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Jul 26, 2014 10:04 AM

Best restaurant for a 40th Birthday with wife and 2 kids aged 10&15?

Hi there,

First time visitor to NYC for my big 40th birthday in October, we really can't wait to experience NYC. We are trying to find a great place for us on my birthday that can accommodate all our palates well. My eldest son will eat basically anything (steak his favourite) but my little one likes simple foods, mac & cheese, spaghetti, pizza etc. Can anyone give us a great recommendation for a good place to celebrate poss with a great atmosphere? I've looked at so many places now, some look a little fancy and some not so..i've got it down to Costata's, Mailalino and River Cafe (but does look fancy) - though great views which i would love also..



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    1. River cafe might not be right with the kids.... I would call it "fancy".
      Maybe Babbo?
      +1 for craft

      6 Replies
      1. re: Ttrockwood

        Babbo is an interesting idea. They play mostly classic rock on their sound system, so there is a liveliness there. I went to Babbo quite a while ago, but I was reminded of that experience when I had a good restaurant week lunch at Esca last week and enjoyed the music they were playing. By the way, the best course by far was the dessert, a sour red plum crostata, as I recall, with creme fraiche in a brown butter sauce that was brilliantly paired with a moscato with just enough edge, and in general, the $14 wine pairings (one with each of 3 courses) were great and a great deal. The rest of the lunch was good, not mind-blowing, but service was excellent and it was a good experience. But I digress....Anyway, yes, Babbo could be a good solution.

        1. re: Pan

          I was thinking it was busy enough but not deafening, and there are several pasta options that could work- i'm sure they could do a more simplified version of a pasta for the OP as well if needed.

          And the esca lunch sounds like par for the course for RW....the wine pairing sounds fabulous!

          1. re: Ttrockwood

            My brother and I were on the 2nd floor when we ate at Babbo, and it definitely was far from deafening, but we did eat late (10:30 reservation or so).

        2. re: Ttrockwood

          Does River Cafe still require all men to wear jackets? Definitely fancy!

          1. re: Pan

            Yeah, they do - in fact I think they're stricter than they used to be. As I recall, in the past they weren't required in the bar area, but now it's the whole place.

            Babbo is an excellent call, very something-for-everyone menu, though I'd request an upstairs table. Tables are spaced further apart upstairs, which might be better with kids. And they can do simple pastas for the young one. That's of course if you want to do the reservation tango required for a table at Babbo. Though early tables (5:00 - 6:00) usually don't book up so quickly.

            Also, thinking Balthazar and/or Minetta Tavern could work.

            1. re: sgordon

              Small update: River Cafe does -NOT- have a jacket requirement at Saturday lunch or Sunday brunch. They still ask for "appropriate clothing" but it's not so strict.

              Certainly worth considering if they're here on the weekend, not as the special birthday meal but as something fun to do during the day - it's cheaper than dinner ($42 lunch, $55 brunch) the view's still pretty great during the day (especially if you get a window table) and the kids would love the ice cream shop on the pier afterwards.

          1. Thanks guys, although Craft looks superb I worry it possibly is a little relaxed for a family with a 10 year old boy! Is there anywhere else that has a little more lively, with a really good buzz about it which serves food to cater for us all. My 10year old would enjoy a simple menu as he is Autistic. Thanks

            7 Replies
            1. re: fin2314yyr

              When you say a simple menu, do you mean a menu that includes simple items like roast chicken or beef cutlet or grilled fish, or do you mean that any menu that is itself long or/and complicated in any other way (e.g., dishes with non-English-language names) is a problem?

              1. re: Pan

                "my little one likes simple foods, mac & cheese, spaghetti, pizza etc."

                1. re: Pan

                  Yes sorry I mean simple foods. We do go to many restaurants here in the UK but ones that do the above as well as other
                  more adventurous dishes for the rest of us in our family. Italian does tend to work for us here and we are definitely going to try and find a good soul food place as Jamie loves fried chicken, chips etc.

                  Simple foods such as Macoroni cheese, pizza, fried chicken, spaghetti, he will eat Chinese food however, burgers, etc.

                2. re: fin2314yyr

                  Scarpetta has excellent spaghetti, would that work?

                  1. re: kathryn

                    That's a good point. Their spaghetti bolognese is very tasty.

                  2. re: fin2314yyr

                    "....a little relaxed...."
                    Like it might be too quiet? Craft has another nearby restaurant called Craftbar (not a bar, a rather large busy more casual restaurant with similar menu)....

                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                      I was very disappointed with my last visit there, which as I recall included a soupe de pistou with sand at the bottom of the bowl. Granted, though, that was in 2011, but it didn't really feel like a birthday place to me, even when it was good.

                  3. In addition to some of the other excellent suggestions, Union Square Cafe might be a good choice. It has a mix of food items, pasta, steak and it's moderately lively without being noisy, kid-friendly.