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Bringing my Mom to NYC...

s
sojoilm Dec 6, 2010 12:58 PM

Want to show my mom the best of NYC... on a budget. My husband and I are visiting Manhattan with my mother in a couple of weeks. She's from a very rural part of the south, and has only been to NYC one other time, (with me, when I was in high school) 20 years ago. My husband and I like to visit New York at least once a year, but our tastes are quite a bit different than Mom's. I'm looking for restaurants that have a nice, friendly atmosphere, but not too fancy... true New York places. Ideal price would be no more than $20 per person/lunch, $30/dinner. Many thanks!

  1. g
    gutsofsteel Dec 6, 2010 01:53 PM

    Do those numbers include tax, tip, and wine/drinks? What cuisines are you interested in (or not)? What parts of town (or not)?

    2 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel
      s
      sojoilm Dec 6, 2010 04:15 PM

      Thanks for the reply gutsofsteel. No, I was assuming that tips/drinks/tax would be in addition to those prices. We like anything. Mom particularly enjoys Thai food, but she's generally up for whatever. I think she'd enjoy authentic Italian, Columbian, Cuban, good pizza... great burgers... etc. She'll be interested in anything authentic and different from wha't she's had before... which, as you might guess, is just about anything, as she lives in the middle of the country and seldomly has dinner out.

      1. re: sojoilm
        s
        sojoilm Dec 6, 2010 04:21 PM

        We're staying near MSG, so I guess anywhere in that area or Chelsea. But we'll be all over town, and will travel for good food.

    2. sgordon Dec 6, 2010 02:50 PM

      $30/pp dinner is fairly low, at least for "nice friendly atmosphere" - but there are certainly some NYC classics & a couple newer places that'd fit the bill - some of these are better for lunch than dinner, mind you:

      Katz's Deli
      Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop
      Veselka
      Frankies 17 Clinton Street Spuntino
      Momofuku Noodle Bar
      Lupa (if you just do an antipasti & pasta)
      Republic
      Vanessa's Dumpling House (ultra-cheap eats, good for lunch if you're doing a Chinatown wander)

      ...and any number of Chinatown places: South China Garden is great, Wo Hop is not as great but an NYC institution. Joe's Shanghai and Joe's Ginger are quite popular for soup dumplings, and not bad. (And let's not let the mere mention of Joe's turn this into yet another "Flushing has better soup dumplings!" thread, okay?)

      ...and of course, Shake Shack.

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

      Vanessa's Dumpling House
      118 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

      South China Garden
      22 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

      Joe's Shanghai
      24 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

      Wo Hop
      17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

      Veselka
      144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

      Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop
      174 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

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

      Joe's Ginger
      25 Pell St, New York, NY 10013

      3 Replies
      1. re: sgordon
        s
        sojoilm Dec 6, 2010 04:16 PM

        Thanks! Those suggestions sound great! I appreciate your help!

        1. re: sgordon
          f
          FoodDabbler Dec 6, 2010 08:32 PM

          Shake Shack was just the suggestion that gustsofsteel was going to make.

          1. re: sgordon
            k
            kathryn Dec 6, 2010 08:39 PM

            Let's not forget pizza! Motorino? Keste?

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

          2. u
            uniqueusername Dec 6, 2010 04:06 PM

            Hells Kitchen area would be worth a visit - 5 Napkin Burger or Eatery would be good choices as long as you don't mind a little noise.

            13 Replies
            1. re: uniqueusername
              s
              sojoilm Dec 6, 2010 04:22 PM

              Thanks, we'll check those out!

              1. re: sojoilm
                p
                pbjluver Dec 6, 2010 05:47 PM

                check-out www.menupages.com

                1. re: sojoilm
                  u
                  uniqueusername Dec 7, 2010 07:48 PM

                  Also, for lunch you might want to check out La Bonne Soupe one day - pretty good and very good value. I think it's $18 for a big bowl of soup, salad, unlimited bread, a drink, and a dessert

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

                2. re: uniqueusername
                  p
                  pbjluver Dec 6, 2010 05:47 PM

                  Eatery is nice.

                  Are you into ethnic eats...like Indian or Turkish?

                  1. re: pbjluver
                    s
                    sojoilm Dec 7, 2010 08:00 AM

                    We love Indian... Mom's had Indian food exactly one time, and she seems to enjoy it. She likes spicy dishes, and seems to be game for anything, really. So ethnic suggestions are great. We've never had Turkish food, so maybe that would be fun for all of us. Thanks for your help. We'll check out Eatery, too.

                    1. re: sojoilm
                      g
                      gutsofsteel Dec 7, 2010 03:17 PM

                      I'd recommend Dhaba for an Indian meal.

                      1. re: gutsofsteel
                        thew Dec 7, 2010 07:52 PM

                        agreed

                      2. re: sojoilm
                        p
                        pbjluver Dec 7, 2010 03:22 PM

                        Turkish / Mediterranean food is yummy and very healthy

                        For a delicious mid-priced dinner (or lunch) in a very warm setting
                        visit Beyoglu...great service and food...casual dress.

                        1431 3rd Avenue at 81st St., New York, NY 10028-1802
                        (212) 650-0850
                        Open Mon-Thu,Sun 12pm-10pm;
                        Fri-Sat 12pm-11pm

                        Google them.

                    2. re: uniqueusername
                      o
                      orthorunner Dec 7, 2010 09:50 AM

                      Hells Kitchen will have some great spots for you, including 5 Napkin Burger; other interesting cuisines there include Israeli (Gazala Place), Ethiopian (Queen of Sheba), as well as Casselula, a great wine and cheese spot with lots of fantastic cheese selections (not sure if it's up your alley but worth popping in if so). Also agree with kathryn's suggestion of Neapolitan pizza such as Keste or Motorino. Other options:
                      DBGB
                      Bar Boulud
                      Kin Shop
                      ABC Kitchen
                      Redhead (IF your mom would find it fun to see how NYC does Southern cuisine!)
                      And lots of other good options mentioned in this thread!

                      -----
                      Bar Boulud
                      1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

                      DBGB
                      299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

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

                      ABC Kitchen
                      35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

                      1. re: orthorunner
                        p
                        Pan Dec 7, 2010 03:07 PM

                        For Ethiopian in Hell's Kitchen, I recommend Meskerem. I strongly agree with the recommendation of Gazala Place.

                        -----
                        Gazala Place
                        709 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                        Meskerem
                        468 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

                        1. re: Pan
                          o
                          orthorunner Dec 7, 2010 05:37 PM

                          When I walked by the other day it looked like they were "closed for renovations," the only reason I didn't mention them. Would recommend checking before coming in case they are not open!

                          1. re: orthorunner
                            p
                            Pan Dec 7, 2010 10:02 PM

                            Oy, "Closed for renovations"! The scariest sign for New Yorkers! Thanks for telling me.

                          2. re: Pan
                            b
                            BrooksNYC Dec 10, 2010 03:06 PM

                            Another vote for Meskerem. Love it.

                            -----
                            Meskerem
                            468 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

                      2. r
                        rrems Dec 6, 2010 07:14 PM

                        Would she like an authentic French bistro? La Petite Auberge is one of the last of its breed and the food is excellent. The atmosphere and service are charming. Ordering a la carte may put you a bit over budget but they offer a 3-course prix-fixe for under $30 that has many choices, and a salad is included with all main courses. The souflees are really great but unfortunately not on the prix-fixe (though one will serve 2 or 3 people).

                        -----
                        La Petite Auberge
                        116 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rrems
                          s
                          sojoilm Dec 7, 2010 08:18 AM

                          That sounds nice... we'll look into it. Thanks for the suggestion!

                        2. goodhealthgourmet Dec 6, 2010 07:47 PM

                          you'll be right near Koreatown, so you should consider Madangsui or Don's Bogam for Korean BBQ.

                          and for something that isn't "ethnic" but is totally NYC, take her to Keens Chophouse.

                          -----
                          Keens
                          72 West 36th St., New York, NY 10018

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

                          Don's Bogam
                          17 E 32nd St, New York, NY 10016

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                            p
                            Pan Dec 6, 2010 08:21 PM

                            Madangsui and Don's Bogam will cost considerably more than $30/person, don't you think? As in, closer to $50?

                            sojoilm: I would suggest Grand Sichuan on 24th St. and 9th Av. if you like Sichuan-style (spicy) food.

                            If you'd consider places on 9th Av. in the 40s and 50s, that opens up more places, and there are also some good Indian restaurants centered around Lexington Av. between 26th and 29th Sts., if that holds any interest for you.

                            1. re: Pan
                              f
                              FoodDabbler Dec 6, 2010 08:41 PM

                              Bhojan, in particular, among Indian restaurants in that strip of Lex offers vegetarian choices that you are unlikely to get in the rural south and will keep you well within your budget. And if you want a riff on the rural south theme, take your mother to a South Indian restaurant on the same strip and get her the largest dosa you can find.

                              While you're in the area, take her to Kalustyan's and ask her to count how many varieties of rice they have.

                              -----
                              Kalustyan's
                              123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                              Bhojan
                              102 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                              1. re: Pan
                                goodhealthgourmet Dec 6, 2010 08:50 PM

                                hmm, i thought they'd be doable for $30 per head just for food, but maybe i'm misremembering the prices! i guess Han Bat and Kunjip would be good alternatives then...?

                                -----
                                Kunjip
                                9 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

                                Han Bat
                                53 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                  p
                                  Pan Dec 6, 2010 09:44 PM

                                  At Han Bat, I recommend the Hyaemul Dolsot Bibimbap, and that would cost, I think, $17.50 before tax and tip.

                                2. re: Pan
                                  s
                                  sojoilm Dec 7, 2010 08:19 AM

                                  Mom definitely likes spicy... so we'll look into those.

                                3. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                  sgordon Dec 7, 2010 07:11 AM

                                  You could certainly do Bi Bim Bap, or any number of other non-BBQ items, for well under $30/pp at most of your K-Town joints. For BBB, I'm partial to Kum Gang San, there's a decent Banchan there that rotates pretty regularly. And it's a fun atmosphere - I mean, there's a piano on top of a waterfall for chrissakes.

                                  As to Keen's - unless you're just going have appetizers and then leave, there's no way you could do them for $30/pp. Most of the steaks run $40-$50.

                                  -----
                                  Kum Gang San
                                  49 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

                                  1. re: sgordon
                                    s
                                    sojoilm Dec 7, 2010 08:21 AM

                                    I took a look at Kum Gang San... it looks like fun. Keen's will probably be a bit pricey for this trip, and Mom is not much of a steak person.... thanks for your help!

                                    -----
                                    Kum Gang San
                                    49 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

                                    1. re: sgordon
                                      goodhealthgourmet Dec 7, 2010 02:50 PM

                                      i was thinking the bar menu at Keens, but it doesn't sound like even that would be worth it if the OP's Mom isn't much into steakhouses.

                                  2. a
                                    AubWah Dec 7, 2010 07:20 AM

                                    I think you should have 2 dinners in Chinatown. I think being from the deep south and being interested in new and exciting foods having dinner at Shanghai Cafe 100 Mott Street and Cantoon Garden 22 Elizabeth Street would be a great idea. And of course Chinatown is a bargain hunters dream. If you are interested in doing this I will gladly recommend what to order. It is really worth it to go to Chinatown it is a truly magnificent dining paradise. Also very easy to get to these restaurants on the subway from near MSG.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: AubWah
                                      s
                                      sojoilm Dec 7, 2010 08:41 AM

                                      Sounds fun, what would you suggest we order?

                                      1. re: sojoilm
                                        a
                                        AubWah Dec 7, 2010 10:34 AM

                                        At Shanghai cafe my order for 2 people is 1 order of soup dumplings with pork, spicy cabbage. There is a chinese only section on the regular menu. I always get the first dish in the left hand column which is pork and knotted bean curd skin folded like pretzels in an unbelievable sauce. I also always get the last dish in the right hand column, shredded beef with spicy peppers and dried tofu strips in an equally magnificent sauce. All this along with rice comes to $36 before tip.

                                        Cantoon Garden- Lobsters with XO sauce (2 for $25)
                                        Half fried chicken with garlic sauce $12
                                        Peking pork chops $10
                                        Hot fried stuffed peppers or something forget what it says on menu they are great
                                        Cannot go wrong with this at both restaurants

                                        1. re: AubWah
                                          s
                                          sojoilm Dec 7, 2010 12:26 PM

                                          Yum! Thanks for the suggestions!

                                    2. drbelfer Dec 7, 2010 10:11 AM

                                      In case you are taking in a show or will be in Hell's Kitchen area - we always hit John's Pizza which should be in your price range. It makes great brick oven pizza and other italian offerings. The place is a converted tabernacle with a stained glass ceiling. Definately worth the stop.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: drbelfer
                                        s
                                        sojoilm Dec 7, 2010 12:26 PM

                                        Sounds great, thanks!

                                        1. re: drbelfer
                                          p
                                          Pan Dec 7, 2010 03:09 PM

                                          It's worth looking at, but I find their pizza decidedly mediocre and definitely not worth waiting in a long line of tourists for.

                                        2. c
                                          CatoUWS Dec 7, 2010 11:08 AM

                                          You've gotten some excellent recommendations, especially in the Chelsea / Midtown area. I definitely second Grand Sichuan at 9th Ave and 24th Street. Mom might enjoy the experience of an Ethiopian dinner (Queen of Sheba is one recommendation here, though you'll find others through Menupages), which can be spicy, or Persian (Pars, 26th Street just east of 8th Ave) , which won't be spicy but will definitely be unique for her (and is convenient to where you're staying).

                                          You've gotten lots of good recommendations on 9th Ave in the 40s and up into the 50s, but if the weather is decent and Mom is up to it, she might enjoy walking it -- it is really New York City's "food court". Wander a bit and let *her* pick someplace that intrigues her. (In addition to what is already here, you might consider Delta Grill for Cajun, 9th Ave at 48th St, or Braai for South African, 51st between 8th and 9th -- when's the last time Mom had an ostrich steak?, though it might push your budget envelope -- or Afghan Kebab House for, well, you get the idea, 9th Ave between 51st and 52nd.) Just walking that stretch of 9th Ave can be a cross-cultural experience, though be aware that not everything there is as good as others.

                                          Have fun!

                                          -----
                                          Afghan Kebab House
                                          764 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                                          Delta Grill
                                          700 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                                          Braai
                                          329 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10019

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: CatoUWS
                                            s
                                            sojoilm Dec 7, 2010 12:27 PM

                                            Many thanks for all the suggestions! I'm getting excited about the trip!

                                          2. g
                                            Geo8rge Dec 8, 2010 07:00 AM

                                            Take the number 7 train out to Queens, it is elevated outside of Manhattan so it is as close to the Disney monorail NYC has. Read posts about what to do in Queens, lots of cheap choices. Getting of at any of the Roosevelt ave stops will give you many options. It is easy to navigate the streets as you can just look for the elevated train tracks.

                                            This guy's tour might be interesting:
                                            http://www.famousfatdave.com/

                                            1. c
                                              cloverose Dec 8, 2010 10:59 AM

                                              I agree with a previous poster -- menupages.com is a great place to check out NYC restaurants. You can sort by neighborhood, food type, etc. plus check the menu for food selections and prices. I always look for restaurants that have been reviewed by 10+ people, have 4 stars for food quality and 2-4 stars for price. A place that I can recommend is Hanci for turkish food on 10th and 56th. Lovely atmosphere/service -- great food.

                                              -----
                                              Hanci
                                              854 10th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: cloverose
                                                k
                                                kathryn Dec 8, 2010 07:34 PM

                                                I find the ratings to be totally unreliable--too small a sample size, too many people complaining about delivery, people with limited dining experience posting....

                                                1. re: kathryn
                                                  f
                                                  FoodDabbler Dec 8, 2010 07:40 PM

                                                  This is different from chowhound how?

                                                  OK, I'm being provocative, but my underlying serious point is that with any site (including chow) you have to learn to filter. Even menupage ratings have their uses.

                                                  1. re: FoodDabbler
                                                    k
                                                    kathryn Dec 8, 2010 07:52 PM

                                                    Tons of good restaurants on Menupages have only 2-3 reviews, tops. Some have none. And reviews are often from meals from a few years ago. At least on CH there's more traffic and you can ask what people think or about recent experiences.

                                                    1. re: kathryn
                                                      f
                                                      FoodDabbler Dec 8, 2010 08:01 PM

                                                      Yes, yes, I agree. I post here, not contribute there, so I've voted with my fingers. But the original suggestion mentioned looking at places reviewed by 10+ people. That's smaller than I'd like, but not smaller than a typical sampling of opinion on CH. The conclusions you can draw from this are not totally worthless.

                                                      I do agree, though, that the requirement that people express themselves here in words, not stars or numerical ratings or whatever, is a huge qualitative difference.

                                              2. j
                                                julilouie Dec 8, 2010 11:24 AM

                                                Think this calls for a trip to Mamas on 3rd and ave B. Soul food, low key environment, basically all you can eat for about 10 dollars. Perfect name too.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: julilouie
                                                  s
                                                  sojoilm Dec 8, 2010 06:50 PM

                                                  THANK YOU!!!! All these suggestions are great, and just what we needed to help make this a special trip for Mom.

                                                  1. re: sojoilm
                                                    r
                                                    reatard Dec 11, 2010 08:01 AM

                                                    If your mom is from the south there is really no need to bring her to Mama's. It serves southern food that isn't really that great. It's decent southern food for Manhattan but your mom will be disappointed.

                                                2. LatinLovinEG Dec 12, 2010 02:05 PM

                                                  For amazing burgers go to Corner Bistro in the West village - beer mugs are $2.50. Great for lunch. Also my favorite place for latino food go to - La Taza de Oro in Chelsea. It's like a diner setting but food is phenomenal! Try the flan for dessert. These two places are quintessential NYC, def not touristy. For pizza i would also recommend Motorino or the new Artichoke Pizza in Chelsea. Hope you all enjoy the city!!!

                                                  -LLEG
                                                  http://latinlovineatingrubbin.com

                                                  -----
                                                  Corner Bistro
                                                  331 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

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

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