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Staying around 28th and Park - what's close?

We have a four day trip coming up with two school age kids. So far after looking around the boards I've booked Trecolori for pre theatre, Otto for another night and Nomad (not NoMad) too. I'm not fully confident about these choices but figure its a good start.

Now I'm looking for something that is actually close to the hotel, preferably not Italian (I already have 2) nor most Asian (we have tons of great Asian here on the Westcoast). Maybe bistro? We're not looking for super high end, but are open to pretty much anything else that involves parents relaxing with a drink after a day of sightseeing.

I think our lunches will be pretty spontaneous and not a focus of the day (I say that now) but I wonder if we do decide to go to Katz's or Russ & Daughters, will there be huge line ups? Actually, family is pretty line-up averse so does put Shake Shack out of the question too?

Thanks for any help.

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  1. Millesime
    The Cannibal
    Blue Smoke
    The Breslin

    You can get better burgers at 5 Napkin, pastrami at Sarge's and smoked fish at Barney Greengrass without any lines.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Riverman500

      No offense Riverman but I have to disagree with a few of your choices. I don't think two school aged children would really enjoy the Cannibal or Millisime and I don't think the clientle would really enjoy them that much either. I go to Cannibal quite frequently and have yet to see anyone below age inside. However Sarge's for pastrami is an excellent choice right nearby and Blue Smoke is a great choice as well.

      If you're looking for pizza your area has Vezzo which is great thin crust pizza with sidewalk seating and pretty good lunch specials. Another place to get a nice breakfast or sit down lunch without breaking the bank nearby is Penelope. Hope this helps!

      1. re: roze

        I've seen kids at Cannibal and Millesime, but whatever... it's all good. I haven't heard of Vezzo but will put it on my list based on your rec.

        1. re: Riverman500

          It's super thin crust- like a cracker. There a few outposts with different names around town but same pizza- Posto, Gruppo & Spunto are a few.

        2. re: roze

          I too think Millsime is a great place for a family. I don't see why not.

        3. re: Riverman500

          Not sure what days the OP is here, but just a note that Barney Greengrass is closed Mondays. Great atmosphere, too. It's like a time warp in there.

        4. Check out Riverpark. They have a cafe menu (cheaper) in addition to their regular dinner menu.


          Also close enough, imho, is Wild Edibles Restaurant for fresh seafood.


            1. Artisinal
              2nd Ave Deli
              Penelope for breafast - go early to avoid lines

              1. I think Artisanal would be fun/enjoyable for all of you.

                1. Since you are staying nearby, you have the advantage of popping out to Shake Shack and bringing your food back to the hotel if the weather is nasty. Or if the weather is nice, you can go early, like at 11:30am. Check the Shack Cam on their site for how long the line is.

                  The lines at Katz's and R&D are usually not too bad although R&D's are worse on the weekend mornings when everybody wants a bagel and smoked salmon for brunch.

                  What days are you here?

                  Food trucks that park nearby (best for lunch, they close up at the end of the day, check individual schedules as they change quite frequently):
                  Calexico Cart - 24th and Broadway, daily
                  Cool Haus - 25th and Park, used to be Fridays, now they are switching it up I think
                  Domo Taco - Mondays at 23rd and Park
                  Luke's Lobster - occasionally at 23rd and Park
                  Bian Dang - Tuesdays at 24th and Park

                  I'm probably missing some trucks, but that should be a good start.

                  There's also a new Filipino bakery, Pan de Sal, that I have yet to try. 21st St (At 2nd Ave).

                  Parents relaxing with a drink after a day of sightseeing = the Library at the NoMad to me. Maybe the bar at Eleven Madison Park, dependent upon how you're dressed. I work in the neighborhood.

                  For a more boisterous French restaurant, Artisanal, maybe?

                  For a good spontaneous lunch, try Lamazou or Defonte's for a sandwich.

                  You could also do takeout from Eataly and it in the park if you don't think it's too much Italian.

                  If you do decide you want some Asian, there's Baoguette and Roomali (as well as all of the rest of the Curry Hill restaurants). For Indian in Curry Hill, I also like Tiffin Wallah, Chennai Garden, and Dhaba. Try also a kati roll from one of the places in the neighborhood for something different. If you are into cooking, stop into Kalustyan's, one of the most well-stocked spice stores (and more) in town.

                  For deli, I like Sarge's a lot but I think the matzoh balls and chicken in a pot at 2nd Avenue Deli (which is now at 33rd and 3rd) are better (it is, however, much more expensive due to being kosher). Sarge's also delivers 24/7 whereas 2nd Avenue closes at midnight. Both Sarge's and 2nd Ave Deli would probably be good for breakfast, too (though not 2nd Ave Deli if you require bacon).

                  For breakfast a short walk or cab ride away:

                  Maialino - 21st and Lexington
                  The Breslin, in the very hip Ace Hotel - 29th and Broadway. (If you go look up at the walls and ceiling. When the Ace moved into the the landmarked 1904 Breslin Hotel, they were not allowed to modify the existing walls. If you look carefully, you can see that the lobby is actually a set. See also: Stumptown Coffee adjacent.)
                  Penelope - 30th and Lexington

                  You might also want to look into Bistro Lamazou which serves Mediterranean/Moroccan cuisine.

                  Stay away from the bars on 3rd Avenue, they tend to be pretty "fratty." Exceptions: the Waterfront Ale House, or Molly's Shebeen on 23rd and 3rd (for their burger).

                  Baruch College is also nearby so expect the 6 train to be pretty crowded with young people during the before and after school rush.

                  1. Wow, great response, so soon too. Very helpful, I'm googling myself silly trying to figure it all out. The seafood suggestions will work well for us as long as fish 'n chips are available. Artisanal and Wild Edibles look fun too and within slightly picky kid's repetoire. To answer one question, we are there from Thursday evening til Tuesday morning. I think food trucks are brilliant for us for lunches as we will have breakfast at the hotel - are they mostly around on weekends?

                    The family is starting to have input, harumpf, and wonder:
                    1. what they will eat at 8 pm on a thursday after a jarring day of travel, that is comfortable, brainless (and serves wine...).
                    2. should we ditch Trecolori pretheatre in favour of something not Italian so that we can eat more pizza in spontaneous ways the rest of the time. If so, what? We're seeing Peter and the Starcatchers.
                    3. they were very intrigued by the idea of fun Indian snacks and wonder how much they can eat while I buy spices....

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: waver

                      The food trucks in that neighborhood will be there mostly on weekdays, due to the large number of offices in the area.

                      1. re: waver

                        The answer to question #1 is Blue Smoke. Decent BBQ in walking distance and it doesnt matter how loud you guys get and you can eat with your hands.

                        1. re: princeofpork3

                          +1 on Blue Smoke. I am also a big fan of their cocktails, a couple of those after a day of travel with kids may be very very necessary :)

                        2. re: waver

                          Curry Hill was a great suggestion. Snacks to be had at Kalustyan's and all around while you shop. The buffet lunches at many of the surrounding Indian restaurants are a great deal and pretty much guaranteed to please the kids as well as the adults. For a fancier dinner, I agree that Riverpark is an excellent choice.

                          1. re: City Kid

                            Yeah. To the original poster: Set the kids up on the 2nd floor with some mujadara while you shop.

                        3. Definitely go to Katz's the line is never very long and once you get in the door the lines at the counter are short. For a true NY experience do NOT get the waiter service. The place is huge and you'll be able to find a table. Read the CH reviews for suggestions on ordering.
                          Penelope for breakfast. If there is a line it will move quickly. Sit at the counter if there are 4 seats together.
                          Also, there is a very good thin slice pizza place on Lex called Vezzo.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Motosport

                            Disagree on Vezzo. Jar sauce on a cracker. Just not a good example of good NY pizza. The salads are good.

                            1. re: princeofpork3

                              Les Halles is right there on 29th - I like this location very much.

                          2. We have stayed in this location alot visiting the kids and on the first night or last morning we go to Les Halles on Park- they do breakfast, lunch and dinner and know how to hustle even if it's busy. Love Penelope on 34th but lines are ridiculous for Sunday brunch. We have had good barbeque and jazz at Blue Smoke. If you get off to an early start Mario Batalli's Eatily is fun and a great place for pizza or you can get in line across the street at Shake Shack.if you really can't do Italian more than twice. Also second 2nd Ave Deli- across the street from Cask Bar and Kitchen- on 33rd. Cask is our favorite bar and would work with kids. We used to love the Waterfront Ale House for brunch but have heard it has gone downhill, especially in the cheeseburger dept. The new Riverpark is pricey but has fabulous river views and does a brunch with a selection of mocktails.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Berheenia

                              Completely agree with Cask. Great food, kid friendly. Get the crabcake or lamb burger.
                              Waterfront has gone downhill across the board.

                            2. We love I Trulli on East 27th -- next door to Blue Smoke. Nice place for the parents to relax, and the kids will love the pasta. Food is great.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ChefJune

                                Discovered Calexico by chance while in NY this past week (had never read or heard anything about it), really good and highly recommended for a lunch. Had the Pollo Verde and the Chipotle Pork tacos.