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Feedback on researched family NY visit appreciated

I always value my fellow chowhounds feedback and leave reports for futures after.

We are arriving in NY around 6 pm Thursday in mid-Oct. for a Thursday-Sunday visit. We are staying at the Carlton and while our usual plan would be for pizza Thursday I am worried about the "no reservation" policies with a 11, 9, and 4 yo and a husband on a cane with limited mobility after a catastrophic knee event.

Thus we thought it may be best to eat on site at Millesime and retire to hotel room for a movie.

Friday we plan to do a visit to the Metro Museum (we have been reading "Mixed up Files"), with late breakfast or early lunch (Shalazeh? Lukes Lobster?) in the area. A visit to the "Towers Memorial" is also important. We have early reservations for the family at Gramercy (we were going to do a intimate no kids dinner but EMP is closed for private event).

Saturday AM we were thinking of brunch at Lamb's Club before our 2 pm matinee of Wicked. Then we were thinking of grabbing a cab and hitting Keste for our NY pizza fix around 4 pm before returning to the Carlton and preparing for the early am trip back home.

Kids are very well traveled and well behaved at most venues (wouldn't do Le Louis, Per Se or French Laundry) but are great/comfortable elsewhere....

Any feedback would be, as always, appreciated! h

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  1. Thursday night, make a reservation at Forcella on Park Avenue South. They also do delivery using Seamless.com.

    It would also be good to scope out who else delivers or does take out near your hotel. You're not too far from Curry Hill, Blue Smoke, Shake Shack, Eataly, etc. It may also work for you to grab takeout from Eataly's rotisserie, salumi, antipasti, and cheese sections for an in room picnic.

    For the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which most people simply call "the Met"), the walk from Luke's looks short on a map but keep in mind that the blocks are hilly, unlike the rest of Manhattan. So your husband may be going uphill with his cane to get to the museum.

    For the 9/11 Memorial, it is pretty far from the Met. Do keep in mind it is a construction site and he may have trouble getting around. When I last went, it was a bit of a maze to actually enter (because of all the construction, we did things like having to make three lefts instead of a right.) Don't forget to get the free online tickets beforehand. And the only exit from the 9/11 Memorial was on Albany and the West Side Highway, across from the Marriott (which has tons of signs stating there are no bathrooms -- there are also no bathrooms at the Memorial). This may help:

    There's also no good dining options immediately around there and the bridge to get across the west side highway has the elevators out of operation when I tried to use them a few months ago.

    BTW, Sarabeth's by your hotel is well known for their breakfast/brunch. (I haven't done it at that particular branch.) I've also done Penelope, a short walk away.

    4 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Well said, kathryn.

      There is a Shake Shack on Murray (across from the WFC):


      Provided there are no accessibility issues, might work for an early lunch on Friday after the Met (uptown) and before 911 (Financial District/Lower Manhattan).

      The FREE NN shuttle bus does a loop of Lower Manhattan.

      1. re: kathryn

        That branch of Sarabeth's is OK, not great, for breakfast/brunch -- but I think Sarabeth's in general is overrated and more popular than it should be.

        1. re: City Kid

          Have another option for sit down breakfast near 29th & Park? Given the knee/cane situation, that's probably the closest.

          1. re: kathryn

            Penelope on Lexington & 30th would be perfect. It's a couple of steps up to the dining area.
            I am sure if you tell them there is an issue with standing too long they will take care of you quickly. Very nice people. We get there before 9 and never have a wait. There is a bench outside if you have to wait a few minutes.

      2. "Saturday AM we were thinking of brunch at Lamb's Club "

        Eh. Better option is Breslin on the away from your hotel to the theater.

        1. Near your hotel Madison Square eats will be open daily 11am-9pm, vendor recap here:
          Would be a good choice for a snack or to pickup dessert one night.

          1. Thank you Kathryn, We now have reservations at Forchella Thursday evening....

            As for brunch at Breslin, we love the idea of an April Bl. venue... But they don't take reservations.... Would this be too hard/ie line with a cane and 3 kids? If we got there early, would this be mitigated?

            The Eataly tip is a great reminder and we are thrilled one is coming to us in the Midwest almost immediately. Before kids, we spent one of the best weeks in our lives touring with Lidia in Italy. We have great fondness for her B. family and can't wait to check this out!

            Also, if we do pizza on Thursday at Forchella, any thoughts for Saturday after "Wicked"? Uncle Boons, Kin Shop, Kittichai? Or DB which I believe is in the theatre area......

            Thanks for all the help. h

            3 Replies
            1. re: shoprdoc

              Earlier is definitely better at the Breslin. The waiting area is the bar and it does get a bit crowded. Might be tough to grab a bar stool to sit on during the wait, given the mobility situation.

              Post-matinee, Pure Thai isn't far.

              1. re: kathryn

                Saturday AMs at the Breslin are typically pretty quiet. If you go before noon, the wait will be minimal. Also, your husband could always sit in the chairs and couches in the adjacent hotel lobby for comfort's sake.

                1. re: loratliff

                  Agree with The Breslin, you get there around or before 11:00 and you shouldn't have a problem; get there at 10:00 for a guaranteed easy in (and The Breslin is a great idea).

            2. Thanks for all the help.

              We are still looking for early dinner reservations Saturday night after the theatre matinee.

              Would my family be welcome at Jungsik? Would Pearl and Ash, Betony, Costata or Perla be better options?

              Do any of the above have booths which we prefer when eating with our family? I appreciate it....

              4 Replies
              1. re: shoprdoc

                Try to change your Lamb's Club plans, it just isn't good and I think any "experience" you had there would be a let down.

                How about A Voce Madison? Very close to your hotel (not as a replacement but just in general).

                Not sure about where I'd recommend with booths.

                1. re: shoprdoc

                  What happened to the Thai idea?

                  I can't really imagine a 4 year old at any you've listed.

                  1. re: shoprdoc

                    I'd agree with kathryn in that it'd be difficult to imagine bringing your kids to any of those choices mentioned, especially Perla and Pearl & Ash; they're wonderful restaurants, but definitely very lively, loud and packed on Saturday nights even past 10pm.

                    Jungsik, Betony and Costata are obviously calmer (and more expensive). Curious, does your 4 year old like very refined/upscale cuisine? You may be better off going to more family-friendly restaurants in Gramercy or UWS.

                    1. re: zeeEats

                      The time frame the poster was talking about was early evening, as in pre-6 o'clock early for Saturday night, right?

                      From experience, for the Perla/Pearl and Ash, even the most rollicking popular place can fit a family in nicely in the early evening, it's usually surprisingly peaceful.

                      For the Jungsik/Betony, might be hard to get rez given it's a Saturday?

                      It might be a good time to also check out Breslin if you haven't already.

                  2. We like Vezzo for pizza. A short walk from your hotel. They may take reservations but if you get there early it should not be a problem. Otherwise, Motorino or John's On Bleecker if you get there early.

                    1. Thanks to all for the information. It gives me much to think about.

                      Yes, our 4 yo is used to fine dining - he has been a stellar world traveler from age 1.

                      I will report back on our experiences.

                      Thanks again!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: shoprdoc

                        Very lucky kid. I hope you enjoy your experiences, whatever you choose!

                      2. How about Tolouche after Wicked? Around the corner and they take reservations.( May be important on Sat) Great drinks and very good Mexican ( for NY). Skip Lambs clu

                        1 Reply
                        1. I do understand the temptation to fill your schedule with high-end restaurants but, as you're coming from the midwest, why not take advantage of our great ethnic restaurants? We had friends in, visited many well-known, high-end restaurants with them but the meal that stands out for them was the combo platter with white and hot at halal guys.

                          What about katz (or carnegie) deli? Carnegie is not that far from the Gershwin though I think your kids might enjoy katz more. And when they're old enough to see When Harry met Sally, you can remind them they ate there.

                          how about great Chinese food from Henan? (search here for spicy village), there's a great hunan restaurant a short walk from your hotel (search here for hunan) or dim sum is always a favorite with my family. Korean in ktown? thai is close to wicked and has already been recommended, ramen is popping up all over the city.

                          I hope you'll try one or two of these suggestions but in any case, enjoy your trip, I'm sure it will be great.

                          1. Thank you to everyone for all the input. We used it with gratitude as we had several "best laid plans of men and mice" moments.

                            Our plane was delayed but we made it in time for our Forchella Park ave. reservations. Highlights were burratta with prosciutto, Chicken Alfredo (my picky 9 yo) and the Decumanini pizza with mozz/arugula/truffle oil. The Porta Capuana pizza with burrata/arugula/prosciutto was excellent but crust soggy. My daughter's baked calzone was room temperature at best. The décor and vibe was energetic but we had a strange service experience. We ordered a Barolo and the waitress brought out 2 dripping (truly) wet wine glasses and while we looked at them dismayed, another server grabbed them and brought back two clean, dry glasses. After our app, our plates were cleared and clean plates delivered. Then before we got our pizzas, the CLEAN plates were cleared and our pizzas were delivered. After we sat without plates for a bit, new plates were again delivered. Is it a NY thing? I am afraid to ask but the pizzas were not cut and we didn't get a utensil to do so. We used our forks and knifes to cut pieces.... Service seemed very unorganized to us. We enjoyed ourselves but would try another pizza place next visit.

                            Secondary to logistics, we went to Gramercy Tavern for lunch and it was wonderful. Our children loved the non-alcoholic drink choices. My picky 9 yo had Smoked Duck Fazzoletti and shared lamb with my husband. He was happy. My lobster app. and fish were perfectly prepared. However my daughter's Grilled Carrots with Quinoa, Pistachio and Crement Cheese stole the show. It was fabulous. As was the Chocolate Express Semifreddo with Hazelnuts.... Service was accommodating and gracious to our family.

                            For a quick dinner as the kids were tired after chasing down the "Mixed up Files Bed" at the Met and wanted to watch a rented movie, we snuck out to A Voce which was just a block from the hotel. Mr. and I ate at the bar and had a wonderful homemade Tagliatelle with fresh Alba white truffle and squash stuffed Ravioli which should not be missed. Great bartender. Perfect for our situation.

                            We never made it to brunch as our breakfast was included at hotel. Breslin will be on our short list next visit.

                            We had early lunch at Toloache before Wicked. Highlights were the Mezcalita drinks, Suadero brisket and Costilla Short Rib tacos. The guacamole trio was perfect while we waited for our food. We had a lovely waitress but kitchen was slow which was fine for us but did hear a lot of complaining from adjacent tables. The location was perfect for us.

                            We finished at Jungsik and are we glad we did. I was worried as our 4 yo (who I thought might nap thru Wicked but was enthralled by the production) fell asleep on the cab ride there. He slept through dinner curled up on one of their cozy chairs and woke up in time for dessert - the Peach Fro-Yo. The rest of our family had an amazing dinner. The service was initially a bit apprehensive seeing our table (11, 9, and sleeping 4 yo) but rose to the occasion after seeing our family polish off our Amuse Bouche of mussels, eels, Korean chicken bites. We tried Sea Urchin, Truffle Bulgogi, Red Snapper, Thai Lobster, Jungsik Steak, Smoked Pork Jowl, Galbi (loved the ability to mix large/small plates) and all the desserts. They were all phenomenal and our kids tried everything but urchin. We agreed that the Truffle Bulgogi and the Jungsik steak were incredibly crazy yummy. In fact we laughed that my 9 yo auctioned his last piece of steak off (funny idea for a kid- guess he will be the next entrepreneur of the family) and when he got us to 38$, he said, "NO way and ate the last bite"! Service was attentive and appreciative. When as we were leaving, my 11 yo daughter sent her regards to the chef and proclaimed our dinner was worthy of 4 Michelin stars! I can't encourage everyone to get there and quickly..... It should be very busy!

                            We had a great trip to NYC. Our 4 yo told us when we got home, he is going to miss "that world".

                            Thanks to all for the recommendations and the NY hospitality which I believe is underrated by us Midwesterners. h

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: shoprdoc

                              >Our 4 yo told us when we got home, he is going to miss "that world".

                              Hey, now it's his world too. Great report—thanks.