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NYC Dec 17-20 with a 5 month old....

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Hello NYC CHs!
Call us crazy, but we are coming to the city the doesn't sleep with our not-so-sleepy 5 month old daughter. We are staying at the W in Time Square (got a cheap deal), and are looking for some advice on where we can go for lunches and early dinners with our little one. She will sometimes sit quietly, sometimes not.

I had planned this trip for last Dec, but got pregnant and was sick so it was cancelled. With your help, I had planned a list of the following:
Katz's
 i
Balthazar
Cafe Boulud, The Modern Dining Room or Jean-Georges
Ilili
Chelsea Market Lobster Place
Per Se
Scarpetta
WD-50
Pizza at John's of Bleecker or Motorino

Russ and Daughters
Momofuku
Minetta Tavern
Jean George
The Dutch
La grenouille
Shopsin

Now that baby is in tow, I'm sure most of those places will have to go. Was planning to a walking tour that I found on here that would take us to Katz, Russ and Daughters, Yonah Schimmel's for potato knish and “Belgian Fries.” (Ray’s) for chocolate egg cream. That all still seems doable...

Would the Dutch be an option for lunch or dinner? What about Motorino for pizza, Balthazar for an early dinner or lunch, and can anyone provide any advice/guidance on doing a takeout dinner from Momofuku Noodle Bar? Is Shopsin okay for a stroller?
For most of our dine-in options, I just need to see if a stroller is a big faux-pas...Also do we need reservations at all of these places from now?

Let us know if we are going really astray, or if you have any other advice for us. Hoping we can still enjoy some of the great food you have to offer!

Thanks in advance....

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  1. Most of your list will be ok with an infant as long as she is not screaming.
    Dutch, Balthazar, Motorino, John's, Keste will be ok.
    Ililli is a pretty noisy place that might not be ok with your daughter.
    Try Otto for lunch. It is jam packed at dinner.
    Boulud, Modern and Jean G would not be good. I don't really know the other upscale places.
    Grey Lady for an outstanding Lobster Roll!!!

    1. Many places don't have room for a stroller near the table--can you "wear" your daughter instead?

      Katz's - I think you'll be fine
      Balthazar - it's actually quite kid friendly and they'll give crayons to the older kids, but space is at a premium, you'll probably have to check the stroller
      Cafe Boulud, JG, The Modern - you might be able to do the Bar Room at the Modern, the others, no
      Ilili - never been
      Lobster Place - it'll be a mad house during the holidays but there will also be tons of strollers around, note that this is a retail store and if you purchase food to eat, you do it at a counter with stools or tables outside the store that are first come, first served
      Per Se - I'm thinking no
      Scarpetta - I've only ever seen kids outside or in the front room that is for walk ins
      Wd-50 - I'm voting no
      John's or Motorino - both should be fine but you'll probably need to fold up the stroller, especially since Motorino is so small
      Russ & Daughters - it is a retail store with takeout component, no inside seating anyway, only benches outside
      Momofuku - Noodle Bar or Ssam, you'll be OK if you can wear her, it's noisy inside anyway, you may wait a while for a non-stool seat. I've definitely seen kids there.
      Minetta Tavern - brunch only, you'll probably need to fold up the stroller, it is extremely cramped inside
      The Dutch - maybe lunch or brunch
      Shopsin's - depends where they seat you, I wouldn't guarantee being able to park your stroller near the table and you might get the pseudo booth for two, for example

      6 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        You guys are awesome!!!! Thanks so much!

        1. re: shariberri

          shariberri: In New York we say "You'se guys!!" LOL!!

          1. re: Motosport

            I will work on my NYC speak!

        2. re: kathryn

          I actually think you would probably be okay with a 5 month old (either worn or in a carrier on a chair) at The Dining Room at the Modern if you thought the baby was up for it. The nice thing about that age is they just sleep most of the time anyway (have done the Gramercy Tavern dining room with an infant about that age and it was fine). Danny Meyer places in general are a great option with young kids.

          1. re: bmdaniel

            It really depends on the temperament of the kid in question, doesn't it? OP wrote "She will sometimes sit quietly, sometimes not." So what sgordon says below... you never know.

            1. re: bmdaniel

              My 5 months old doesn't sleep most of the time...yikes.

          2. Regardless if you have a baby that sleeps all the time, or is generally quiet, one has to err on the side of caution and assume every time that THIS is going to be the meal where they're not going to sit quietly. So it's best to plan accordingly.

            Katz's, Balthazar, Ilili, The Dutch, any of the pizza options - all are pretty boisterous, so having a baby wouldn't be much of an issue noise-wise. Russ & Daughters is take-out only, so you should be prepared to eat elsewhere or while you walk. If making a rez at Balthazar, just let them know you have a child beforehand. If it's lunch, there will probably be other kids there, so no big deal. For dinner, you can ask for a table closer to the entrance, or with the shortest walk to the bathroom, that way if there's a sudden crying jag you can be in a more private area (or outside if it's not a diaper issue) very quickly.

            Shopsin's and/or Lobster Place - both in shopping markets, lots of babies around already.

            Momofuku is a little iffy, if only for the stroller issue. Lunch at Ssam Bar isn't terribly busy, though, and the all-duck lunch menu is fabulous. You could probably do lunch at Noodle Bar as well, but Ssam Bar is better IMHO.

            WD-50, Jean-George, Modern Dining Room, La Grenouille, Minetta, Per Se, Scarpetta - I'd scratch, at least for dinner. For lunch, those that serve it would be fine. Well, not Per Se, but the rest of them.

            Cafe Boulud - a better option than Daniel (and better food, IMHO, anyway) - probably would be okay. It's a bit more relaxed in atmosphere than DB's flagship.

            Speaking from experience, for a high-end meal, my brother was in town a couple years ago with his young'n in tow, and we had a lovely meal and service at Aquavit. They put us in a table with quick access to the door and bathrooms, which made things more pleasant for both us and other diners. And they made him a special plate of kid-friendly Swedish meatballs, to boot, though it seemed he preferred his Cheerios regardless.

            4 Replies
            1. re: sgordon

              Agree with the lunch/dinner distinction, but I think also if you are willing to do a 5 or 5:30 dinner, that can work as well.

              1. re: bmdaniel

                Actually meant to add that - as a general rule, when taking a baby to dinner, stick to the 5:00 - 6:00 hour for rezzies. Later than that some restaurants - while they might accomodate - kind of frown on it behind the scenes.

                1. re: sgordon

                  You hit my trick as well - we took our little one out to all but very high end (ie per se) restaurants when he was immobile and portable in an Ergo (or a carrier on a chair) but never later than a 5:30 reservation so we were out of there before the main dinner crowd. We had to give even that practice up for a few years once he became mobile until he learned to have enough sitting stamina.

                  Also, there is a stroller "parking lot" outside the Landmarc in the Time Warner Center if you are looking to fill in a meal.

                  1. re: Bloombee

                    Landmarc is well known for being among the most family/child-friendly restos in town. The food is good, if nothing terribly creative, but a good spot for fams.

            2. I'm usually terrible and following up- so I'll do this while it's fresh. All the advice from you'se guys (see Motosport? I learn fast) was so helpful. Baby got sick prior to our arrival, so we didn't do as much as planned, but we did get to a few spots and all worked out well!!
              We stopped in to the Modern and sat close to the bar around 430- while they were serving only page 1- had some delicious bites and great wine, and although baby fussed a bit- it was absolutely fine! It was loud enough that no one noticed, and baby girl didn't mind at all!

              We did the LES walking tour that someone had posted a while back, and ate at Katz's- which we thought was awesome- got a taste from the counter guy, and really enjoyed our pastrami on rye. Of course- no issue with baby in there. Headed to Russ and Daughters for a takeout smoked salmon on bagel, and on our way to Rays for our egg cream (so strange, but delightful), stopped in at il laboratorio del gelato- not sure if it is new/enjoyed by you'se CHs, but we thought it was great. Loved the earl grey gelato.

              We also made it to Momofuku Ssam bar for a very late/early dinner at 330 (just before closing)- service was great, it was empty and there was no issue with the stroller. Baby slept through lunch until a kitchen staff broke a plate ;)

              Didn't make it to any other places- had breakfast at Brooklyn diner near the hotel which was really not bad...

              Thanks for helping us enjoy our trip....traveling with a 5 month old is a bit insane, but we were thrilled we got to enjoy at least a few good meals!!

              1 Reply
              1. re: shariberri

                Glad to see you'se guys had fun.