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Kids menus in NYC


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We live in the 'burbs of NYC and have 2 kids, ages 4 and 6. We eat

out pretty frequently up here, and often want to get dinner out in

Manhattan as well.

One of the problems we face is that of the kids menu hell. OK, a lot

of restaurants don't have a kids menu at all. Which is kind of a pain,

because first of all we aren't sure if the restaurant even wants our

business, and secondly, a 4 year old simply can't eat an adult sized

entree, so it seems like a waste to spend $20 on one. Our kids love

restaurants and choosing their own food - they are both kind of

foodies-in-the-making, so they would never agree to share. So it

is hard to go to restaurants with no kids menu, unless it is a Chinese

place where sharing is normal, or an Indian or Korean place where

you know they love kids and will help put something together.

The alternative are the restaurants that have a kids menu, but

what horrors those are! My poor sushi and bibimbap-loving kids,

consigned to the hell of nuggets and French fries. I can almost

guarantee what will be on any kids menu : hamburger, chicken nuggets,

grilled cheese, macaroni with a choice of butter or plain tomato sauce.

And we wonder why kids have such poor taste in food these days???

While visiting Williamsburg VA, we went to a place that had a great

kids menu. It was just adventurous enough to make the kids feel

special. I saw a number of kids in the place, and they all seemed

particularly well-behaved, as if treating them like real people made

them act like real people.

So my question is : are there any restaurants in Manhattan that have

nicer than usual kids menus? I have heard that Landmarc does, but we

never seem to be in that area, and I have also heard that it has terrible

waits (not good with kids). What places truly welcome kids by having

something nice for them to eat too?

I don't want to get off on the "kids don't belong in restaurants" tangent.

Obviously, there are some places that are truly adult-only. But kids aren't

going to learn good restaurant manners by being relegated to Chuck E Cheese.

Bonnie

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My wife and I recently went to Otto for lunch. While our child is to young to eat food, there must have been 20 families in there all with children. They are extremely accomodating towards children, and every child in there was eating, one of the pizza's or salads or something right off the menu. They don't have a children's menu, but if your kids like to eat, I'm sure you'll enjoy Otto.

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I've found that it's standard for Italian restaurants in New York, when asked, to offer half-portions of pastas for half price if you're also ordering a secondo. I figure they'd also be happy to offer a half portion of pasta for your children, but if in doubt, you could always call ahead.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Soon after the Maccionis first opened Osteria del Circo, I remember reading Egi saying how much they enjoyed having children go there. Even though they don't have a children's menu, one assumes they'd do you some favors on the pasta or something (assuming they were serious about that -- or, perhaps less likely, that the proprietors listen to their mother).

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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Growing up, my family travelled a lot, and my sister and I frequently ate in restaurants that had no kids menu. Or, if they did have one, we didn't want to eat anything off it! We would just either order whatever we wanted and save the leftovers for later, or we'd ask them to make a pasta or something in a smaller portion. I don't remember it ever being a problem, even in some of the better New York restaurants.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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We enjoy Bread Tribeca with our children. Although we haven't been there for dinner, they're so lovely and accommodating there, I'd recommend it. Sometimes I think the key to eating with children is to dine early. Then you can be walking through Chinatown to get ice cream, when couples are arriving in the restaurant for their dates.

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I've found that it's standard for Italian restaurants in New York, when asked, to offer half-portions of pastas for half price if you're also ordering a secondo. I figure they'd also be happy to offer a half portion of pasta for your children, but if in doubt, you could always call ahead.

Thanks! I had forgotten about Italian places.

I'm looking for this information in general, as we often find ourselves in manhattan looking for decent food in the evening. But in particular, we have to take some friends from Chicago in over Memorial Day weekend. They have one 5 year old, and one vegetarian adult. And they all prefer "good food" rather than nugget places. So I have got to come up with something. My 6 year old asked for Korean, but that is rough with a vegetarian.

Bonnie

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i think that if you make a reservation at a place (that might not have a childrens' menu) and let them know ahead of time that you will have children who will be dining with you...explain the situation...the kitchen will be happy to help. i find that advance notice for restaurants is key to having a good experience. nothing like popping in and having tons of special requests for which the kitchen and restaurant as a whole are ill prepared.

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[...]I'm looking for this information in general, as we often find ourselves in manhattan looking for decent food in the evening. But in particular, we have to take some friends from Chicago in over Memorial Day weekend. They have one 5 year old, and one vegetarian adult. And they all prefer "good food" rather than nugget places. So I have got to come up with something.  My 6 year old asked for Korean, but that is rough with a vegetarian.

I don't know, is it? They could start with Kimchi Pa-jun. I'm trying to think what they could have for a main dish. I wonder if they could get a bap dish without meat in it. I think that could be fine as long as they eat eggs. Rice with eggs, vegetables, and gojuchang sounds fine to me. If they aren't strict vegetarians, they could of course have a fish dish, but I know very well that fish aren't vegetables. :wink:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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If your kids are adventurous, how about a tapas place? Small portions for them, multiple dishes for you. Plus, if they're like most children, you need to go fairly early, so you can beat the crowds. I'm thinking Tia Pol, which I haven't been to but am eager to try.

I'm wildly jealous. Very soon, my ultra-picky kids will actually be too old for the children's menus, and then what will they do? What will WE do?

Susan

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We frequently order one adult entree and split it between the kids.  Of course that only works if they will agree on the same thing.  :smile:

That definitely does not work for my kids. Being able to pick their own food is a big part of the experience for them.

Bonnie

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If your kids are adventurous, how about a tapas place? Small portions for them, multiple dishes for you. Plus, if they're like most children, you need to go fairly early, so you can beat the crowds. I'm thinking Tia Pol, which I haven't been to but am eager to try.

That is another interesting idea. I've never been big on tapas myself - just not into the mindset - but it could work for this specific outing.

In general, we are not early diners. We rarely make it to a restaurant before 8. My kids are used to eating late. When we try eating out early to beat the crowds, they don't eat well, and end up whining for another dinner later on. It just happened to us this weekend, when we went to a party where we were served a sumptuous buffet at 4pm. My younger kid didn't understand that he needed to fill up then, and when we got home, he was very upset that another dinner wasn't about to make its appearance.

My kids have never been picky. But I fed them spicy and exotic food even when they were babies, so they never had a choice. Mean mommy! :biggrin:

Bonnie

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I don't know, is it? They could start with Kimchi Pa-jun. I'm trying to think what they could have for a main dish. I wonder if they could get a bap dish without meat in it. I think that could be fine as long as they eat eggs. Rice with eggs, vegetables, and gojuchang sounds fine to me. If they aren't strict vegetarians, they could of course have a fish dish, but I know very well that fish aren't vegetables. :wink:

Hmm, I'll try to convince the vegetarian member of the party, but in the past she hasn't been open to Korean. She stereotypes it as "beef-eater" food.

Bonnie

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You might want to consider Hangawi. There is a thread on it somewhere here but I am bad at linking.

It is vegan Korean but the food is excellent. I don't think they have a kids menu but there will be plenty of choices that will be small enough for your children. Plus, you have to take your shoes off to eat and it is a neat atmosphere, something that children might enjoy. And if your kids like interesting flavors and tastes, it's really great.

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Best. Kids' menu. Ever.

Landmarc

I'm telling you. Order the pigs in blankets and just TRY to keep the grownups away from them. Plus you can get mini-cones of ice cream for dessert!

Seriously, slkinsey and I went here for dinner with friends who have a toddler, and the food for the young'un was so delish we wanted to order it ourselves.

K (why yes, Landmarc IS one of my favorite restaurants, how could you tell?)

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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Best. Kids' menu. Ever.

Landmarc

I'm telling you.  Order the pigs in blankets and just TRY to keep the grownups away from them. Plus you can get mini-cones of ice cream for dessert!

I've heard the waits are pretty bad though. Waits are not kid-friendly. We're not the types to do the 4:30 dining hour either. Is it possible to go there on a Saturday around 6 or 7, and get in without a long wait? Do they take reservations?

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They don't take reservations. My experiences with wait times there have been wildly unpredictable. Sometimes I've had short waits, sometimes I've had long waits, a few times I've even had no wait -- all at similar (fairly prime) times.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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