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Good restaurant for an awkward dinner

My two divorced parents are visiting me (I live in Brooklyn) on the same weekend. This will be the first time they're interacting with each other in a long time, and they're not particular fond of each other. Can anyone recommend a restaurant that would make this (probably extremely awkward) dinner the best it can be? Needs to be in Brooklyn, nice-ish, not small/sharing plates based, and ideally servers that really know how to guide a table. One is a pretty adventurous eater, the other not so much. help please!

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  1. Maybe Peter Luger. The surly waiters may be a distraction from any bad vibes at the table. Plus, the ensuing meat coma may lull them into happy oblivion, especially if you pay.

    Good luck.

    1. maybe one of the old school italian places in carroll gardens -- marco polo comes to mind? calm atmosphere, not terribly adventurous, but the drinks are strong, the wine list good, which usually helps in tense situations.

      if you're willing to go a bit deeper into the borough, tanoreen in bay ridge and joe's of avenue u could also fit the bill, although tanoreen isn't quite as cozy or calming....i'm guessing atmosphere is as important as food in this instance, not fancy, but not bright, brassy or loud, because no one wants to shout in these instances.

      1 Reply
      1. re: debinqueens

        So funny you should mention an old school Italian in Carroll Gardens because when I saw the subject of this I thought about our own awkward family dinner (hi Dad you have a fully grown grandson you never knew about) and it took place at Casa Rosa on Court Street. Good luck, really.

      2. Henry's End in Brooklyn Heights

        1. I think if you can give a budget and envision whether a quiet place or a more bustling place would be better and how important food quality would likely to be and what neiborhood is convenient, you might get more/better advice here.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jen kalb

            Budget: $40 or under for entrees
            Food just needs to be good, not mind blowing, bustling atmosphere (definitely not quite) but definitely need good service, ideally Fort Greene but surrounding neighborhoods could be ok too.

          2. Maybe Locanda Olii e Vini? Its been quite a while since Ive been there, but the food is tuscan style italian and generally gets good reports. Nice old drugstore space and bustling ambience. Avoid Roman's not good for a parent dinner. Al di La could be very good but you would have to get over to Park Slope and be there at 6 when they opened (no reservations) If this is a weekend I would generally advise an early res for a potentially awkward dinner - to avoid waits and service delays on a busy night.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jen kalb

              Convivium could also work if you are willing to travel in the Park Slope direction, thought I think about it as dark and romantic, its would probably be just fine - its the place we go with guests and for celebrations, with reliably good food and service.

            2. Have you been to Melt in Prospect Heights? We have had several great meals there and it seems like it fits your needs.

              1. thanks jen kalb and Motosport I'll check those out

                1 Reply
                1. re: breadandbutter9

                  Well, I tried. Didn't realize what your price range was.

                2. If its awkward I'd shake it up with the ambiance and go to a gritty ethnic hole in the wall

                  1. How about Jack The Horse in Brooklyn Heights, a pub that serves up some pretty good food? It's informal, and it's pub ambiance is very informal, may help offset some of the possible negative vibes that might arise. Here's a link to their menu:


                    Wherever you end up, good luck. Seems like you're stuck in a thankless situation. Maybe remind your parents that whatever antipathies they have for each other should be set aside so you can all enjoy a nice dinner out.

                    1. I and, am sure some of my fellow hounders, are dying to know how it went. Where did you decide to go? Could you cut the tension with a knife. Was any cutlery or beverages thrown?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jonfbrooklyn

                        A fellow nosey body! I also would like to know.

                        1. re: psnative

                          Ended up going to Blue Ribbon Brooklyn (recommended by someone in another forum) and it was great. Was able to make a reservation, menu had something to suit everyone, waiter was efficient and had a good feel for the mood of table (I'm a former server so I always appreciate that), good ambiance for the situation, including lively enough music and plenty of other diners at sort of a late hour.
                          Thanks to everyone for your recommendations.