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Need recommendations for family gathering in Manhattan

c
Curious Al Nov 30, 2010 06:27 AM

Hello all,

I'm again throwing myself on the mercy of Chowhound. Last year folks were infinitely helpful in recommending a restaurant for a previous family get-together (ended up at El Parador Cafe) so I thought I'd try my luck again.

Here are my requirements: There will be eight adults and one child. We are looking for a quiet ethnic or new American restaurant - possibly with a private room - with excellent food but only moderately expensive. One of the adults is my son who lives in London and can get great Indian food anytime he wants, so he's asked that we exclude that cuisine from the list of options (drat!). We're looking to do lunch on a Sunday in early January, so we need a place that is open at those times. Other than Indian, this is a pretty adventuresome group so any and all suggestions anywhere in Manhattan would be welcome. Thanks in advance for the benefit of your wisdom and advice.

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El Parador
325 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016

  1. Motosport Nov 30, 2010 01:19 PM

    Al Bustan (Lebanese) and Ali Baba (Turkish come to mind but I don't know if they have lunch on Sundays.
    Ethos for excellent Greek
    How did you like El Parador? It's one of my favorite upscale (not Tex-Mex) Mexican places.
    Mapo Tofu for Asian/Chinese

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    Al Bustan
    319 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

    Mapo Tofu
    338 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

    2 Replies
    1. re: Motosport
      c
      Curious Al Nov 30, 2010 02:42 PM

      Thanks for the benefit of your advice, Moto, I'll be sure to check out your recommendations. As far as El Parador is concerned, they did a great job for us last year. We had a private room with bar service downstairs for about 15 people. I selected a limited menu beforehand and everyone raved about the selections. As you observed, the food is not taquería Mexican but rather a serious survey of high-end cuisine very well presented in a classy atmosphere.

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      El Parador
      325 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016

      1. re: Curious Al
        Motosport Dec 1, 2010 07:48 AM

        and they make a Mole sauce that is to die for.

    2. c
      citykid426 Nov 30, 2010 11:27 AM

      Try Ithaka Restaurant on the UES for Greek. I've been to London and didn't find any decent Greek food, so maybe your family would enjoy it in NYC. You can walk right in to Ithaka. However, Pylos is actually the best place in town for home cooked Greek (meat and seafood dishes), but you have to call ahead for that many people (can't just walk in).

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      Pylos
      128 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

      Ithaka
      308 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028

      1 Reply
      1. re: citykid426
        c
        Curious Al Nov 30, 2010 01:06 PM

        Great suggestions, CityKid. My wife and I love Greek food. After checking out your recommendations, Pylos looks particularly intriguing. I'll have to poll the rest of the group to get further reaction. Thanks again.

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        Pylos
        128 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

      2. rose water Nov 30, 2010 08:55 AM

        Does the Green Table appeal? http://www.cleaverco.com/

        8 Replies
        1. re: rose water
          c
          Curious Al Nov 30, 2010 09:27 AM

          Hello Rose. What a wonderful suggestion! Until I looked at the web link you posted, I forgot that one of our group will only eat humanely-raised meat products so The Green Table might fit the bill. Please keep other suggestions coming.

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          The Green Table
          75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

          1. re: Curious Al
            rose water Dec 1, 2010 07:34 AM

            one of the benefits of the green table is that it's in chelsea market, which is a lovely place to spend an afternoon in and of itself. if the child in your group is anything like mine, s/he will love standing at the glass walls of amy's bread bakery watching all the bakers in action.

            I've never been, but Northern Spy Food Co is another sustainable food type place that has been on my list to try for a long time: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6799...

            1. re: rose water
              LNG212 Dec 1, 2010 07:59 AM

              Did the green table move within Chelsea Market? When I was there last weekend, the regular location (the one with the big table out front) was papered over. I was wondering if it had moved/closed/etc.??

              1. re: LNG212
                rose water Dec 1, 2010 08:15 AM

                how strange. i was there around two weeks ago, and it had expanded considerably (which is to say from miniscule to nyc small), and looked like it was in full swing.

                1. re: rose water
                  LNG212 Dec 1, 2010 09:38 AM

                  Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place for it. There seems to be no indication on line that they've closed. I'll have to keep my eyes open better when next I am in Chelsea Market.

                  1. re: LNG212
                    rose water Dec 1, 2010 10:00 AM

                    It's right at the fountain, and across from the espresso bar. Still has a table out front, where folks were eating the delicious crudites and dips when I went by. The other new thing I noticed when I was last there was a bunch of tables with folks tucking in to whole steamed lobster. Is this a new Lobster Place offering? Anyone have experiences to share?

          2. re: rose water
            c
            Curious Al Jan 8, 2011 07:31 AM

            The Green Table was the perfect place for a family gathering for Sunday brunch. The restaurant had to meet a lot of criteria - child-friendly, humanely raised meat, reasonably priced and easy to get to from the two train stations - and passed them all with flying colors. While the noise level on a busy Sunday probably doesn't make it the ideal choice for older folks, the middle-aged and younger crowd at our recent meal delighted in the casual atmosphere and wide-ranging menu choices. The burgers were quite imaginative with kimchi and tomato relish and many in our group enjoyed the various pot pie selections (chicken and mushroom). The gumbo also received raves, very authenic reported one who had lived in NOLA. Everyone liked the spicy Bloody Marys which had a real kick to them. The restaurant was very tolerant of us switching seats before the food arrived (lots of catching up between the clans) and each dish, with a couple of exceptions, was excellent. We are not New Yorkers and thought the prices were extremely reasonable, especially given the food selection and how delicious the food turned out.
            Quibbles: While the prices were more than fair, I was surprised that the cheese tray appetizers cost $20.00 a piece and were skimpy. While most of the food arrived simultaneously, one simple egg dish (baked eggs and goat cheese) inexplicably didn't come out of the kitchen for a good 20 minutes after everyone else was served and even then was undercooked and uninspired. Despite these minor flaws, management provided the one who ordered the eggs a free cocktail during her wait and also removed the cost of one dish (crab cakes) that were greasy and not quite right. All in all, it is a splendid spot with wholesome, organic food and a friendly staff. I would definitely recommend it for a lively dining experience.

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            The Green Table
            75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

            1. re: Curious Al
              rose water Jan 10, 2011 07:09 AM

              Glad you liked it. Thanks for reporting back.

          3. k
            kathryn Nov 30, 2010 07:25 AM

            Some additional information may help us recommend a restaurant to you.

            How old is the child? Toddler? Pre-teen? In between?

            When you say "only moderately expensive," what does that mean to you? $30 per person before tax, tip, wine/drinks? More? Less? A dollar figure will help guide the conversation a lot more easily.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kathryn
              c
              Curious Al Nov 30, 2010 08:45 AM

              Hi Kathryn. Thanks for asking for additional details. In answer to your questions, the child is 3 or 4 years old but she is very well behaved. As far as pricing is concerned, you're right on the mark. $30.00 per person including drinks (it's lunch, after all) and tip feels about right.

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