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Mar 29, 2012 08:59 PM

Elderly parents - dinner recs?

My dear, sweet, elderly parents will be coming to town for one weekend this summer and already are worrying over where to eat dinner on a Saturday evening…mom, in her prime, was an excellent cook but these days has to avoid spicy/oily/carb-heavy preparations yet still wants to enjoy her meals so looks for “very fresh” and “simply prepared” to meet her needs. Can anybody recommend a casual restaurant that might fit this description? 9th Avenue in the 40s-50s would be good location-wise but they can go elsewhere. Many thanks.

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  1. It would be helpful to know your parents' budget, i.e. per person for food only. That said, I would suggest Oceana, on the corner of 6th Av. & 49th St. High quality fish and seafood which can be simply prepared + delicious vegetable sides. Excellent service and very pleasant ambiance. There is also a nice terrace for summertime al fresco dining.

    4 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Oceana is good. If that is too "fancy" then maybe try Blue Fin. It's not as good as Oceana, but it is casual and pretty simple.

      1. re: foodwhisperer

        One can dress casually at Oceana, so in that respect, it is not "fancy"; however, it is not inexpensive.

        1. re: foodwhisperer

          IMO blue Fin would be a disaster. The parents wouldn't be able to hear anything. You need a restaurant which isn't too noisy. Oceana would be good if it isn't too pricey.

          1. re: JC2

            Blue Fin also would be a disaster because it's not very good!! (In fairness, it's not disastrous bad, but it's certainly not a destination restaurant.)

      2. You're right, Oceana would be great -- menu, casual ambiance, and location all fit nicely -- but I think they'll find it too pricy. They don't drink alcohol anymore so that's one savings but, still, I think they'll want to be someplace where the main courses top out in the $twenties instead of the $thirties. While fish/seafood is the first thing that popped into my mind, as well, it needn't be seafood if that's going to be too $$$$...even grilled chicken with a salad or fresh vegetable sides would do as long as the restaurant is pleasant (ie, not noisy, not dim). Tough to get older and have so many dietary problems! If anyone has other ideas, would appreciate hearing. Thank you so much.

        4 Replies
        1. re: muffintoo

          How about Kellari Taverna? They do a great job with grilled fish, their Greek salad is fresh and delicious, and they have a nice selection of vegetable sides. Good service; pleasant, casual ambiance; and prices that are more moderate than Oceana's.

          1. re: RGR

            Looks good. I'll suggest that to them. Thanks.

          2. re: muffintoo

            La Bonne Soupe might work, though it can get noisy.

            I've heard good things about Pigalle and Marseille though I haven't tried them yet.

            1. re: peter j

              A lot of the dishes at Marseille may have too much of a 'kick of heat' for them.

          3. Some of the UWS places may suit them: Ouest (too loud?); Telepan; Dovetail.

            (I know what you mean about moms worrying about dinner two months in advance.)

            2 Replies
            1. re: thegforceny

              Haven't been to Ouest, but we had dinner at Dovetail recently. It had been two years since our first dinner there, and I was surprised at how noisy it was as I hadn't remembered that from the first time. Another more important difference: I found the food quite disappointing this time, and it isn't as "plain" as I think muffintoo's mom would like. ,

              I wasn't particularly bowled over by the food at Telepan when we had dinner there several, but I did love the ambiance, i.e., elegant and quiet, which would definitely suit the parents. If the menu appeals to them, and their fine with the prices, it would be a good choice.


              1. re: RGR

                Thanks again, everyone, for thinking through this. Really appreciate it. Just wanted to say that my parents, actually, aren't looking for "elegant" as they feel they get quite enough of that in the retirement community they live in. When they travel -- something that they are able to do less and less these days -- a huge draw for them is the prospect of dining out (maybe 'eating' out' would be a better term?) in what they would call "real" places which I think means "neighborhood" restaurants where there is a mix of age groups, style of dress (and of snipits of conversation...Dad's a discrete but exceedingly keen observer of human dynamics…it’s all fodder for his funny stories). With mom's dietary problems, though, eating 'where the locals eat' has gotten harder to do as it puts so many cooking styles off limits. I suppose if they could find a "good" neighborhood restaurant that would leave off the browned butter, the cumin, the sodium-laced reductions, and so forth -- at least from her meal – they’d both be thrilled. (Meanwhile, I have bookmarked every single suggestion you all have given for some food prowling with one of my teens next time we are in the city…he’s been in heaven looking over some of the menus.).

            2. I have a family member with a similar issue (no dairy, no gluten, no oil, only simply prepared foods). We usually find a place that fits the needs of the rest of the group and then ask the kitchen to prepare something simple, off-menu. Usually steamed fish and vegetables, no oil, no butter, minimal spicing and salt. Never had a kitchen say no.