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Late-ish Sunday Dinner w/kids near The Benjamin & other input on my list

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Hello! I’ve been monitoring this board for months to help plan our 1st first trip to New York with our girls (ages 10 & 8). Thanks to all who post regularly and a special mahalo to Kathryn for sharing all those incredibly helpful links!

We’re coming from San Diego and staying at The Benjamin (50th & Lex). We’re getting in late-ish on a Sunday night – landing at JFK at 8:30. I’m thinking we might find a Shake Shack that’s open or – since we’ll be on CA time - take the girls to Times Square to check out the lights and maybe hit up the Halal Guys cart. Any other thoughts or suggestions?

We’re pretty adventurous, don’t have a tight budget, and want to experience classic NY foods like bagels, pizza, deli, hot dogs, as well as great Ramen, Chinese, French Bistro and Italian. We have reservations at Marseille before The Lion King one night and another reservation at Osteria Morini. We’ll have six nights and five days to eat our way through Manhattan. Seems like lots of places on our radar don’t take reservations. Here’s what we’re targeting so far:

Russ & Daughters
Katz’s
Papaya King
Luke’s Lobster
William Greenberg
Don Antonio
Joe’s
Motorino
Ippudo
Momofuku Ssam
Xian Famous Foods

Am I missing anything?

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  1. Well, there is a Shake Shack @ the airport now. Sounds like you might hit the Times Square one.

    Eating outside will really depend upon the weather. When are you coming?

    Most of the places that you list below are casual, don't take reservations as a policy, or do takeout only. Not sure how well kids might do with a very long wait (1-2 hrs), so keep that in mind when planning. Perhaps go for late lunches and early dinners if you can.

    Russ & Daughters - counter service, takeout only, no seating inside, very busy on weekends
    Katz’s - counter service or table service, but no reservations taken, perhaps better during the day on a weekday when everybody is @ work
    Papaya King - fast food/takeout, grab 'n' go kind of food
    Luke’s Lobster - counter service, some limited seating
    William Greenberg - bakery/counter
    Don Antonio - no reservations taken, may be redundant if you also do Motorino
    Joe’s - small place, take out, very little seating
    Motorino - no reservations but lunch is usually quiet, this may be redundant w/ Don Antonio
    Ippudo - doesn't take reservations, there's a line even right when they open, but I think they text when your table is available now
    Momofuku Ssam - doesn't take reservations, I'd go early if you don't want to wait during dinner time, much quieter for lunch since the menu is significantly different
    Xian Famous Foods - very casual, note that their East Village location is currently closed for renovations, check out https://www.facebook.com/xianfamousfoods for news

    5 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks Kathryn!
      We're coming the first week of April. I'm really hoping that the weather out there warms up (as I'm sure everyone in NY does!). Since we'll probably be thrown off for a few days bc of the time change I'm guessing we'll be eating a lot of late lunches/early dinners.
      I appreciate the info - it's very helpful. My kids are OK with waiting (I figure we can walk around and explore the different neighborhoods while we wait).
      Great tip on Motorino & Don Antonio being redundant. We'll try to get to Motorino for lunch probably skip Don Antonio.
      Would dinners at Benoit & Marseille be too similar too? My husband has his heart set on bistro/brasserie fare.
      I'm also thinking of adding a "red sauce" Italian (we don't get a lot of great Italian in San Diego) - maybe Rubirosa? Or any other local gems?
      Thanks again :-)

      1. re: melee

        Forgot to mention that Ssam will text you when your table is ready, too.

        Marseille is decent enough for the theatre district but are you looking for more French on other nights? You said you were adventurous, so maybe there's something else you want to try like Japanese, Thai, Spanish? That's where I would go... stuff you really can't find in SD.

        We do have lots of great Italian here, both red sauce and not.

        Off the top of my head, Maialino is family friendly but they may be pretty booked up for dinner already, so check and see or try lunch/brunch.

        1. re: kathryn

          Thanks Kathryn!

          Good to know that Ssam will text.

          Hmm, am now second guessing Marseille. Originally I booked Toloache but my husband vetoed saying we get great Mexican here and don't need to squander a dinner in NY on Mexican food. Would you skip that and maybe do Danji early that night, and book Benoit or somewhere else (La Sirene maybe?) for our bistro dinner.

          And good point re: adding a Japanese, Thai or Spanish,

          I've booked Maialino for an early dinner one night - that leaves us with 3 dinners to fill :-)

          1. re: melee

            No reservations at Danji means potentially missing your curtain, though, which is always a concern when dining pre-theatre.

            How about Szechuan Gourmet for something different? They take reservations via phone.

            1. re: kathryn

              Good point. Will definitely look at Szechuan. Love it - you're helping me figure out all my dinners. Thank you!!! :-)

    2. You should consider the following:

      JungSik
      Danji
      WD-50
      SkAL
      Totto
      Carbone

      5 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Not sure I'd bring a 8 yr old and a 10 yr old to all of those. WD-50 is expensive!

        1. re: kathryn

          Leave the kids at the hotel. Concierge can locate a sitter if necessary.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Thanks Ipsedixit!
            I actually had Danji on my list. Not OK for kids even if we go early? They're pretty well behaved - I know, I know, everyone says that ;-)
            Appreciate your input!

            1. re: melee

              Honestly, I've seen young kids (dunno exact age, of course) at most of the places I listed up above, with the exception of WD-50 and Carbone.

              Kids definitely ok at Danji. In fact, I think a 10 year old would really dig the bulgogi burger.

              Enjoy your visit, and then come back to SD and regale us with all your foodie conquests!

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Thanks Ipse! The 10 year old does love bulgogi - that's right up her alley :-)

      2. Coming from san diego nyc is going to feel COLD, so be prepared in case it still is- and don't plan on wanting to sit outside and eat anywhere.
        Ees a bagel is a few blocks from your hotel, their 3rd ave location- could be a good breakfast option. Note they will also deliver to you.
        http://www.ess-a-bagel.com

        A dim sum brunch would be fun for your girls, the chaos and choosing/pointing from carts is part of the whole experience. This recent thread mentions the most popular ones:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/968570

        4 Replies
        1. re: Ttrockwood

          Yes, we are kind of whips when it comes to being cold. A lot can change in a few weeks, though - right? I'm keeping fingers crossed that our timing is good and the weather magically warms up!
          Thanks so much for the hot tip re: Ess a Bagel - no idea they delivered! Thank you!!!

          1. re: melee

            Bigger issue will be waiting for a table if none is available and the weather is cold--many restaurants don't have a big foyer or entryway, so you end up waiting outside.

            1. re: kathryn

              Exactly.

              For the OP this hot chocolate thread could convince some cold kids who are tired of walking to avoid meltdown:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9224...

              1. re: Ttrockwood

                Thank you, Throckwood! Since I've been planning a trip w/spring in mind this wasn't in my radar before but now seems like a really great idea. Thanks for sharing!

        2. Love the Benjamin..
          Fab location..pillow concierge..kitchen suites..balcony's..across
          from Waldorf.

          Shake shack
          Pearl's
          Grand Central Oyster bar
          M. Ssam
          Campbell Apartment
          Russ and daughters
          Four Seasons brunch/lunch

          Listen to the NY board.
          Have a blast..
          Xo

          2 Replies
            1. re: melee

              PS - I'm just fascinated by this whole "pillow concierge" & we did get a suite w/kitchen, so any takeout or delivery nearby might be the ticket if it's freezing and the girls are tired from walking all day. So excited for our trip!

          1. You should add Eataly for eating and gawking. Plus it's across the street from Madison Square Park and Shake Shack.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Berheenia

              Thanks! I was wondering if I should add that to the list. Now I will!

              1. re: melee

                Eataly is a good suggestion but I wouldn't actually eat a meal there.

                Peruse a bit, get the kids some gelato (not the best but passable) and grab some espresso for yourself and then head over to Shake Shack to get some real food, or maybe some place in nearby Koreatown.

                1. re: melee

                  Eataly is best on weekdays and non-meal times. Otherwise it can get really crowded.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Thanks! The good news is that we land Sunday night & leave early Saturday.