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Recommendations for special dinner with young teen

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We want to take our 14 yr old daughter out for a post middle school graduation meal and would like someplace special but informal and fun. Her palate is as transitional as the rest of her -- meaning not fully developed -- pasta, pasta, pasta, salads, fried food, sweets, nothing spicy. Favorite restaurants tend to be "dives" (Cuban-chinese rice and beans joint, a rather authentic and fabulous Japanese izakaya place but which has basic decor and is a bit rundown). She enjoyed a meal at Dovetail but was freaked out by the attentive service, amuse bouche items, etc. Loved Chickalicious, but that's not exactly a meal. Am thinking about tea at Lady Mendl's. So, ideas welcome!

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  1. Since it sounds like she doesn't like anything that will feel stuffy or pretentious... Itzocan, Inoteca, Freemans (I've taken teenagers and they loved it, though the taxidermy might not go over well), Frankie Sputino.

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    Itzocan Cafe
    438 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009

    1. i like craft for simple well executed food. but it is quite formal. maybe clinton st baking co? i think ellens stardust diner is a lot of fun? the wait staff sings (pretty well i think), and i always had a lot of fun singing along.

      2 Replies
      1. re: daffyduck

        My 13 year old daughter likes having dinner at Clinton Street Baking Co. It's not expensive, and the desserts are particularly good.

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        Clinton Street Baking Co.
        4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

        1. re: Nancy S.

          yeahhh, but i dont think any are as good as their pancakes! locanda verde and otto might also work since they arent too formal and i think they have decent pastas and good desserts.

      2. I'll second Frankie's Spuntino, and add Prune in the same neighborhood.

        1. Thanks everyone! In the end, the graduation ended early so we went with tea at Lady Merndl's after all. Can't argue with desserts, and the space and presentation is very special. Her high school is in the vicinity of Frankie Spuntino's, so I'm sure we'll get there soon. I've already been to the place's coffee shop spin-off a few doors down (can't recall the name) after I dropped her off for her admissions test and interview, and it's a fabulous place to hang out-- extremely good coffee, yummy pastries (try the "french toast") and great music.