HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

From Silicon Valley to NYC

Coming to NYC in July for 6 days, we are a family of 4 with 2 girls ages 14 & 11(their first time). Looking for casual places with great food, lively atmosphere, and great cocktails a plus. Please advise if children will not be welcome in any of the places I've mentioned. DD#1 has Serendipity on her list & DD#2 has Dylan's Candy Bar on her's (I've noted Economy candy). We'll be staying near 52nd & Madison.

Realize NYC has tons of great places so if I've missed any closer to hotel, please do tell. On my last trip 10 yrs ago, then hotel concierge recommended two places for lunch nearby which were memorable...French place on Madison or 5th few blocks north of 57th, oh the beautiful sole meuniere & an Italian place right behind Four Seasons with tasty artichoke app & pretty good pizza. As for work friend's rec of Mercer Kitchen...cool place but I honestly don't recall what I ate :) Cafe Boulud was highlight of trip.

BREAKFAST - anything near hotel? bagels, bakery or quick sit down; any weekend brunch nearby? We'll try to go to Clinton St. Bakery one day.

LUNCH- Five Napkin Burger (dd#2 doesn't eat beef); shake shack; midtownlunch.com - Any must try for Indian cart? Is there a dosa one somewhere (saw it on tv once)?
Any recs as we return from Statue of Liberty? Either quick or sit down. Good time to go to Katz, Momofuku or pizza? Also, is Momofuku doable for someone who doesn't eat beef & is allergic to shellfish?

DINNER-

Peter Luger's if we get res. or Keen's - btw, should we skip this as sis recently moved to Chicago?
Keste/motorino/other - Really just looking for great thin crust pizza with tasty sauce/toppings. BTW, loved Pizzeria Mozza in LA.
Japanese Fusion - 15 East? Probably would prefer a notch less on price point.
Casa Mono- any other tapas recs where res. is not impossible?
Perilla
L'Artusi (beautiful website, menu looks great)
Public
Degustation
Marseille - any other French brasserie/bistro recs?
Tabla, Tamarind or other upscale Indian? (dh's inquiry)
Nougatine or Boulud equivalent ? I would throw in Tavern Room but they don't accept reservations.
Convivio - too sedate for teens?
Lupa & Dell'Anima- opentable res. looks impossible unless 6:00 p.m.

Really appreciate any comments & suggestions you have, especially on Japanese. As for Italian, we absolutely love Perbacco in SF.

Thank you.

--

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. great list...i'd only suggest reconsidering Tabla for Indian. i had a meal there last month and left thinking i wouldn't return.

    what about DBGB? it's a fun place in a great neighborhood and easy to get to.

    also, Marseille...it's a fine place, but a bit over-rated on the CH board, IMO. have you thought about Pastis or Balthazar instead?

    -----
    DBGB
    299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

    1 Reply
    1. re: coasts

      Although not "pure Indian" the flavors and pureness of the food at Tabla still makes it my #1 restaurant in NYC...along with the service and ambience! (I never eat at Indian restaurants). Sit upstairs the glow at nite in this room is the best!

    2. Hey ceekskat

      You'll be a couple of blocks from Petrossian's excellent croissants, and Ess-A Bagel's decent bagels. Also, never underestimate the joys of an egg and cheese sandwich on a Kaiser roll from a cart.

      I remember reading only so-so reports on the dosa cart, though I have to say that the dosas I've had at Pongal are consistently better than the ones I've had in the Bay Area (Upupi, Dasaprakash, etc). Their other stuff is hit-or-miss, mostly miss, but I haven't had a bad dosa there yet.

      I like Shake Shack, but you'll find very mixed opinions on whether it's worth the wait/price.

      Momofuku is doable for someone who doesn't eat beef (it's really a temple to pork) but Katz's is not. I've never seen children your daughters' age at any of the Momofukus, but NYC residents with more data points should weigh in.

      Keste seems to be favored among people who really love the floppier, authentic Neapolitan slice - Motorino's crust is crisper and more similar to Mozza's. I liked Motorino's better (and thought their toppings were higher quality).

      Consider Lupa for lunch instead of dinner. They're open all afternoon, so it's easy to walk in during off-hours.

      I think Perilla is a really good choice, and I would look into Aldea as well. Degustation is an interesting idea - since it's all bar seating, around an open kitchen, it could be really great if the girls are into watching the food being prepared. Four-way conversation probably won't be possible though, with the bar seating. I didn't see children at any of these three, but I think Perilla and Aldea would be pretty comfortable for a family.

      -----
      Lupa
      170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

      Perilla
      9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

      Shake Shack
      Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

      Petrossian
      182 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019

      Aldea
      31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

      Motorino
      349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

      1. If your daughter doesn't eat beef, I can enthusiastically recommend a) the 'Shroom Burger at Shake Shack (it's a portobella mushroom stuffed with cheese and deep fried, served burger-style) and b) the veggie burger at 5 Napkin Burger (I think it's made from mushrooms and beets, which sounds weird but it's very good).

        If you are in midtown, I also really love the Doubles at the Trini-Paki Boys cart -- 43rd St. and 6th Ave. (not far from the Public Library/Bryant Park). I haven't had the dosai from the cart. But I can agree with daveena that the dosai at Pongal are tasty.

        You might want to check out Artisanal or Balthazar too.

        Enjoy your trip.

        1. if you can't get into Dell'Anima, take a reservation at its sister restaurant L'artusi. Great pastas. Sexy vibe. Good service. Unique wine list. Not crazy expensive.

          -----
          Dell'Anima
          38 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10003

          1. > BREAKFAST - anything near hotel? bagels, bakery or quick sit down; any weekend brunch nearby? We'll try to go to Clinton St. Bakery one day.

            Sarabeth's on Central Park South is kind of nearby. As is the new branch of Milk Bar (take out) and I think they have breakfast breads now. Never really patronized these locations those, I typically go to their other locations. There's also the Eggstravaganza cart:
            http://midtownlunch.com/2009/08/21/eg...

            > Any must try for Indian cart? Is there a dosa one somewhere (saw it on tv once)?

            The Dosa Man is in Washington Square Park; I think I read somewhere that he sometimes takes the summer off though because his audience is often NYU kids who are gone for the summer. It's also pretty far away from where you are staying.

            > Any recs as we return from Statue of Liberty? Either quick or sit down. Good time to go to Katz, Momofuku or pizza? Also, is Momofuku doable for someone who doesn't eat beef & is allergic to shellfish?

            Depends what time of day -- IIRC both Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Ssam Bar close in the middle of the afternoon to prep for dinner service, so double check hours before you go. I think you can easily avoid shellfish and beef at both and they are pretty good regarding allergies. I've definitely seen kids there, even as late as 9pm, and ones smaller than your girls! You'll be fine.

            > Keen's - btw, should we skip this as sis recently moved to Chicago?

            Keens is also really fun as a historial artifact due to the clippings, old photos, pipes on the ceiling, etc.

            > Keste/motorino/other - Really just looking for great thin crust pizza with tasty sauce/toppings. BTW, loved Pizzeria Mozza in LA.

            None of these are really "New York" style thin crust. They are Naples style (smaller, puffier). Is that what you are looking for?

            > Casa Mono- any other tapas recs where res. is not impossible?

            Go for lunch, it's much less crowded. And they are on OpenTable.com now, IIRC weekday lunches are pretty easy to reserve.

            > Degustation

            Party of four is going to be difficult here as it's a U-shaped counter wrapping an open kitchen.

            > Marseille - any other French brasserie/bistro recs?

            It gets recommended a lot because it's a solid brasserie right in the Theatre District, if it weren't in the Theatre District I'm not sure I'd ever go, though.

            Re: cocktails
            Your hotel is a long way geographically from places that are in the same tier as, say, Bourbon & Branch, The Alembic, etc. in SF. The only ones that I can think of nearby are Campbell Apartment (though the drinks tend sweet, I think they freepour, too) and the cocktail list at the Chambers Hotel since the bar is done by Ma Peche.

            -----
            Casa Mono
            52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

            Momofuku Ssam Bar
            207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

            Momofuku Noodle Bar
            171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

            1. Thanks everyone for your prompt replies. Daveena, thanks for chiming in especially about the breakfast cart, don't think I came across that on my research. And what exhausting research it is, all for only 6 days...

              Will definitely look into Balthazar!

              Appreciate the mushroom burger tip at Shake Shack.

              Pizza- Definitely want NY style pizza recs as well as the Neapolitan types please. Pies, slices and seating whether counter or full service. Honestly, we probably wouldn't mind eating tasty pizza more than once :) Thanks for pointing this out Kathryn & also, great breakfast post!

              Lunch- really just want to be armed with variety of places in different locations (deli, pizza, mid-eastern). Suggestion for good delis/sandwiches without 30+ min. wait appreciated. In addition to Katz, I have noted 2nd ave deli & Sarge's. Which ones do not have the meat piled high? Also, I'm sure dd will find something other than beef at these places, perhaps good matzoh ball soup or even a good blt.

              Will keep in mind about Casa Mono, etc. for lunch. May nix Momofuku due to mixed reviews. I've added Caracas Arepas Bar...again, only 6 days :(

              Also, Is Pongal better than Chennai Garden for dosas? Absolutely love good dosa/vada place...convinced dh to look into this vs. Tabla.

              Dinner - Forgot to mention we arrive at JFK at 6:00pm on a wed. night; therefore, would like dinner fairly close to hotel. PJ Clarke's, five napkin burger, other (mid-east, chinese)? Have expanded dinner possibilities to include Scarpetta, Aldea, Pipa, YerbaBuena. Now to conquer reservations...

              Will probably replace 15 East with Sakagura, Sushi Uo, Shinbashi or something totally different such as Greek (Kefi, Pylos). With Japanese, I think I'm almost more concerned about service (given allergy) than about food.

              I've just realized that the weather may not be pleasant and due to much walking, kids would probably love to cool down with ice cream or gelato. Came across Grom, would appreciate other recs as well.

              Last but not least, looking forward to having the ipad to reference the many threads I've saved to "favorites"....much easier to access than the mobile app :)

              Again, many thanks.

              13 Replies
              1. re: ceekskat

                Momofuku Ssam is one of my favorite restaurants in the world - don't give up on it yet! It has its share of vocal detractors, but I've had consistently excellent meals there. There's nothing like it in the Bay Area. It does seem pretty polarizing, so I think you have to look at the profiles of both its fans and its detractors to figure out whose palates resemble yours most, then decide.

                I haven't been to Chennai Garden, but I do remember the vada at Pongal being pretty good.

                I thought Caracas Arepa Bar was ok, not great. In that neighborhood, I'd be more interested in trying Artichoke pizza (which I haven't been to yet) for its square slice.

                Have you figured out which neighborhoods you'll be in midday?

                -----
                Chennai Garden
                129 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016

                Momofuku Ssam Bar
                207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                Caracas Arepa Bar
                93 1/2 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                1. re: daveena

                  Regarding Momofuku Ssam, how can I ignore the plea of a fellow hound who's visited Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai? :)) Will give it more thought!

                  "...neighborhoods you'll be in midday?" ...million dollar question. Since this is the kids' first trip, we'll be giving the usual tourist attractions a priority. Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Met. museum of Art, Natural History Museum, Guggenheim (ok, 3 in 6 days may be pushing it :), Ground Zero & Empire State Bldg. Of course we'll devote some time to Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Central Park, American Girl & time permitting, shopping.

                  -----
                  Momofuku Ssam Bar
                  207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  American Girl Cafe
                  609 5th Ave, New York, NY 10017

                  1. re: ceekskat

                    > Statue of Liberty

                    There's a single concessions stand on Liberty Island IIRC, so either plan around the trip or bring your own snacks.

                    > Brooklyn Bridge

                    Manhattan side or Brooklyn side? for the Brooklyn side, you'll need to post on the Outer Boroughs board.

                    > museum of Art

                    I assume you mean the Museum of Modern Art aka MoMA. The in-museum cafes are actually good there! A local restauranteur runs the cafes inside MoMA as well as the upscale restaurant next door (The Modern). But since you'll be traveling with your family, not sure you want to go to the Modern. I'd research the halal cart at 53rd and 6th, La Bonne Soupe, or the burger joint hidden inside the Parker Meredian hotel.

                    > Natural History Museum

                    You're a hop, skip, and jump away from Shake Shack, Jacques Torres, Grom, Grandaisy Bakery, and a lot of options on the UWS.

                    > Guggenheim

                    Not as food rich of a neighborhood, but you should look into Cafe Sabarsky at the Neue Museum.

                    > Ground Zero

                    Not as food rich of a neighborhood, but very close to Tribeca, City Hall, etc. so I would recommend just kind of "passing through" the area on your way to or from the Statue of Liberty and planning your meals/snacks elsewhere.

                    > Empire State Building

                    Madangsui, a good Korean BBQ joint, is nearby, but I'm not sure you'll want Korean BBQ in NYC.

                    In general, searching on the name of an NYC landmark or tourist attraction will yield lots of results, too.

                    -----
                    Jacques Torres
                    350 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

                    La Bonne Soupe
                    48 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

                    Shake Shack
                    Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

                    Cafe Sabarsky
                    1048 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028

                    Grandaisy Bakery
                    176 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023

                    Madangsui
                    35 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

                    City Hall
                    131 Duane St., New York, NY 10013

                    Grom
                    233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                    1. re: kathryn

                      Ground Zero is such a harsh term, it is still the World Trade Center.

                      1. re: kathryn

                        Kathryn,

                        I think "Met. museum of Art" = the Metropolitan Museum of Art rather than Modern Museum of Art (MoMA). The cafeteria in the basement at The Met is supposed to be pretty good.

                        Outside, if they want to go upscale at a reasonable cost, Cafe Boulud's 3-course lunch prix fixes (2 courses $28/3 courses $35) are a steal for cuisine of such extraordinarily high caliber. Casual dress is perfectly acceptable, and I think the two young ladies would certainly enjoy the experience.

                        http://www.danielnyc.com/cafebouludNY...

                        They could also do lunch at the new Jean Georges at The Mark where the menu includes pizzas, sandwiches, and a burger.

                        http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

                        1. re: RGR

                          Ah, you're right!

                          If my experience at the Met's ground floor cafe proves anything, visitors should do well to avoid any of the eating establishments.

                          1. re: kathryn

                            At the Met Museum, never done the ground floor cafe or the cafeteria. However, we've had lunch in the Petri Court Cafe and brunch in the Trustees Dining Room (open at certain times to Met members, which we are), and the food in both was delicious.

                            Photos of our brunch in the Met's Trustees Dining Room: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                      2. re: ceekskat

                        Pongal isn't too far of a walk from the Empire State Building.

                        SHO Shaun Hergatt is near Ground Zero, has great food, and its lunch prix-fixe is a steal ($30/ 3 courses), but is more formal than the restaurants currently in consideration.

                        -----
                        SHO Shaun Hergatt
                        40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004

                    2. re: ceekskat

                      "Lunch- really just want to be armed with variety of places in different locations (deli, pizza, mid-eastern). Suggestion for good delis/sandwiches without 30+ min. wait appreciated. In addition to Katz, I have noted 2nd ave deli & Sarge's. Which ones do not have the meat piled high? Also, I'm sure dd will find something other than beef at these places, perhaps good matzoh ball soup or even a good blt. "

                      Forget meat not piled high at Katz's, Sarge's, 2nd Avenu, etc. Not happening! The answer is for two people to share one sandwich in order to cut down on the amount of meat consumed.

                      Sarge's chicken soup with matzoh balls is excellent.

                      Sarge's photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                      2nd Avenue Deli is kosher. Ergo, no BLTs.

                      Edited to add: Your best bet for not wait is Sarge's.

                      1. re: ceekskat

                        While the shop itself isn't old i think Basille's Artichoke (usually just called artichoke) is a recommendable example of ny-style slices. its a no-seats (save a bench out front) slice shop where they only make 4 types of pies - margarita (also known as cheese, or "regular") artichoke (with a creamy spinach artichoke dip mix on top - no red sauce) a square or sicilian (my favorite variant of ny style pizza that i really think isn't done well anywhere else in the us - hell even a lot of the square pies around nyc leave me wanting more) and crab (a no go for your seafood allergic and frankly not nearly as good as the other types of pie there).

                        all of those slices are good - i personally prefer the more traditional (regular or square) to the namesake artichoke

                        im a motorino devotee, and if you like mozza in la its stylistically up your alley - but if you want a nyc street slice experience artichoke is the place to get it (but dont let that stop you from getting to motorino, order the stratciatella and prosciutto pies, or the sopresatta, or filleti, i guess im saying you cant go wrong)

                        note the owners of artichoke have a deep fried dessert stand just two doors down with some damn fine canolli and other sweet things, its called Led Zeppoli if it helps you look it up.

                        1. re: tex.s.toast

                          I love Artichoke but it's not necessarily what I think of when I think "NY style" slice even though it IS very New York and comes from NYC. Most out of towners would say that an "NY style" slice is thin. Artichoke's crust? Not that thin.

                          I only recommend the square/sicilian slice there, not the margherita, artichoke, etc.

                          1. re: kathryn

                            i guess i should have said i think it is A nyc slice, not THE nyc slice. new-school neopolitan places aside i feel like the rest of the nyc pizza scene breaks down into old school coal oven places and corner slice shops (with some outliers that defy this broad categorization). i think that amongst the neighborhood/corner slice shop style places artichoke offers some of the best - it is not just like every other place (which may make it not the most representative) but it is good (if it were just like every other place id have a hard time calling it exemplary).

                            for me sicilian/squares are a big part of the NYC pizza experience, as you just dont see that style a lot elsewhere. luckily it looks like the OPs commitment to trying a broad base of pizza options seems unlikely to leave them with a narrow view of what a NY style pizza is.

                            as to the square vs margherita - i too prefer the square when its good (and think that its a decent facsimile of DiFara's, which is my yardstick for evaluating square pies) but have, of late, found myself less wowed by the squares at artichoke - i think the last few times ive had one they werent moving them as well and they suffered from being not super freshly baked/overly reheated to a just near burnt to a crisp. the margherita isnt the best piece of pizza in the city but its a really good slice.

                            1. re: tex.s.toast

                              Totally agreed, just wanted to be clear that Artichoke doesn't represent the "typical" NY slice you see on TV! :)

                      2. Hi, I am looking for a pizza place that features "dough tossing" - is there anywhere in NY that has "shows" where the pizza maker throws the dough in entertaining ways?
                        Thanks!

                        1 Reply
                        1. As others have stated I would pass up Marseille if favor of either Artisanal or Pastis.

                          And when you state: "especially on Japanese" I'm not sure if you wanted fusion, sushi, or real Japanese so I'll suggest Sakagura for real Japanese.

                          As for the Gramercy Tavern Tavern Room, depending on when you go, you'd be surprized how short of a wait it can be and I would recommend you try.

                          -----
                          Gramercy Tavern
                          42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

                          Sakagura
                          211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Spiritchaser

                            Initially, I was looking for fusion Japanese as I get the impression they are less intimidating than sushi bars where one *has* to sit at the counter in front of so & so to get good food & be treated well. Then upon further research, I noticed Sakagura was highly recommended and often associated with words like "fun" and "adventure". Looking at their menu with its interesting small plates including cooked dishes, it seems like this would be a nice change during a week of heavy dining.

                            Thanks for the tip about the Tavern Room. !4 yr old can handle waits but 11 yr old...not quite there yet.

                            1. re: ceekskat

                              IMO Sakagura is not the best Japanese choice for children. While the food is good and authentic, the focus of the place is sake. I would really recommend 15 East. I've always sat at the bar, but I can't imagine their service being poor at a table. They have excellent sushi and cooked food, best of both worlds really. That is, unless you're not interested in sushi at all, then there are other places. It's expensive if you come hungry and eat until you're stuffed, but if you order carefully and have a small meal, I think it can be very reasonable.

                              I have a total "sushi snob" friend who recently dined at Sushi Uo and he was less than impressed with their sushi.

                              -----
                              15 East
                              15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

                              Sakagura
                              211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

                              1. re: uwsister

                                Actually I thought DH would prefer 15 East but upon showing him the menus, he is really interested in trying Sakagura & he would love the "focus on sake". We usually dine on the early side so atmosphere for children should be okay.

                                1. re: ceekskat

                                  Another place that I don't think I had visited when you first asked for suggestions but we were recently at SD26 and it was great. I THINK it would work for your children. We were in nice jeans and button down shirts, GF was in a casual skirt and it was fine. I did not think the bill was high but that would be for you to decide.

                                  -----
                                  SD26
                                  19 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010

                          2. We took our four kids to Manhattan last year and I think you've got a lot of great ideas. I'd highly recommend Momofuku Ssam Bar with the kids, just hang in there through the wait. Our kids have some food allergies and even though the staff and chefs in particular are VERY reluctant to alter anything, we did prevail on them to remove one or another nut from a dish. And it was a great scene. I would also highly recommend the Bar Room at the Modern - great food, great scene, something interesting for everyone on the menu and great cocktails. The more formal prix fixe restaurant I would not do with kids.

                            I am not sure how pervasive the shellfish allergy is - we have one child who's allergic to shellfish - but the Oyster Bar at Grand Central is memorable and unique.

                            Also, our kids loved the Spotted Pig. Again, go early, put your name in, and walk around the neighborhood. Maybe you end up at Pastis, but the Pig will please everyone.

                            Finally, without provoking any pizza debate, I think a fantastic thing to do with kids is to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, loop around back toward the water and get a pie at Grimaldi's. Our kids loved it, and the pizza was great. Not Mozza perhaps, but every bit as good as Delfina's. When you're in Manhattan, you don't see Manhattan in all its majesty, but from the most beautiful bridge in the world, it's breathtaking. And after lunch you can take the subway a couple more stops to the wonderful Brooklyn Museum.

                            Have a great trip!

                            -----
                            Momofuku Ssam Bar
                            207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                            Spotted Pig
                            314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: brunoise

                              Thanks for your thoughtful response, always good to hear from someone with kids. Looks like museums will have to take a back seat!

                            2. I feel I've done all the research & all I'm doing now is waiting for the 30/31 days prior to make reservations. Thanks everyone.