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Parents, sigh (suggestions)

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My mom just sprung on me that she and her bf are coming to the city for four days 4th of July weekend and that she needs me to book reservations.

Mom likes either fresh and simple (think Blue Hill) or ethnic that she can't get at home (think Devi). I'm vegetarian, but I live here and can go where I want whenever and just want them to not complain, although they will complain if there's nothing on the menu for me to eat.

The real problem is mom's bf. He complains about EVERYTHING. He also thinks he's cool and wants someplace scene-y even though he's not cool and defines scene-y as meatpacking. That said, nothing too spicy, nothing with foam, nothing too empty, nothing where he's going to make me crazy whining about how small the portions are. Also, there needs to be a full bar because anything besides top shelf vodka gives him a "headache," so no beer/wine only. Mom is willing to sacrifice to please bf but not so much that we end up eating at Keens.

Right now my thoughts are:

Th: Nobu*
Fri: _______ (help me)
Sat: Apizz
Sun (the 4th): Blue Smoke

*This is required by family that's coming from Connecticut.

For Friday, looking to spend around $50/person for food only (though less is fine), They're staying on Central Park South, but somewhere below 20th is probably more apt. Also, it needs to be someplace where its not totally impossible get an 8pm reservation on a Friday.

Apizz and Blue Smoke are also flexible. I chose Blue Smoke over the other bbq places in the city cause the veggie burger is decent/existent, and the atmosphere is parent appropriate.

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Blue Hill
75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

Apizz
217 Eldridge St., New York, NY 10002

Nobu
105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

Blue Smoke
116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

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  1. It's always hard being in charge of parental planning.

    Here's a thread about where to take the parents that I though had some good ideas in it: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7071...

    In terms of that Friday night, since July's a little way off you'll be able to reserve at many places you'd want to be at. I think the bf would like Locanda Verde - plus you can tell him you might spot De Niro.

    http://underemployedinnyc.blogspot.com/

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    Locanda Verde
    377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

    2 Replies
    1. re: UnderemployedInNYC

      I went to Dovetail the last time I was in the city and just loved it. I heard that they have started a vegetarian menu and their Sunday suppa is a steal at 39$ for a prix fixe. They have a full bar and a very nice wine list.

      1. re: cricri7

        Great idea as far as food is concerned, but I would not recommend Dovetail to someone looking for a "scene".

    2. Cookshop might work

      1 Reply
      1. re: stephaniec25

        Is there anything wrong with Blue Hill? I ate there for first time recently and it was wonderful. If you say it is a "scene" it might be perceived as a scene.

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        Blue Hill
        75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

      2. Based upon your criteria for fresh/simple/local, a bit hip, no spicy food, no experimental food, decent portion sizes, and a liquor license, I'd do Hearth.

        The food is great at Hearth (chefs used to work at Craft) but also relatively "simple" and Italian inflected. Overall, the decor is industrial chic, and it's usually full but not crowded, and the portion sizes aren't itsy bitsy. And they actually have an excellent cocktail program.

        Oh, and I've taken vegetarian friends there -- they make everything a la minute and can make many of the dishes vegetarian. It's right at the top of your price range of $50pp if you get an appetizer, entree, and dessert.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          I thought about recommending Hearth too. It's awesome. Chef Marco Canora is doing beautiful food. You can tell scene-craving bf that the east village is one of the primary dining neigborhoods in nyc, and that real life restaurant insiders dig both the food, the wine list, and the classic cocktails.

          http://underemployedinnyc.blogspot.com/

          1. re: UnderemployedInNYC

            Adding my vote for Hearth. Great choice.

        2. Thanks all for the great recommendations. Hearth sounds perfect. I was also considering Locanda Verde, but I'm concerned it might be to much Italian if we're doing Apizz the following night.

          As for Blue Hill, mom's bf will most definitely not like it, and last time I was there, I got a thick slab of cauliflower for my main course that was just too bland and crunchy. Maybe it's better for the meat eaters.

          And when they go back to Florida, I'm dragging friends to the UWS to go try Dovetail.

          -----
          Blue Hill
          75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

          Apizz
          217 Eldridge St., New York, NY 10002

          Locanda Verde
          377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

          9 Replies
          1. re: downtownchica

            You won't be disappointed with Dovetail! Everything is perfect there...food, service, decor...I am a picky eater and loved the place.

            I only went in Locanda verde and thought it was noisy as hell! Your mother's boyfriend may like the scene but you will have to scream at each other!

            Have you thought about the Modern in the MOMA?

            1. re: cricri7

              Modern Bar Room might be good. (Dining room is too expensive for the OP, I think.)

              Other options: Perilla, Red Cat.

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              Perilla
              9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

              Red Cat
              227 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

              1. re: thousandrobots

                Bar Room at the Modern is great but not very vegetarian friendly from the dishes offered on the menu; not sure how they might be able to modify items for a vegetarian diner.

                They do, however, have a hip atmosphere, liquor license, but not really simple/local/organic/etc. fare and the portion sizes can be a bit small dependent on what you order as they vary greatly.

                Perilla is a good alternative but there also don't seem to be a lot of vegetarian options on the menu, either, unless you order a few sides. Again, not sure how they might be able to modify items for a vegetarian diner. It's not super hip feeling but the portion sizes are healthy, the food is good, and they have a liquor license and cocktails available.

                -----
                Perilla
                9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

                1. re: kathryn

                  Not many veg. options at either, but I did eat at both of them as a vegetarian and enjoyed them. I think they fit the bill in the other ways if the veg. can be a little flexible.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    I've done lunch in the dining room at The Modern, and while both times they provided fabulous vegetarian options, the food is just too "fussy" for the bf. Don't want to have to spend dinner explaining "coulis."

                    If not Hearth, I'm contemplating Balthazar, but I just find it to be so obscenely overpriced for what you get.

                    1. re: downtownchica

                      Downtownchica, thousandrobots and I were discussing the Bar Room of the Modern, not the Dining Room, which is far less "fussy" in terms of cuisine. Would you consider that as an option?

              2. re: downtownchica

                Even if you're doing Apizz, you may want to consider Locanda Verde-it is the first thing I thought of. Scene-y without being in meatpacking (you can brag to bf about all the celebs that eat there) Another option could be Minetta Tavern, though I must admit I don't know whether they have vegetarian options.
                Public is a nice scene and has some great vegetarian dishes, and a good cocktail selection.

                -----
                Minetta Tavern
                113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                Apizz
                217 Eldridge St., New York, NY 10002

                1. re: orthorunner

                  Can you get in and out of Locanda Verde and/or Minetta Tavern for $50 pp for food? IIRC, their menus are a little more pricey.

                  -----
                  Minetta Tavern
                  113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                  Locanda Verde
                  377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                  1. re: kathryn

                    For LV, one could do a 3-course meal for around $50; at MT, one would not be able to do the more expensive steaks but otherwise could also do a 3 course meal. It is a good point, though, that with these 2 options one would be somewhat more restricted if watching ones budget.

              3. It's not high art cooking, but Ouest might fit the bill.

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                Ouest
                2315 Broadway, New York, NY 10024