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Places to take Italian relatives

I'm meeting some Italian cousins in Manhattan this weekend - what would be a good restaurant experience for them? They're well-traveled in Europe, but this is their first trip to the States as a family. Is there something uniquely American that isn't touristy? They're a family of four, with the youngest being 18. In total we're a party of nine. We're looking to spend between $30-$50/pp, not including tip, alcohol, etc. Anywhere in Manhattan suits us.

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  1. barbecue...ribs, pulled pork, corn bread...the whole thing. for a group that size, you may be able to get a full roasted animal!

    3 Replies
    1. re: coasts

      Just a word of caution about barbecue and Italians...a friend of mine has relatives visit from Italy often and he has found that they are less than enamored of barbecue. The heavy sauces, amount of food and general greasiness of it is a turn off.

      1. re: ttoommyy

        Hill Country might work.

        Since it is self-service you can control portion size.

        The brisket can be had lean (not my preference but not greasy)

        The bbq is dry rub and sauces are on the table to add (or not) yourself.

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        Hill Country
        30 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010

        1. re: ttoommyy

          Not to mention the sweetness of the sauce. Most Europeans I know don't like sweet with meat.

      2. Steak - any great steak house - no one does steak like Americans.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jane A.

          "no one does steak like Americans."

          Bistecca alla Fiorentina is far superior to any steak I've had in the US.

        2. I would take them to Tabla. The Indian/New American fusion is probably something they have never experienced, and the food is seriously delicious.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rrems

            Tabla is great, the cocktails are really good too

            Too bad they took the Lamb sandwich off the menu

          2. It seems that whenever I'm on a flight back to the States from Europe, and I happen to converse with Europeans on a trip to NY, they always ask me about the good steak and hamburger places that they should go for.

            I'm with the earlier suggestion on any good steakhouse. I'll also add that these guys also look forward to our tasty hamburgers, too.

            1. Definitely a steakhouse. And I would choose Keens. Not only because the steaks, chops, sides, etc., are first-rate. But also because of the unique Old NY ambiance -- walls covered with American memorabilia and rows of old clay smoking pipes suspended from all the ceilings, as well as pipes from famous people dating back to the 19th century in display cases in the vestibule.

              From our experience taking Europeans to steakhouses, they are not accustomed to huge slabs of beef and so are absolutely flabbergasted at the size of our steaks. Thus, a porterhouse for two can easily feed four of them. That will help keep costs within your budget. Sides, of course, are always served family-style.

              Photos of our most recent dinner at Keens: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

              2 Replies
              1. re: RGR

                I am not sure about not being accustomed to huge slabs of beef by the Europeans, but just like one poster here replied about Bistecca all Fiorentina, those are mighty big when served in restaurants in Italy.

                Spanish also tend to serve huge portions of steaks and meats.

                And , of course, French restaurants specializing in steaks serve humonguous portions as well.

                1. re: RGR

                  Be careful. No way you can do a good steakhouse at your price range (unless you are going to split the entree).

                2. If you want something "Uniquely American"/NYC take them to Katz'. It is not fine dining but it is an experience. If you go late enough you can walk Ludlow St and the 18 y/o can take a look at the club scene. I don't know if you have to be 21 to get into the live music places but it still might be interesting for an 18 y/o.

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                  Ludlow Bar
                  165 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

                  1. Freeman's
                    Burger Joint
                    P.J. Clarke's

                    * I'm not sure what would clarify as not touristy; you'll definitely find tourists at all of these places, but they're also frequented by New Yorkers.

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                    Burger Joint
                    118 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019

                    P.J. Clarke's
                    250 Vesey St, New York, NY 10281