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Dec 15, 2013 02:11 PM

Dinner with non-Foodie elderly parents

We are foodies, and are taking out my parents next weekend who are most decidedly non-foodies. Can you make suggestions that will satisfy everyone's palate:

1. Good enough for the foodies to be happy
2. "Simple" appearing menu. The more I have to explain the different foods/preparations to the parents, the more scared they get
3. Price is not a factor
4. They won't eat Asian or Mexican or Sushi. And no buffets.
5. Not really interested in a steak house - but if that's the only option, then I guess that's OK.
6. We don't want to have to wear tie/jacket

I think classic Italian may be OK. But if there's too many dishes with foie gras, truffles, offal etc, then they won't find anything they like. OTOH, I don't want to eat linguine with clam sauce, or overwrought lasagne that I can make better at home.

Thanks in advance:

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  1. Are you looking for something on the Strip or is off the Strip ok? Will you have a car? If off the Strip is ok I would suggest Table 34.
    On the Strip perhaps American Fish at Aria. Pretty straightforward menu.

    1. Where do they live? Where will you be?
      What do _they_ like to eat @ home and @ a restaurant?
      What makes _them_ happy and feeling special?
      Let them be happy and let 'foodies' take a back seat this time. Take them to the place that is the very best at whatever kind of cooking makes them feel appreciated and special.

      Do they like a particular region of American cooking? New England fish/seafood; Mid-western meat and potatoes; Polish or C. European; Irish (stews, salmon etc)

      with more info I bet CHs can help.

      6 Replies
      1. re: kariin

        Good questions:
        Thanks for your questions and suggestions:

        THey live in FLA and we live in Seattle. We're staying at the Four Seasons, and are willing to travel.

        They will eat seafood and meat/potatoes, but no particular regional cuisine. Even though they are somewhat sheltered, they want to step outside of their comfort zone a little bit, and always enjoy our choices (when we are in Seattle). However, them stepping outside of their comfort zone is like taking baby steps. They also want us to enjoy the meal, because they know we enjoy quality food. Again, if descriptions are too complicated, they will freak out. For example I can I explain that pancetta is "like bacon" but they would view that as exotic. However, I know that if they ate pancetta they would like it. So, we would likely order the pancetta "on the side' so they could cautiously try it.

        Any type of simple food elevated, would work. We were going to go to CraftSteak because I think they elevate simple food well, but they are closed when we are going to be there.

        1. re: Thor2011

          Craftsteak was the first restaurant that popped into my mind. it would have been a good choice. One idea, if price is really no object, might be to try the family-style menu at Bartolotta. It's expensive, $150 last time I checked. If you call, I'm sure you can find exactly what's on it. Will your parents be freaked out by sharing a whole fish, for example? But with this kind of menu, your parents will be relieved of listening to a litany of blow-by-blow menu descriptions. And if somethings scares them, they can just skip it -- they won't leave full.

          I haven't tried it myself, but most people I've talked to think it's the best way to sample Bartolotta.

          1. re: Thor2011

            You might try Heritage at The Mirage, if you were going to CraftSteak. I went right after it opened at the end of summer and have been back 3 times since.

            Lovely room, wonderful service, food and nothing too complicated- just great seasonal ingredients and wood-fire cooking.

            Anthony, the Captain is a gem and I've been asking for a table in his section after luckily finding him that first time.


            1. re: Thor2011

              Craftsteak is a good, safe call.
              Consider Sage, perhaps?


              1. re: uhockey

                OP said Craft is closed. Have you been to Heritage?

                1. re: BubblyOne

                  I have not, but I've heard good things.
                  Really liked Sage and American Fish for 'upscale American' and for really excellent Italian in a refined setting I think Circo is excellent as well.


          2. For this particular purpose, I would give The Barrymore a look ( There are enough options that a foodie would not be insulted, but also a menu that your parents should be comfortable with. And the ambience is also "old school", which can make for a pleasant evening (and creates even more of a comfort factor).

            1 Reply
            1. re: QAW

              I don't know if the atmosphere is a factor, but note that we found the Barrymore to be very loud, to the point where conversation was not really possible. It's a small space and the tables are close together. That being said, the food is good and we enjoyed our meal there.

            2. Canaletto at the Venetian, they'll love it. The menu is somewhere on the IlFornaio website.
              Or closer to your hotel, Il Fornaio in the NYNY hotel, more casual than Canaletto but still that great bread and plenty of choices.

              1. How about Scarpetta at Cosmopolitan?
                "Modern" Italian without really being modern; no foams or dry ice detected, SPAGHETTI tomato & basil; maybe an extreme example but basically pretty simple appearing menu, just a couple of foie and truffle (optional) dishes, have pretty good steaks also with excellent service.
                My rib eye was under-seasoned (with barely traceable amount of salt) and arrived lukewarm. After a few bites the manger (I assume) replaced it with new york cooked perfectly medium rare.
                NUTELLA & VANILLA BOMBOLONI nutella ganache, banana gelato & chocolate shortbread was a nice finish for a very pleasant meal.