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seeking two recs: fun (not fancy) anniversary meal downtown AND kid-friendly in Gramercy area

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We'll be visiting from DC the weekend of 11/11, and we have grandparent babysitters for Friday night while we celebrate our 11th anniversary (on 11-11-11!). We're looking for two recommendations:

First, where should the grown-ups dine? It will probably be an early meal, and we'd prefer to stay downtown. We don't want a fancy "event" place--we want great food and a grown-up environment. Great beer selection a plus. We were thinking of Momofuku Ssam, but we don't want to reserve the duck or pork, which means no reservations. What sort of wait would we be looking at on a Friday evening around 6:30? Other ideas? We are open to pretty much all cuisines, and our budget is flexible.

Second, we need a restaurant for the grandparents to take our 6 yo and 3 yo kids. Prefer it to be walkable from Gramercy area (where we're staying). The kids are good in restaurants. Looking for good food and low hassle. Something in the Asian or Mexican or pizza realm would be good. Would Eataly be crazy on a Friday evening around 6? Suggest away!

Thanks!

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

Eataly
200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

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  1. For your anniversary dinner, I highly recommend Ciano. Delicious food, attentive service, and very pleasing ambiance. They are especially known for their excellent wine program. But checking their website, I see that they do have a short list of beers.

    Ciano photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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    Ciano
    45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

    1. You never know for sure, but Ssam at that hour should be perhaps an hour wait, maybe less. It gets worse the later you get, and much worse in prime time, say 8-10pm.

      Another adult option is the Breslin, but the reservation situation is the same.

      I would expect Eataly to be a zoo at that time. For something low-key, Posto Pizza on 2nd at 18th is an option. Via Emelia is nice Italian on 21st near Broadway. Hill Country on 26th is great for kids and surprisingly good Texas bbq.

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      Hill Country
      30 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010

      Posto
      310 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

      Via Emilia
      47 E 21st St, New York, NY 10010

      The Breslin
      20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

      Eataly
      200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

      1. I've done Ssam Bar for two that early on a Friday, and only waited 15-20 minutes. It's usually not too bad as meals there rarely last longer than an hour. (Even if you wanted to reserve the pork, you would have way too much food, I think, it's 6 people minimum.)

        For the Gramercy area, not a lot of good Asian (unless you count the takeout/counter service options of BaoHaus and Rhong Tiam Express) or Mexican. Eataly will be a zoo. I'd do pizza at either Posto or Zero Otto Nove's newish Manhattan location.

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

        Posto
        310 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

        Rhong-Tiam Express
        31 E 21st St, New York, NY 10010

        Eataly
        200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

        Zero Otto Nove
        15 W 21st St, New York, NY 10010

        BaoHaus
        238 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

        1 Reply
        1. re: kathryn

          Thanks very much. We are staying at 21st and broadway, so a few blocks west toward Chelsea would also be fine--does that expand the options at all?

          And any other suggestions beside momofuku? We rarely get to eat out without our kids, so I want to make sure we aren't missing something great....