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Seeking Restaurants with Safe and Adventurous AND a pre-show dinner near Al Hirshfield Theater

75yo very active Mom and I are each celebrating big birthdays on a long weekend in NYC. Mom is a conservative midwestern eater (nothing spicy) with the usual older person's small appetite. I will eat pretty much anything, love new cuisines, like the unusual, love ethnic (live in the Mountain States, so don't get much ethnic here).

I've recognized that we won't be having Indian, dim sum, thai, etc, but am trying to accommodate both mom and my foodie inner self. She would go ethnic to please me, but sit with a sad face and pick at her food. I'm thinking places with small plates could be good; we can order a collection, so even if she doesn't eat some dishes, she'll eat others, and I can eat more while she eats less. Italian (northern is my preference) is a possibility; not adventurous, but I could get dishes that I don't usually see outside of Italy.

Ideas I've had - tapas (Txikito or Tertulia). There are some straightforward dishes, despite the Spanish/Basque names, and I would love it. The bar at the Modern? Does it get horribly crowded due to no reservations? Esca, though it might be too weird for her. Turkish (Beyoglu)? Some dishes are kind of plain. Wine bars might be a possibility, as other places where we could order a number of small plates.

And I'm also seeking places either close to the Al Hirschfield theater or Murray Hill (where our hotel is). Marseille looks good, but we're already eating French on our celebration dinner night (Picholine). Maybe Esca on theater night?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. The Bar Room at the Modern does take reservations. The Bar Room encompasses the actual bar, a banquette with tables, a lounge area, and free standing tables. If you make a reservation, you will have a free standing table. The only issue is that it can get a little loud. They are on OpenTable:
    http://www.opentable.com/the-modern-b...

    1. Spanish tapas could be a great option for one of your meals here- most menus will include spanish tortilla (egg, potato), garlic shrimp, toasted bread with tomato, and ham croquetas-as well as some much more "adventurous" items for you.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ttrockwood

        My only concern would be getting to the show on time if they chose Tertulia since Tertulia doesn't take reservations.

        1. re: kathryn

          Sorry if it wasn't clear but i was suggesting for another meal while they were visting, not the evening pre-theater.....

        1. Thank you all - good to hear about the Bar Room, because I really like their menu.

          Mom agreed to Txikito, with both of us agreeing that she's being a good sport to my sake, though I think she'll find that she likes it just fine - and so will I (I love morcilla; she gagged when I told her what it is. She also made a "humph" when I mentioned anchovies.)

          Let me know if you think of any other cuisines and/or restaurants that might have foods that Mom would like, plus dishes I'm unlike to get on a daily basis.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Lexma90

            Good for adventurous AND non-adventurous eaters:
            Craft / Colicchio & Sons / Riverpark etc. or Blue HIll
            Hearth
            Blue Ribbon Bakery or Brasserie
            ABC Kitchen
            Hill Country BBQ or Blue Smoke
            Westville or Northern Spy Co.
            The Redhead
            Motorino or Otto?

            Another option is something like Smorgasbar, Smorgasburg, Madison Sq Eats, Hester St Fair, because you each can get whatever you want from different vendors.

            1. re: kathryn

              Agree on Colicchio & Sons, Blue Hill, Hearth. The dining rooms tend to be a little calmer or just sophisticated in general, likely suitable for your mother. Especially Blue Hill, very cozy and comfortable - though I've found some lapses in service as of late. C&S always delivers impeccable service.

              Blue Ribbon restaurants, while good, can be very crowded during prime hours. ABC Kitchen is the same, while it's definitely one of my favorite places in the city. Hill Country has communal seating, and I honestly think Westville, Motorino and Northern Spy are too casual - unless that's what you're after. The clam pizza at Motorino is amazing though.

              1. re: zeeEats

                Not all seating at Hill Country is communal, and you can reservation on OpenTable.

            2. re: Lexma90

              Please be sure to make a reservation at txikito, they can get very busy. Your mother would potentially like the croquetas (mashed potato and ham croquettes), the rusa salad (similar to a potato salad), their bocta sandwich, and/or the garlic shrimp (they come head on if that's an issue though)