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Ericandblueboy

Restaurants near MoMA Thanksgiving Weekend with Two Children

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I'm gonna jam some culture, shopping and food down the kids throat.  We'll be staying at Chambers (they have rooms with two queen beds) near MoMa for 2 nights after Thanksgiving.  Looking for restaurants south of Central Park and north of Chinatown.

Thinking about Le Coucou, The Grill, Mimi and Beatrice Inn.  What's the best Italian (Marea is already booked)?

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On 10/11/2018 at 5:57 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

I'm gonna jam some culture, shopping and food down the kids throat.  We'll be staying at Chambers (they have rooms with two queen beds) near MoMa for 2 nights after Thanksgiving.  Looking for restaurants south of Central Park and north of Chinatown.

Thinking about Le Coucou, The Grill, Mimi and Beatrice Inn.  What's the best Italian (Marea is already booked)?

This should be a similar thread, but I'm not sure the answers there are very helpful. It may be a bit too serene, but Yakitori Totto might work for a lunch. Did you ever try Bar Americain? If so, is that the type of place that would fit?

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2 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

We'll be staying at Chambers (they have rooms with two queen beds) near MoMa for 2 nights after Thanksgiving.  Looking for restaurants south of Central Park and north of Chinatown.

At the risk of stating the obvious, Mà Pèche? Or is this question exclusively for Italian? Ai Fiori?

(I understand you're the origin of a lot of these, but others will read this also, and your response will give people a better gauge to reply.)

Is Nougatine too far to the northwest? It's physically connected to Jean-Georges, but is a bit more vibrant (think, elegant Brasserie), has some menu overlap with J-G (check the online menus for overlap - the two restaurants share a kitchen), and might be perfect for your children.

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I didn't realize Ma Peche was in Chambers!  It's closed.  I did think about going there before but the menu never looked all that exciting.  Ai Fiori is excellent and I've been to it twice.  I can see going there again but I also want to explore new restaurants.  If someone had to choose between Le Coucou, The Grill, Mimi and Beatrice Inn, which would it be?  As for Italian, I just like the vibe at Babbo and its diverse menu.  Also considering Maialino.  

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25 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

As for Italian, I just like the vibe at Babbo and its diverse menu.

I took Matt to Babbo (a classic example of PR over reality) for a pasta tasting in the summer of 2010 - we sat upstairs, right by the stairwell. I have no clue how it is now, but even though we loved it, we both (he was 13!) thought the pasta at Tosca was comparable, and the desserts at Tosca were flat-out better. 

[Sorry, like an oaf, I accidentally merged this into Babbo.]

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2 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

 What's the best Italian (Marea is already booked)?

I really like I Sodi and Via Carota in the West Village, but they're more strictly regional and less fancied than Marea, Ai Fiori, and the like.  More along those lines, maybe Del Posto?

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19 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

I took Matt to Babbo (a classic example of PR over reality) for a pasta tasting in the summer of 2010 - we sat upstairs, right by the stairwell. I have no clue how it is now, but even though we loved it, we both (he was 13!) thought the pasta at Tosca was comparable, and the desserts at Tosca were flat-out better. 

The menu at Babbo is more exciting but the execution is better at Tosca.  I also like the fact that Babbo is in a townhouse in the Village.

18 minutes ago, Simon said:

I really like I Sodi and Via Carota in the West Village, but they're more strictly regional and less fancied than Marea, Ai Fiori, and the like.  More along those lines, maybe Del Posto?

Via Carota looks much more interesting than I Sodi, but Via Carota doesn't take reservations.  Del Posto is prix fixe only @ $164pp.  I don't love my kids enough to drop that kind of dough on them (they're 8 & 6 😀).

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If it were me, I'd do the Grill.

Carbone is also north of Chinatown, but Italian-American. Also has been a bit mixed lately.

Maialino is excellent.

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7 minutes ago, Keithstg said:

Carbone is also north of Chinatown, but Italian-American. Also has been a bit mixed lately.

1-2 years ago, I was deciding between Carbone and Betony - I chose the latter for an extended lunch, and it was a legitimate Michelin 1-star under the toughest of standards, more like 2 stars: one of the best meals I had that year; alas, it has since closed - it would have been perfect for Eric.

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Is the restriction $100++ and under per person? Or can it be higher b/c the kids would not be full participants? They might not have to order the full menu at Del Posto or you could try lunch: 3 courses $60, 4/$70 (Geez, these lunch prix fixe prices have really gone up, I remember when Jean Georges was 2/$29). 

I liked Le Coucou but the tab adds up very quickly (or it's a difficult place to dine solo without over-ordering) . Mimi's original chef left shortly after the NYT review, but it's still around so they're probably doing something right. For French you could also look into Benoit in Midtown or shiny new toy Frenchette in TriBeCa (can be loud AF so get an early booking for dining room or try new lunch service)

Other options I like, geographically: (assuming ~$100 limit)

Midtown: Torishin, Gabriel Kreuther bar area (their chocolate shop next door is worth checking out;  it should have more desserts now that summer is over), Modern bar, Sakagura, Hakkasan (dim sum prix fixe lunch is right at the edge of reasonable; ALC/dinner is very pricey), Sushi Ginza Onodera lunch ($100-150), Agern inside Grand Central (Great Northern Food Hall adjacent is an interesting stop for breakfast/lunch too), Kajitsu

Flatiron/USQ: Gramercy Tavern lunch or something else in the Danny Meyer universe (USQ Cafe, Maialino, etc), Nomad/Nomad Bar, 15 East (counter, great sobe too)

East Village/LES: Contra, Dirt Candy (sentimental favorite, fun but not high-end), Pig & Khao (not fancy either), Secchu Yokota (tempura + some Western dishes, I prefer second seating 8:30pm), Chikalicious (dessert bar, for pre- or post-meal), Kanoyama, Kyo Ya (tricky; now bookings only for $150 kaiseki, short ALC menu for walk-ins) [walks-in?], not a fan of the Momofuku spots overall but would give Ko bar a try.

-> Not fancy: I really like Ho Foods for Taiwanese beef noodles; tiny single-dish place with a few apps (they recently added minced pork over rice/lu rou fan)

TriBeCa: Paul Liebrandt's ongoing gig at Racines wine bar might be worth a look, Jungsik's regular menu is over budget but they do have a dessert tasting at the bar for $60 or so, which I consider fair (OTOH the bar's leg room is too shallow - I am of avg height and it's side saddle or manspread), Sushi Azabu

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There isn't a price restriction.  I just didn't want to do prix fixe (because it's way too much food and expense for the kids) or have to wear anything other than business casual.  And reservations are a must.  The kids haven't quite gotten the palate for raw fish (so no sushi) or spicy food and I rarely eat bread/noodle.

Thanks for the info on Mimi - that is now off the list and Frenchette is added.  So dinner options are Le Coucou, The Grill, Frenchette, and Maialino.

Here's a reservation question.  I'm looking at Le Coucou on Open Table.  One can apparently book 28 days in advance.  So today I can make a reservation for Nov. 9 - however, only 5 and 5:30 are available.  Can I make reservation on OT immediately after midnight?  Does anyone know?

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I believe so but I don’t think it’s gonna help anyway.  Le Coucou doesn’t release better table times to Opentable to my knowledge.  Unless you have some good connections or if they’ve recently lost some cachet, you probably won’t be able to eat there at any reasonable hour.

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On 10/11/2018 at 10:23 PM, DonRocks said:

1-2 years ago, I was deciding between Carbone and Betony - I chose the latter for an extended lunch, and it was a legitimate Michelin 1-star under the toughest of standards, more like 2 stars: one of the best meals I had that year; alas, it has since closed - it would have been perfect for Eric.

I absolutely LOVED Betony. What a great restaurant!

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This is a fun thread...Working my way through the back and forth from top to bottom:

  • For high end Italian Marea, Maialini and Lupo are our running favorites. Marea is by far the most formal of the group but Maialino has the better wine list. Lupo's pasta tasting menu is really fun. 
  • Via Carota is open for breakfast and IMHO that is the best time to go. No waiting for a table. No insane crowds of Japanese tourists like Buvette.
  • Le Coucou is so over-rated. I"m over it. But if you really want to go, tables can be booked online for lunch exactly 4 weeks in advance.
  • Something about Frenchette rubs me the wrong way. But  I think that Batard, which is on the same block, would be the perfect choice for you - they take reservations and you can chose 2-5 courses. Food is excellent. 
  • You should consider Atla for lunch or breakfast. Its never that hard to get a table during that time and the food is excellent. I think superior to Cosme, which should only be reserved for brunch. Dinner is insanely over-priced - ($25 mole with 4 tortillas... wtf)
  • Agree that you cannot go wrong with Union Square Cafe or Gramercy Tavern but Le Coq Rico and Nur on the same block are both excellent choices as well.
  • Eleven Madison Park sounds like it is off the table but FWIW, you CAN get seats in the bar if you go right when they open without a reservation at either lunch or dinner. If you want the EMP food without the EMP price tag, Nomad and Nomad Bar are both great as is their fast casual outlet Made Nice.
  •  Not exactly Midtown, but I am a massive fan of Gloria in Hell's Kitchen. You'll get this fantastic cross of seafood from someone trained at Le Bernardin with natural wine via Contra/Wildair
  • Take your kids for pizza at LES Scarr's. Best traditional NYC pizza in the city right now but made with house milled flour.
  • Chinatown - great New York Noodletown is my hands down favorite right now.
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