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Undecided between Prune, The Dutch and Otto; Koreatown Question and Market Question

Is it too late at this point to even try for a table for an upcoming weekend night at Prune? We are two adults and a 9 y.o. Will we get the stinkeye for bringing a 9 y.o. in there who can't eat/drink as much as an adult in that seat? Behavior not a problem. If so, undecided between The Dutch and Otto. Heard Otto is family friendly, but is it good enough for one of the only 4 dinners we have in NYC? We live in a suburban culinary wasteland (relatively) and are looking for a 4 day food splurge. Second, we plan to do the tourist thing for DS and go up the ESB for the view. Looking to eat at Madangsui around 7pm on a weeknight. Will we need a reservation, or be able to walk in with a little wait? And, is it within walking distance of the ESB? FInally, we only have time for one, Chelsea Market or Union Square Greenmarket (it will be a Fri.). We'd like to eat lunch, graze, and also load up our cooler. Which one? Thank you.

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  1. Considering portions at Prune aren't exactly large, they shouldn't care. The question is more if they serve food your kid likes. If in doubt, dining earlier and beating the prime rush is best. I'd say there are better choices than Prune or Otto in all honesty. Was there something on the Prune menu that made you gravitate towards it?

    Union Square Market doesn't really have prepared foods, it's a seasonal market (not counting cookies, and apple cider). Chelsea Market has a produce store, but it's mainly prepared foods, snack items, gifts, and imports stop. Both options have a meat and fish vendors. It really depends on what your needs are.

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    Union Square Greenmarket
    Broadway and E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

    Otto
    1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

    Prune
    54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

    2 Replies
    1. re: sugartoof

      You can eat a full meal at Chelsea Market at the Lobster Place, the Green Table, Friedman's, Ronnybrook. I saw many people doing that this past Friday.

      Also, it's been raining so much that the produce at the Greenmarket may suffer. And/or some vendors won't come in if the weather is truly bad. Even if you are there in the rain, the farmers may leave early!

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

      The Lobster Place
      252 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

      Ronnybrook Milk Bar
      75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

      Friedman's Lunch
      75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

      1. re: kathryn

        Right, to be clear, you would have a hard time eating in the Union Square market, it's a shopping only thing. Good meals to be had nearby though.

    2. those three places (Prune, Otto, and Dutch) are very different...personally i dislike all three, and wouldn't recommend any of them...(though i've only been the Dutch once, so it's a new bad-impression)...

      Tell us a little more about what you want vibe-wise and food-wise and maybe some other suggestions will come...

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      Otto
      1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

      Prune
      54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

      The Dutch
      131 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

      1. The Dutch is more buzzy than Prune and will probably be even harder to get into for dinner. I don't see a big issue with your well-behaved nine year old at Prune. After all, the chef has two kids too.

        I would make a Madangsui reservation just in case.

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

        1. Hi, Thanks for the info. We'll do Chelsea Market (added advantage of being able to walk the HIgh LIne afterward) instead of Greenmarket and will make a reservation at Madangsui. As to Prune, The Dutch or Otto, here is what we are looking for: 1) Downtown (since that's where we'll be that day, - Chelsea or further downtown); 2) somewhere we can make a reservation instead of having to wait in line; 3) busy and loud (due to the aforementioned 9 year old, somewhere either formal or quiet and romantic won't do; his behavior is good but I don't want to feel out of place); 4) interesting, creative food that we won't find in our suburban cookie-cutter town. Places we have liked in the past: Freeman's (just went for drinks, but I loved the atmosphere), Schiller's, Balthazar and Tailor (RIP). Want to try somewhere new this time. Allergic to shellfish; one of us doesn't like Chinese food, anything else is fair game.. Reason I wanted to try Prune is that I just read the chef's book and liked it, but if there are better choices I am totally open. Thanks!!

          5 Replies
          1. re: Kat

            If you liked Freemans, you would probably like Peels, the newer restaurant from the same crew. Very good and they take reservations.

            I think a kid would be more welcome at Prune than The Dutch. The Dutch is more "sceney" and you might get a few looks depending on when you go.

            Otto, while consistent, is not even in the same class as the other two and worth skipping.

            -----
            Peels
            325 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

            1. re: Kat

              I ate at Prune last Fri dinner and there was a 5-yo coloring at the next table, totally no difficulty - but ono ther hand, that's not a 9 yo.

              The restaurant is buzzy and busy and has interesting food (I don't mean weird, just unusual twists on things) and great service. It is tiny, so fitting into a busy loud atmosphere isn't really the thing - though it *is* busy and loud (due to limited soundproofing and use of tile).

              I wouldn't rule out Otto.

              -----
              Prune
              54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

              1. re: Kat

                I think Prune is great, and a good choice. I really enjoy the food there (though it's not for everyone).

                Additionally, you might want to consider adding some of these for lunch/brunch (I'm not sure where you're staying or where you're sightseeing), especially if you can't get in for dinner. If you're interested in The Dutch, you might want to have lunch at his other restaurant, Locanda Verde. Or just have lunch at the Dutch if you're nearby. Maialino is also family friendly, especially for brunch/lunch. As is Perilla.

                If you liked Tailor (like me), you might also like WD-50, but it's pretty pricey, and I'm not sure I've ever seen kids there (but that's probably because it's so pricey and and the food is so out-there).

                You might also want to consider doing RGR's self-guided Lower East Side walking and eating tour:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4933...

                Changes to note. Guss's Pickles has closed. Substitute The Pickle Guys, on Essex St., just off Grand. Also, Economy Candy is at 108 Rivington, not 145.

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

                Perilla
                9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

                Pickle Guys
                49 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

                Prune
                54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

                Economy Candy
                108 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                Locanda Verde
                377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                Maialino
                2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                1. re: kathryn

                  WD-50 is actually a great place for kids, as long as it's an earlier hour. Nine might be a little young, though - hard to say. I know young teens (especially those who dig stuff like Mythbusters, Mr. Wizard, etc) can have a fun time there - Wylie's usually very good about kitchen tours, and if you let the servers know beforehand they might be able to time something where they bring you back when he happens to be prepping a particularly science-y plate, like something with liquid nitrogen or whatnot. Depends how interested your nine-year-old would be in that sort of thing, though.

                  Otto is very much a "family restaurant" - lots of kids there. Probably the safest choice, though also probably the least exciting.

                  I doubt you'd need a rezzie at Madangsui on a weeknight - but never hurts to have one just in case.

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

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

                2. re: Kat

                  Perilla is a great idea. Cookshop is near the Highline and it has some of the same appeal as Prune.

                  -----
                  Perilla
                  9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

                  Cookshop
                  156 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                3. Otto has always been very kid-friendly in my experience, and the gelato is almost guaranteed to please a 9 y.o. while the pizza may not be the best in nyc, it's far from the worst, and the adults in your party will do fine with the vegetable side dishes, appetizer-size pastas and wines by the glass.

                  1. I appreciate all the suggestions and reearched them online. In the end, I made a reservation at Prune for dinner, since I did like the chef's book and really would like to try her food. Am considering Otto for lunch the next day, however. Thanks!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Kat

                      Otto is great for lunch with a 9 year old. Good choice.

                    2. stink eye? ignore it.

                      as long as your kid behaves a little better than most of the adults there is no reason for him not to be there. I was in denver 2 weeks ago, and i took my 6 yr to 3 places people told me were "not kid friendly". he was treated well, because he acted well, and because they didn't get many kids there, they loved his being able to eat in very foodie-modern type places.

                      1. Decided against Madangsui after reading a few posts here on Ma Peche. Made a reservation and looking forward to it since we've been to Ssam and enjoyed it. Kid was not a problem at Ssam, will it be OK to bring him to Ma Peche?

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Kat

                          Oh, I'm surprised you're cancelling your dining plans at Madangsui because of Ma Peche. These are very different types of restaurants. I think Madangsui is still worth a visit. Why not go to both Ma Peche and Madangsui?

                          1. re: Cheeryvisage

                            I agree, Cheeryvisage, and love your posts and pictures.

                            However, if I were left to a hard choice between the two, I would say without a doubt, go for Ma Peche.

                            -----
                            Ma Peche
                            15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                            1. re: j.jessica.lee

                              Thanks, Jessica. :)

                              Yeah, Madangsui isn't as much of a dining destination compared to Ma Peche. I guess it depends on where the OP's from. If she already has access to excellent Korean restaurants at home, there's no point in going to Madangsui. If not and if the OP has room in her schedule for it, I'd say experiencing Korean dining (the numerous free side dishes and "tableside" BBQ, and not to mention Madangsui's solid Soft Tofu Stew) is well worth it.

                              1. re: Cheeryvisage

                                Sadly, we only have 4 days and 4 dinners. Only one day is planned to be in Midtown, so it was a hard choice. We love Korean food, but DH is still talking about our meal at Ssam two years ago on our last family trip to NYC, so I thought he would enjoy Ma Peche. Also, when I saw the crispy pig's head on the menu, that sealed the deal.

                                1. re: Kat

                                  Well, the best laid plans, so they say......Had to cut our trip short by a day and half due to Hurricane Irene. Didn't want to have to drive back to Boston today in the thick of the hurricane, so we left early yesterday. :( Anyway, our first night we had dinner at the Spotted Pig, per DS8's request. We arrived at around 5:45 and surprisingly were seated right away as there were only a few people ahead of us. Started with the crispy pig's ear for me and dozen oysters for DH. Never had pig's ear before, so was eager to try it. The texture of the ear was a bit sticky, hello cartilege!, but the edges and outside were delightfully crunchy and not at all greasy. For mains, had the skirt steak with grilled veg and chili and the arctic char, along with a separate side of shoestring fries. Fries were paper thin with a bit of garlic and rosemary, very addictive. Melon sorbet for a shared dessert had a fresh, natural melon flavor, served with rum on the side. Delicious meal. Afterward, a nice long walk to Whole Foods in Tribeca to stock up on ruisleipa, a Finnish rye bread being made in Long Island. The WF bakery worker said that it hadn't been selling well, so we felt no guilt in buying out the whole lot to bring home and freeze.

                                  Next day, I had made a dinner reservation at Ma Peche, but ended up canceling it as DS and DH were tired and cranky after a long day. Sent them off to rest up at a movie and then we met for dinner. I hate just walking around and picking a place to eat, rarely seems to work out, and this time we were near Times Square, yikes. However, we ended up at Don Giovanni's on 44th near 9th and the pizza was pretty good. A plus, we snagged one of the last outdoor tables and it was a lovely, warm night. Ordered half margherita and half goat cheese, garlic and basil along with sangria. Pizza was good and it was nice to be able to sit outside and relax. Not too expensive, either.

                                  Next day, we decided to leave a day early so had to revamp the plan. Jettisoned Chelsea Market and the High Line (next time) and instead drove to Brighton Beach so DH could stock up on salmon roe. Went to M&I first, which was a ghost town. Tumbleweeds. They had two types, so he bought both and then we chose some hot items and brought them upstairs to eat outside on the terrace. They weren't hot, more like lukewarm, and greasy. Ick. Potato pancake and then spinach, meat and potato knishes. The spinach was the best. The meat knish was greasy and the potato, cold and congealed. Blintzes were better, they were hot and fresh. Cherry blintz was my favorite. Did we order wrong? Don't know. Wondered when we arrived and there were very few people there. Next, moved on to Vintage Foods, which was packed and had a much better selection of salmon roe. Finally, went to Golden Label, which was also packed.

                                  For dinner that night, drove back to Manhattan and, after a quick trip to Economy Candy, had dinner at Prune. So glad that we ate here, it was delicious. Started with the roasted bone marrow for us and the pickled shrimp for DS. The bone marrow is a rare treat and it was buttery and delicious. Had the roasted suckling pig and the swordfish for mains. Loved the vibe and the food. Did not have dessert, but followed dinner with a run around the playground across the street, a quick visit to Russ and Daughters and then gelato at a cafe nearby. Lots of good eating, less time than expected, but that means more to do next time. Thanks!