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restaurant recommendation for a 16 y.o. foodie (whose parents aren't rich)

My 16 y.o. son lives wants to try new restaurants and foods in Manhattan, but his tastes often exceed my budget. I want to take him somewhere for a nice lunch that will be interesting and fun for him, but not wildly expensive. Anything but chinese food or a steakhouse. Thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. You're in luck, as a lot of the best fine dining restaurants in the city have lunch tasting menus that are very reasonable (i.e., many under $30 for three courses or more). Look at Bouley, Del Posto, Jean Georges, Picholine, etc.—and I know I'm missing many that fellow CHers can fill in.

    These are all places where you could easily blow $200+ per person at dinner, so the lunch prix fixes are truly steals.

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    Jean Georges
    1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

    Del Posto
    85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

    Picholine
    35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

    12 Replies
    1. re: loratliff

      Cafe Boulud, Convivio, and Tocqueville have nice lunch deals as well.

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      Cafe Boulud
      20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

      1. re: fm1963

        Cafe Boulud is one of my favorite lunches in town.

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        Cafe Boulud
        20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          Cafe Boulud is great. I just had lunch there today.

          Lots of good recs on this thread. Aldea also has a prix fixe lunch for $24.07, which unfortunately does not include their signature arroz de pato. But maybe you can split one as an extra course.

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          Cafe Boulud
          20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

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

        2. re: fm1963

          what is the lunch deal at Cafe Boulud? it doens't look very different from dinner.

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          Cafe Boulud
          20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

          1. re: daffyduck

            In addition to the regular menu, there's also a limited choice set menu. If you look on the website, I think it's listed as the prix fixe option.

            1. re: daffyduck

              At Cafe Boulud, the 2 course lunch is $28, and the 3 course lunch is $35. You have two or three choices for each course. There's a separate hyperlink for prix fixe lunch option, as Nancy S. pointed out.

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              Cafe Boulud
              20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

              1. re: peter j

                ohhh. thank you. what would you recommend for lunch there? I'm thinking about going either there or Convivio.

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                Convivio
                45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                1. re: daffyduck

                  Cafe Boulud is a whole other league from Convivio - Cafe Boulud is a far better and more sophisticated restaurant, with superlative service.

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                  Cafe Boulud
                  20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

                  Convivio
                  45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    okay, thanks. what are your favorite dishes for lunch

                    1. re: daffyduck

                      The menu changes seasonally. You can do a la carte or a prix fixe lunch. Check out the menu on their website.

                  2. re: daffyduck

                    Deffyduck, to be honest I have not tried the prix fixe at Cafe Boulud and usually order a la carte for lunch. My favorite dishes are the short rib dumplings, capon terrine, bacon wrapped chicken, and porcini risotto. I've also had the beet cured salmon, endive salad, and a few fruit based desserts, which were good but not mind blowing. The buche de noel on the prix fixe looked very nice though.

                    At Convivio. I loved the stracciatella, tortelli di amatrice, carbonara, lamb chops, affogato, and bomboloni, though have not been back since Michael White left. The pastry chef, Heather Bertinetti, is still with the restaurant though.

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                    Cafe Boulud
                    20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

                    Convivio
                    45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                    1. re: peter j

                      thanks, ill try to look up recent reviews of Convivio. if it's the case that the lunch a la carte is better than the prix fix i may just go to Cafe Boulud for dinner.

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                      Cafe Boulud
                      20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

                      Convivio
                      45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

          2. bar boulud - 20 ish
            lunch at jean georges 32
            lunch at del posto 32
            momofuko ssam - varies
            I am also 15 and love food
            http://teenchefteddy.blogspot.com/

            3 Replies
            1. re: tldmatrix

              Jean Georges is in the 30s now? Thought it was still in the high 20s. Still the best fine dining lunch deal in the City, IMO.

              And since your son is 16, you won't have the extra booze costs.

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              Jean Georges
              1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

              1. re: Jlachlan1

                Jean Georges is $32, but he does have a $26 lunch going at a few of his other restaurants.

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                Jean Georges
                1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

                1. re: loratliff

                  nougatine at jean georges is 26...I am going there monday.
                  http://teenchefteddy.blogspot.com/

            2. Morrells wine bar and Cafe--right next to Rockefeller center--very creative menu,excellently done--if its nice out they have a patio as well--entre 12 - 20 plus wine

              4 Replies
              1. re: bobstripower

                I have to disagree with this recommendation for this poster. Morrells is a wine bar, this is for a 16 year old whom they want to take for lunch - there are many better options than Morrells wine bar.

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  Yeah, I thought that was a poor rec too. Wine-inspired food will be lost on a 16-year-old

                  1. re: loratliff

                    What 16 year old that is into food hasn't had wine?

                    1. re: Jlachlan1

                      I had had my fair share of wine at 16, but I certainly didn't know enough to enjoy a wine bar. C'mon.

              2. Shaker,
                You might also want to keep in mind that restaurant week starts on Jan. 24 and will continue on to Feb. With this event, you can go to as many of the high profile places and only dropping $24.07 for lunch or $35.00 for dinner, respectively. The list of restaurants who are going to participate this coming new year will be available soon. Here is a link: http://www.nycgo.com/restaurantweek

                Will Chu
                "Real Food, Real Wine in The Real World"
                http://www.Chuonfood.com/

                1. Does it have to be fine dining? What about something like a Katz, Russ and Daughter, Donut Plant lunch (though it's too cold that now). Or what about pizza, Motorino and Keste (truffle spread pizza del re) are good.

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

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: daffyduck

                    I had the same question. When you said he wants to try new foods, I immediately thought of ethnic. Might even be worth posting on the outer boroughs board. Also, for a more energized scene, what about Cookshop or Hundered acres. By no means anywhere near the caliber of Bouley and or places like that but I could see it being sort of fun to sit down with him and order a plate of crispy fried duck livers if he's into trying them. Good luck!
                    JeremyEG
                    homecooklocavore.com

                  2. I highly recommend Bouley (one of my most favorite restaurants); they have a multi-course tasting menu at lunch for $36. Although I've only had dinner at Bouley, others on this board have posted wonderful reviews about the lunch Sounds like it meets your criteria.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ellenost

                      We had lunch at Bouley this summer for my boyfriend's birthday and really enjoyed it, although I think that the atmosphere might be a bit stuffy for a 16 year old.

                    2. Jean Georges is known for his cheap lunch menus. There are also cool places that are not as fancy, but still very good. Porchetta, Frankies, Momofuko, casa mono, for instance, obviously I am skewed to my neighborhood. Im trying to think of others, but you know what I mean? Much more casual places, that focus on doing one or two things very well. I love Bouley, some of my best dining experiences have been at his places, but you get a lot of pomp at the upscale places, instead of forgoing that, and focusing on the food. Upstairs is still open right? That was great.

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                      Jean Georges
                      1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

                      Porchetta
                      110 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Hey19

                        I think you meant to write "Momofuku" not "Momofuko," and which one did you mean? Noodle Bar? Ssam Bar?

                        1. re: kathryn

                          I did, Momofuku, any one besides Ko? My point really is, just that, you can have amazing food for pretty cheap, it just may not be quite the dining experience that some other places are. To me, a foodie should be into food, and less concerned about the ambiance, particurlarly at 16. You have a chance to frame this kids relationship with food in a way that makes this distinction. Fancy restaurants are great, and there is some amazing food, but there is also amazing food at other places, if you are discerning, adventerous, and thoughtful. Its easy to fall under the spell of fancy restaurants, but I would say often their food is not as much better than some other restaurants as the price may indicate.