Downtown Brooklyn, four nights with a 3 year old...
We are staying at the Aloft for four nights with our 3 year old. We are pretty serious CHers, tend toward fine dining but also very adventurous and interested in local/off the beaten path places when we travel. Our son is extremely well behaved, but not quite as adventurous and is most pleased by pizza, ravioli and lasagna in this context. He can certainly venture into the typical “kids menu” options, but Italian is his thing. We are very sensitive to the child issue so always try to eat early, get in and get out, etc.
I have done due diligence searching downtown Brooklyn on CH, and if it were just my wife and I we would be all set, but now getting fish tacos from the Loading Dock or a Gyro from Souvlaki House just isn’t in the cards.
So, with that limited information, I have two questions:
1. We are arriving this Tuesday (5/21) from Boston, in the 6 p.m. range. That first night we just want to check in and then know exactly where we are going. It seems the Italian angle would be most satisfied by Queen, but is it an appropriate place for a 3 year old? We will have been driving for some time, tired, not put together at all, and I’m not sure it is the right place in these circumstances. If not Queen, any suggestions?
2. We are not limited to Italian, just a place suitable to sit with a child and that has child offerings. Given we will be in the area for four nights, any suggestions generally on where to go for a (relatively quick) quality lunch or dinner with a 3 year old? It is hard to tell from the many postings I have read what fits that bill.
Thanks so much.
Queen is a fairly nice white-table cloth red sauce joint, though you don't necessarily need to be dressed up. I happen to love their food, and around 6pm it will be a fairly elderly/quiet crowd. You can also check out Franny's which just re-opened in a new space, about the same walking distance as Queen but in the opposite direction. They have a few solid pasta dishes, but pizza is the reason to go there ( they've got a fantastic clam pie) and it's much more casual. Queen is probably your best choice IMO within a 10 minute walk for pastas and other Italian dishes, though if you're willing to walk an extra 10 minutes I'd recommend Fragole as it's more casual, though cash-only.
Your second question is a bit loaded, as there's a ton of choices. I'd also say you should consider Manhattan as there's substantially more options, at least for dinners if you can't make it in for lunches. But these are my picks within about a 15 minute walk of your hotel:
Mile End (Jewish-ish deli type food)
Sottocasa (my favorite pizzeria)
Hibino (best sushi and interesting Japanese dishes)
Chez Moi (French)
Ganso (fantastic ramen and the closest to your hotel)
If you have time for a longer walk, I'd check out Brooklyn Farmacy in Carroll Gardens for lunch, it's modeled after an old-time soda parlor and makes excellent egg creams and ice cream sundaes.
Two8Two Burger has a nice backyard for outdoor eating, and a great draft selection.
There's also plenty of Middle Eastern options (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/883842) if the little one is OK with that.
fishermb's list is pretty comprehensive. Queen is fine with your 3 yr old if you go on the early side, before 8:00. Took our guys when they were little all the time. They loved to eat the clams casino at that age.
I see toddlers all the time at Ganso so you should be good there too.
Mile end seating is tough with a small guy. Its really tight in there. Stools and benches for most of the seating.
Saw a bunch of kids in high chairs at Colonie this past weekend at brunch. Its a bit trendier type place and I wouldn't go at night, but brunch would be a good choice as long as you get there early enough so you don't have to wait for a table. I think they have some of the best food in the area.
Just a note that Loading Dock closed a couple of years ago.
Ganso is great with kids -- our nearly 2-year old loves it. (And they do half-sized ramens for wee ones.)
Atlantic Chip Shop and Waterfront Bar & Grill have good food and good drink. (Waterfront has a popcorn machine.)
Agree with bkeats that Mile End if difficult -- the seating is cramped.
Nearly all places in this neck of the woods are kid-friendly (in other words, tolerate kids -- don't expect to find too many kids menus) -- you'll find missing "the rush" will make the experience easier.
110% for Queen!
I have a 3 and 7 yr old and live in DUMBO. We go to Queen all the time. They are great with kids and the food is top-notch, particularly the house-made mozz as well as the ravioli.
For lunch, you are within striking distance of Shake Shack at Fulton Mall.
I also highly rec. Noodle Pudding in Brooklyn Heights. Another one of our faves. Not old-school stiff like Queen, rather very casual and congenial. Excellent Italian food and an upbeat, chummy atmosphere. Also int he heights is Jack The Horse which a terrific upscale tavern -- great mac and cheese as well as burger and daily special pizza for your son; lots for you two as well.
In Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens, you will strike gold at Buttermilk Channel which is upscale comfort food with a kid's menu to boot. There is also a solid newish burger joint that is quite appealing called MooBurger. And Buschenschank which is sort of an Austrian/German/American hybrid that smartly leveraged its excellent takeout-only next door neighbor, South Brooklyn Pizzeria, by offering pizza for the kids. Bocca Lupo gets much love from kids, too, and is perfect for lunch.
In Boerum Hill, check out Bond & Pacific for lunch (or dinner). Very unique. Just a sweet, sun-soaked, cool vibe with great casual food (salads and sandwiches, mostly).
Over in Fort Greene, you can hit Walter's for excellent American (great seafood and steaks, super cool vibe) and Dino for very good Italian in laid back digs.
Plus one for Pharmacy, too!