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Looking for Recs for 1st time Visit with Teenagers

I am bringing my 3 teenage daughters to NYC in July for a long weekend. They are very adventurous eaters, as am I. We live in California and have lots of access to high quality Mexican and Asian, so would prefer something that we can't find at home. We definitely plan on hitting Katz's, Shake Shack, Zabar's and Russ & Daughters. I'm looking for some recommendations on sit down restaurants that are fun, good food and not excessively expensive. Would take Italian, Spanish or any other interesting cuisines. We are staying on the Upper West Side, but are willing to travel.

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Russ & Daughters
179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

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  1. You can't find a fast food hamburger in CA? Please don't waste a meal at Shake Shack. In n Out is better anyway.

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    Shake Shack
    Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      Shake Shack is so much better than In 'N' Out - I don't even know how some people can compare!

      I however do agree that the OP doesn't need to go to Shake Shack - there are too many wonderful fast food-style burgers in L.A. and that's not including In 'N' Out ;)

    2. What is "excessively expensive" to you? For some, that might only be ultra-high-end, for others a bit lower. For one example, WD-50 is certainly fun and adventurous, has a lot of appeal to younger diners because of the "wow" factor in presentation and such, but some might find it expensive while others would find it mid-range (at least for NYC... it'd be expensive most other places...)

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

      1. Kefi for greek, Bistro Casis or Cafe Luxenbourgh for bistro french, Issabelles for american. Lanskys is also great. All on the UWS.

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        Kefi
        505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

        Cafe Luxembourg
        200 W 70th St, New York, NY 10023

        Bistro Cassis
        225 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10023

        Isabella's
        359 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

        Lansky's Old World Deli
        235 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10023

        8 Replies
        1. re: rkaene

          i'd say the OP may have to eat some UWS meals out of convenience but otherwise should avoid the area foodwise...i wouldn't consider any of the above UWS places worth a meal on a short trip, even if they are dependable on the sliding scale of the local UWS area...and i particularly disliked Kefi the one time i went...never been to Isabella's though...

          for the OP, consider Kin Shop: it's somewhat Asian (Thai-inspired NY bistro food by chef Harold Dietrle), but not like any other place i've been in Cali, and it'd be great fun w/ 4 people and you could try a lot of dishes...

          For a super-reasonable outdoor meal in far West Village, i love Malatesta: charming neighborhood classic...for higher end Italian, my favorites are Scarpetta and Maialino...

          i'd also consider DBGB on Bowery: delicious selection of sausages, raw oysters, salads...

          Enjoy, and please report back...

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          Malatesta
          649 Washington St, New York, NY 10014

          Kefi
          505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

          Scarpetta
          355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

          DBGB
          299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

          Maialino
          2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

          Kin Shop
          469 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

          1. re: Simon

            On the UWS there are several places worth mentioning, among them Nice Matin, Bar Boulud, Fatty Crab, Bettola (good pizza), Celeste....and the wonderful and classic Barney Greengrass.

            ...this emphasis only on geography means missing out on some good food.

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            Barney Greengrass
            541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

            Celeste
            502 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

            Bettola
            412 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

            Nice Matin
            201 West 79th Street, New York, NY 10024

            Fatty Crab
            643 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

            Bar Boulud
            1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

            1. re: gutsofsteel

              hi guts...i have enjoyed some nice (no pun intended) meals at Nice Matin (they make a good tuna tartar)...but i wouldn't include any of those restaurants (or anywhere else on the UWS) as a food destination place for visitors on a short trip...for a convenient meal if it's near their hotel, for some them: sure/maybe...

              but with the possible exception of Picholine (which is really in the beginning of a separate neighborhood), i don't think there's a single restaurant in the UWS which would make a good list of Top 100 Places For Visitors to Try On a Short Trip...

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

              Nice Matin
              201 West 79th Street, New York, NY 10024

              1. re: Simon

                We are only staying on the UWS for its proximity to Central Park and others. We definitely plan on going throughout the city and are looking for restaurants throughout.

          2. re: rkaene

            They're going to Katz's, so why recommend Lansky's? And I can't agree that the other mundane places you mention would hold much appeal for adventurous eaters. kathryn's suggestion of Bar Boulud makes much more sense.

            Bar Boulud photos (including charcuterie): http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

            http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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            Bar Boulud
            1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

            1. re: RGR

              on a trip w/ teenagers, DBGB would be a much more fun choice than Bar Boulud...

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              Bar Boulud
              1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

              DBGB
              299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

              1. re: Simon

                DBGB has really interesting things to look at, but I haven't found it notably good, food-wise. I haven't been to Bar Boulud, so I can't express an opinion about it, but I think lunch at Jean Georges is probably still a good idea. It's the least one can pay for a restaurant in a 4-star restaurant, even if it's more like a 2 1/2- to 3-star lunch.

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

                Bar Boulud
                1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

                DBGB
                299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                1. re: Pan

                  hi Pan, i'll admit DBGB isn't perfect but i like a lot of things there...here's my review from a few days ago:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787695

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                  DBGB
                  299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

          3. It's a lot easier to give recommendations if you can specify a price per person that doesn't include tax, tip, or beverages. $50pp? More? Less?

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            Bar Boulud
            1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

            Takashi
            456 Hudson St, New York, NY 10011

            1 Reply
            1. re: kathryn

              We are coming from Orange County (home of amazing Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean), but spend a lot of time in Los Angeles. We are probably looking for most of the time less than $50, but will go to at least one nice place for higher end dining. These choices so far sound great.

            2. Easily accessible for the UWS and it could be a fun thing for teens -- I'd recommend Zoma, an Ethiopian restaurant. The Frederick Douglas Blvd area of Harlem has really revitalized recently. (I'm not familiar with your area of CA so I don't know if Ethiopian is something that's common for you ... or not.)

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              Zoma
              2084 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

              2 Replies
              1. re: LNG212

                Another really interesting restaurant in Harlem is Red Rooster. And I'll bet the bartender would make some delicious virgin cocktails for the teenagers to go with the unique food.

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                Red Rooster
                310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

                1. re: LNG212

                  Zoma is better than any Ethiopian restaurant I've been to in L.A. but I'm not sure if it's worth a meal when the trip is so short. Red Rooster probably is though - I haven't been but I definitely can't think of an equivalent in L.A.

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                  Zoma
                  2084 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

                  Red Rooster
                  310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027