

            2 Replies
            1. re: javaandjazz

              Have fun, j&j -it sounds like it'll be a wonderful evening.

              And remember the bowling alleys within the Port Authority or the bar that's Jimmie's Corner on W.44 (not long for this world, I suspect -to show her that this very old-school place would teach her how cities transform themselves) for after the show!


              EDIT: I'm glad that the family doctor has backed me up.

              1. re: javaandjazz

                Vice Versa is very nice but the food, though good, is not top-notch (except the desserts, which are great). In the same price range I would pick Orso or Marseille.

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                Orso
                322 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036