HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

"Entertaining" Dinner for a Savvy Tween

j
jaschultze Jan 12, 2011 01:09 PM

I am bringing my 13 yo son to NYC for a weekend at the end of the month. We have theater tickets on Friday and Saturday nights but we don't have any plans for Thursday, which is the night we arrive. I am looking for a restaurant that can serve as our evening's entertainment, since I don't know how else to entertain someone who is too young to hang out in a bar! ;-) He's kind of a rock and roll kid who has fairly upscale tastes. By his definition, entertaining would be a great place to people-watch. I also think it could mean in a fun neighborhood in which to walk around or a lively ambiance.

His preferred cuisines are Italian, American, French bistro, and he can also do a basic Mexican. Definitely no chain/theme restaurants, and it needs to be "worth it" for a foodie like me. I have no real budget or preferred location, only that it be not in the Times Square/Theater District because we will be limited to that the following two nights (suggestions welcome here, too!). Our lunches might be set: he wants to revisit the burger joint (a favorite from a previous trip) and I plan on taking him to Ippudo, since ramen is just about his favorite thing ever.

Looking forward to hearing everyone's suggestions!

-----
Ippudo
65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. rose water RE: jaschultze Jan 12, 2011 01:17 PM

    Certainly not off the beaten path, but how about Momofuku Ssam (which I prefer) or Noodle Bar? Plenty to watch in the kitchen and long counters are ideally situated for people watching. You could also try to snag a walk in table at Babbo (go early)

    -----
    Babbo
    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

    Momofuku Ssam Bar
    207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

    3 Replies
    1. re: rose water
      j
      jaschultze RE: rose water Jan 13, 2011 03:54 AM

      Babbo sounds like a great suggestion -- I haven't been to a Batali restaurant yet and he'll love the scene and the loud rock music. Eating early leaves me the rest of the night, though . . .

      Any other suggestions out there?

      1. re: jaschultze
        h
        harrison RE: jaschultze Jan 13, 2011 08:47 AM

        If not Babbo, then Otto, another Batali joint may fit the bill. Hopefully if not too cold plenty of wandering options in east/west village. Take him to see the Blue Man Group!

        -----
        Babbo
        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

        1. re: jaschultze
          j
          Jane A. RE: jaschultze Jan 17, 2011 09:17 AM

          If there aren't any 3-D Imax movie houses where he lives, how about a movie to fill in the "rest of the night"? Take a nice dessert to the movie house in lieu of the ubiquitous popcorn.

      2. h
        H Manning RE: jaschultze Jan 13, 2011 08:56 AM

        How about sitting at the bar at Casa Mono, where you can watch the chefs prep the food? It's a great for people-watching as well.

        -----
        Casa Mono
        52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

        1. r
          Rich D. RE: jaschultze Jan 13, 2011 09:19 AM

          How about wandering around Eataly?

          -----
          Eataly
          200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

          1. n
            nmprisons RE: jaschultze Jan 16, 2011 09:14 AM

            why not do WD-50? if he is adventurous, it could be a lot of fun.

            -----
            WD-50
            50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

            10 Replies
            1. re: nmprisons
              sgordon RE: nmprisons Jan 17, 2011 06:43 AM

              Second WD-50. It's fun, first and foremost, and the playful takes on food would be appealing to (some) teens - smart, creative ones, at least.

              Also, as to Babbo - I wouldn't go without a rez. If you do a walk-in, especially on a weekend, you'll likely be stuck with nothing and have to wander around looking for a second option. Which is fine in warmer months, but not so much in January.

              Another option that could be fun - Morimoto. It's a bit bigger and flashier than any of the above, certainly gives you a lot to look at. Just don't get stuck in one of the tables off in the little "alcove" to the left of the entrance - ask for seats at sushi bar or something.

              -----
              WD-50
              50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

              Babbo
              110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

              Morimoto
              88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

              1. re: nmprisons
                loratliff RE: nmprisons Jan 17, 2011 07:41 AM

                Third wd-50, if he's adventurous like you say. Plus, then you'll be in the LES and can walk around there a bit. If you do end up down there, you should also duck into Cake Shop. I think, as long as they don't have a show that night, his age is a non-issue and he'll think it's pretty cool. :)

                Also, keeping with the LES scene, he might also like Freemans. Down an alley, interesting people, great decor and I quite like the food.

                1. re: nmprisons
                  j
                  jaschultze RE: nmprisons Jan 17, 2011 12:14 PM

                  Lots of suggestions for WD-50!

                  What kind of adventurous does he need to be with regard to the food? To me, his palate is more sophisticated than other kids (he'll eat artichokes, mussels, things like that) but most of those are "pure" flavors. I don't know if he would be comfortable ordering dishes with a complicated flavor profile. Is there any way I can give him some sort of "litmus test" to know if he'd do well there?

                  -----
                  WD-50
                  50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                  1. re: jaschultze
                    Miss Needle RE: jaschultze Jan 17, 2011 12:33 PM

                    If you do a search on CH for WD-50, you'll also find plenty of detractors. WD-50 is on the expensive side. So I would think carefully before plunking down that kind of money.

                    From the places listed here, I think Casa Mono would be a good choice. Your son would be very entertained by sitting at the bar. It's small plates so you guys can try more things. They have a range of "safer" dishes like patatas bravas and skirt steak to more "exotic" dishes like duck hearts and tripe. I also like the suggestion of Eataly. I haven't had any meals there, but he would probably find it fun walking around.

                    -----
                    WD-50
                    50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                    Casa Mono
                    52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

                    Eataly
                    200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                    1. re: Miss Needle
                      Miss Needle RE: Miss Needle Jan 17, 2011 12:40 PM

                      Since you wrote in your OP that you're also looking at French bistros, I'll throw out Artisanal, a bistro that specializes in cheese. I think it would be fun to eat your meal sitting in the cheese cave.

                    2. re: jaschultze
                      sgordon RE: jaschultze Jan 17, 2011 01:06 PM

                      WD-50 isn't so much adventurous in terms of flavor (though there are some interesting combinations) but in the playful presentations, the fun science tricks used to make the food, etc. There are definitely detractors, yes, for whom the "Mr. Wizard" style trickery and whatnot don't quite float their boat - I'm not among them, obviously. Also it seems a great number of the dissers ate there in the early days, before he really found his groove.

                      Dufresne is highly respected - 3 stars from the Times, perennial James Beard "Best Chef NYC" nominee, etc etc. For me, in the end, it's just delicious food - the playfulness is added bonus. If your kid is in any way a science freak - if he likes shows like Mr Wizard, Mythbusters, etc - he'll love it, more than likely. (Also if he happens to like post-modern deconstructionism, but admittedly there aren't too many thirteen year olds I can say that about...)

                      Frank Bruni's review in the NY Times: http://nyti.ms/faJWDn
                      My own somewhat recent review: http://bit.ly/gGXaIQ

                      -----
                      WD-50
                      50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                      1. re: sgordon
                        j
                        jaschultze RE: sgordon Jan 20, 2011 11:08 AM

                        Turns out we will be in the LES at dinnertime, having finished a Tenement Museum tour at 5:15, so this option is looking better and better.

                        Still, I was concerned that the menu might be too sophisticated (plus there were no reservations) so I decide to call them. They couldn't have been nicer. They assured me that they have to feed kids/teens all the time, offered him a post-dinner kitchen tour, and even offered to reserve one of the walk-in tables. Right now it looks like this is what we'll be doing.

                        -----
                        WD-50
                        50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                        1. re: jaschultze
                          sgordon RE: jaschultze Jan 20, 2011 11:47 AM

                          I think it's a good call. I was going to mention the open kitchen, as well, which can be fun for teens. You never know if Dufresne might be playing with liquid nitrogen or something at any given moment, and he's good with kids (being a bit of a big kid himself...) - should be fun for both of you. Let us know how you like it!

                          1. re: jaschultze
                            n
                            Nancy S. RE: jaschultze Jan 20, 2011 01:14 PM

                            This sounds great. I would search no further.

                            1. re: jaschultze
                              loratliff RE: jaschultze Jan 20, 2011 01:59 PM

                              As others have said, Wylie is a big kid and a lot of the food is the exact opposite of sophisticated; it's only sophisticated in technique. I'm sure you all will love it.

                              Please report back!

                      2. j
                        jaschultze RE: jaschultze Jan 17, 2011 01:06 PM

                        I was having trouble getting a reservation to some of your suggestions (Casa Mono, Babbo, WD-50) so I have Otto booked for the time being. It also has the benefit of being something that I know he'll like (I think *he's* more sophisticated than his palate!). In the meantime, I look forward to checking out more of your ideas. I haven't ruled out just cruising through Eataly either.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jaschultze
                          m
                          ml77 RE: jaschultze Jan 18, 2011 09:49 AM

                          If you're interested in eating at Babbo, you could show up early (5-6 PM depending on the night of the week) for seats at the bar, and then head to Otto if the wait is too much for you. It depends what kind of meal you'd like though. Babbo is a higher quality experience, but it is also much more expensive than Otto and less casual.

                          -----
                          Babbo
                          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                        Show Hidden Posts