Dinner suggestion for party of 5.

I have a family dinner with my mom and siblings on Monday, May 2nd.

I should have planned weeks in advance, but I procrastinated and now options are limited. To further complicate things, a number of restaurants that I would have considered are closed on Monday, which makes this more difficult.

Here’s the run down…

I’m an ex pat East Coaster who consider NY a second home. It’s been a couple of years since my last visit. My sister lives in Brooklyn. My folks are in NYC every other month. I tend to prefer old Manhattan dining, they swing to new and contempo. As I’m now the furthest geographically (situated on the West Coast) they’re compromising with me on a few old standbys. I’m already dragging them to Keen’s, Grand Central Oyster Bar, and Minetta on separate nights, plus a number of delis and lunch counters during the day, so I need to give them something that’s more their speed on this particular date.

I should also note that I’m taking them to The NoMad the night before; if that helps steer suggestions in the right direction…

We’re leaning towards Italian. I think we all prefer smaller neighborhood spots like Peasant or Perla Cafe.

Peasant happens to be closed on Mondays and Perla only has late seating (after 9pm) for a party of 5, which doesn’t work.

I tried for The Little Owl but they’re booked solid as well. Only late-night options avail.

Last trip we did Babbo and Salumeria Rosi. We’ve been to Locanda Verde too many times to count. I’d like to try something different. I’ve heard good things about Maialino and Scarpetta, Il Cantinori, and Lincoln. Isn’t one of these right beside Grammercy Park? I remember walking by one of them and thinking it looked like a great place; can’t remember which though. From what I’m seeing on Yelp, nothing really grabs me in terms of atmosphere. I also have an endless list of ‘Old NY’ red sauce places, but I don’t think they’d really dig that. The search continues…

Moving away from Italian, I’ve heard good things about The Dutch (a couple of years ago). It doesn’t look well suited to our group though - my mom’s a vegetarian, sister has celiac (severe gluten allergy), wife is a liberal ‘pescatarian’ who dabbles in chicken, and the rest will eat anything. We all loved Joseph Leonard, the last time we were in the city together. I don’t want to repeat anything from our last trip, but that should give you an idea of what we collectively lean towards. I see that Montmartre closed. That’s the kind of cozy atmosphere/dining room that I prefer.

Safest bets are going to be Italian / Mediterranean / Seafood / New American (ie. NoMad, EMP, etc; I hate that classification but you get the idea). One requisite: NO tasting menus! I tend to avoid Asian with the family as it’s difficult to find places that tick off all boxes. Good sushi is wasted on my mom, as she’s into overdressed rolls drizzled with mayo.

So to summarize:

  1. Ideally Italian / Mediterranean / Seafood / Creative upscale seasonal (market-driven) American cuisine.

  2. Great food!

  3. Preferably smaller neighborhood spot with warm atmosphere.

  4. Cost is not a consideration. Thanks mom! :wink:

  5. Any location is fine; Chealsea, Village, SoHo probably most convenient. We’ll tread anywhere within reason though.

So what am I overlooking?

Can anyone please steer this ship on course… I need to make reservations ASAP as I’m already pushing my luck. I’d greatly appreciate some input. Also, I’ve never been to Mary’s Fish Camp (I’m a Pearl loyalist) but I just checked their website and I see that they offer proper seating; would that work for dinner or is it more of a lunch spot? Can we do a lot better?


Update: I made a reservation at Mailiano, which was the spot near Gramercy Park that I mentioned above. I got a 7:30 pm table.

I’m still looking for some feedback and alternate suggestions though. I just wanted to secure something to be safe. I’m also on the wait list at The Little Owl, though it’s doubtful that will yield any new openings in the next week…

What about Batali’s new place, La Sirena? I haven’t read about it but I adore Babbo.


Have you taken a look at RGR’s Flicker collection
( I hope you don’t mind RGR) may give you some ideas

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Thanks, I’ll have a look although based on feedback that I’ve been getting, I think we may end up sticking with Maialino. We love Babbo as well though! We had a great dinner there on our last trip.

I’ll cast a vote for Lincoln, although it sounds like it might be geographically inconvenient. We had a great meal there not too long ago. It’s upscale but not as formal as Del Posto. If you haven’t been to Del Posto, that might be worth considering too - I enjoyed it much more than our last trip to Babbo.

My mom’s actually staying in the Upper East, so not inconvenient at all. You’d take Lincoln over Maialino? I’ve always thought of it as a show spot; when catching the symphony, ballet, etc.

I haven’t been to Maialino so I can’t compare - I’ve heard great things, though. Lincoln is quite convenient to the Met and I assumed it would be just another show spot too, but it’s actually well worth a trip in its own right. All of the pastas were outstanding, and I remember a wonderful venison dish and a burrata presentation with squash that was quite delicious - however, the menu changes seasonally so nothing we had is on offer currently (we were there last fall). Service was excellent and the wine list was very nice too - they had a good number of selections under $80 and the sommelier did a great job helping us choose things that would work with our food choices.

That does sound great. I think I’m going to keep that one as date night reserve for the missus though. We’ll definitely be at the Met the next time we’re in town and I will absolutely prioritize this place. It looks like a fun dining space too.

Maialino is a few blocks from our apartment, so we’ve eaten there numerous times, most recently dinner two day ago. One of the many reasons we enjoy going there so much is that the food is consistently excellent. The surroundings are very attractive, and there are round tables that seat parties of five. It is now a no tipping restaurant (the second of Danny Meyer’s many restaurants to go “hospitality included”). It’s great to be handed your credit card slip and only have to sign your name. True, that means prices are a bit higher than they used to be but, imo, totally worth it.

As for Lincoln, we’ve been there several times and I’ve found the food to be inconsistent. Some meals, everything we ate was wonderful; other times, some dishes not so much. I’m also not particularly fond of the space with its dark, slanted ceiling.

Btw, I hope you know that “The Met” biondanonima referred to is The Metropolitan Opera House on the UWS – which is where Lincoln is located – and not The Metropolitan Museum of Art which is on the UES.

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Thanks Roz, I did know that about the Met Opera House; I was referring to the same. Maialino sounds lovely and I’m looking forward to our meal now even more so!

Yes, I probably should have clarified! I’m an opera singer, though, so for me there’s only one Met! :wink:

It seems to fly under the radar, but Madison Bistro, on Madison around 37 St, is a cozy neighborhood spot that serves excellent French food> Moderately priced, too.

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So this is totally off-topic… but I just learned that The Four Seasons on Madison Ave is closing and I’d love to squeeze in a meal, if we can. I’m wary about dragging my family out though. Would you recommend lunch or dinner and should I opt for the Pool Room or Grill Room at different times of the day? In terms of design, is one room preferable to the other?

I would say definitely the Pool Room, and why not lunch?


By the way, I’m sorry I missed your thread earlier, but I wanted to say that Maialino specializes in meat dishes (the name means “little pig” in Italian) and while they also serve credible fish and vegetables, if your group’s taste runs to seafood, I would suggest Esca (but time it to be inside the theatre performance hours, not before or after). I have also heard good things about Marea and Ai Fiori for mediterranean Italian, but have no pesonal experience.

Thanks very much for both suggestions – I’ve already booked the Pool Room for 7:15 pm so we can take advantage of sunset and the twilight hour. I would have done lunch but my family would protest loudly as it would interfere with daytime plans; they’re very much ‘grab and go’ type of people and they aren’t big meal-time planners. Unless there was a specific occasion (birthday or anniversary) or it was a spontaneous spur-of-the-moment decision, typically based on location and convenience, I could never sell them on a fancy drawn-out mid-day meal. Alas, I’ve cancelled Mailiano… it will hopefully be around and going strong the next time we’re in the city. My family will still get their contemporary fix at the NoMad, which I’m sure they will love. I couldn’t allow myself to leave without a proper sendoff for the FS. I just hope they can accommodate gluten-free options for my sister. Any menu tips?

PS: I’m very glad that I caught wind of the news today, sad as it is.

So my mom’s going to Mailiano and I’m going to the Four Seasons with the missus, haha. I couldn’t get her on board.

Or she couldn’t get you on board :slight_smile:

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