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Choosy Moms Choose....?
December 5, 2012 9:35 AM   Subscribe

Where to take my Mama for dinner in NYC?

My mom and I are meeting up in NYC for our annual city christmas walkabout. We're staying in Times Square and want to go out for a memorable meal on Friday night.

I know there are a million questions about NYC restaurants but here are my parameters: My mom is picky. She literally thinks ketchup is spicy. Pretty much anything you'd lump in the "ethnic food" category is out. She's very into French things. For reference, I live in Philly and she loooved Bistrot La Minette and Barbuzzo. As for me, I love all food and I especially like really good food in cozy places.

Since it's just the two of us, I'd love to go someplace kind of sophisticated "girly", cozy, I guess what would be considered "romantic" but not "sexy" because it's...my mom. Looking for someplace in Manhattan. Walking distance to Times Square preferred but we can travel on the subway with no problem. My ideal place would be non-cheesy, non-touristy, not overly pretentious, fancy but reasonable (<$150 for the two of us). Thank you!
posted by Katine to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Cafe Un Deux Trois.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:42 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tartine in the west village is nice, although it might be a bit too casual/bistro-y for what you want.
posted by elizardbits at 9:44 AM on December 5, 2012


The Spotted Pig in the West Village is very colourful. The food is unfailingly excellent. And you might run into Jean-Paul Gaultier, who is a regular.
posted by Dragonness at 9:48 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apiary in the East Village. Serious chef / food but pretty relaxed setting.
posted by subtle-t at 9:48 AM on December 5, 2012


I should have mentioned this in the OP, but for me, I'd like it to be a place that gets "food people" or foodie-types or what-have-you excited but is not TOO crazy/adventurous (like, no balsam fir gelee on roe-foam).
posted by Katine at 9:50 AM on December 5, 2012


It's probably a little touristy and might be a little loud, but: Balthazar.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:55 AM on December 5, 2012


NB every place we have thus far recommended will be a noisy madhouse on a friday night near christmas, unless you go quite early.
posted by elizardbits at 9:57 AM on December 5, 2012


La Luncheonette. Classic French bistro with menu choices that are both familiar (steak frites, tarte tatin) and exotic (sweetbreads, escargot). Quiet, non-touristy, and somewhat off the beaten track. It's on 10th Ave in the 20's, though, so nowhere near where you're staying or where the typical "holiday walkabout" activities occur.
posted by Sara C. at 10:11 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe Lucien?
posted by brina at 10:12 AM on December 5, 2012


St. Ambroeus is relatively quiet and intimate (at least their West Village location), and the menu is not too out-of-bounds for your mom.
posted by deanc at 10:13 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also once took my mom to Pastis for an early dinner on a Friday night right around this time of year. It was quiet enough for us to just walk in around 7-ish, but got crowded and the fun kind of loud by the time we left.

That said, Pastis is a bit touristy/obnoxious. But if your mom wants to feel special, it's a little bit special.
posted by Sara C. at 10:13 AM on December 5, 2012


Cafe Boulud is a little on the pricier end on your range, but I think it fits all your criteria pretty well. It's a couple miles from Times Square - you can take the N to the 6, or walk to Grand Central and get on the 6 there. You'll probably want to make a reservation.
posted by frankdrebin at 10:22 AM on December 5, 2012


For cozy, affordable French, Zucco on the LES is pretty solid. Just get there on the early side.
posted by saladin at 10:22 AM on December 5, 2012


Seconding Apiary.
posted by lalex at 10:23 AM on December 5, 2012


I've been to Marseille on 9th Avenue a couple of times, and it's got a nice atmosphere (kind of lively but cozy) and good food - classic French with some Moroccan inflections. Plus it takes reservations and is quite close to Times Square.
posted by yarrow at 10:29 AM on December 5, 2012


Craft, Craft, Craft. (Dinner menu PDF.)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:46 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


La Luncheonette. Classic French bistro with menu choices that are both familiar (steak frites, tarte tatin) and exotic (sweetbreads, escargot). Quiet, non-touristy, and somewhat off the beaten track. It's on 10th Ave in the 20's, though, so nowhere near where you're staying or where the typical "holiday walkabout" activities occur.

Second this choice, paired with a walk on the High Line/stroll through Chelsea Market (though both may be a bit crowded in December) beforehand. The owner is usually there, and she's very sweet. They have a cute list of daily specials, too, that are written on a small chalkboard that they hand you.
posted by kathryn at 10:58 AM on December 5, 2012


My mom has exactly the same feelings about food and she LOVED JoJo. The atmosphere and service are really nice and you both should be able to find something satisfying.
posted by telegraph at 1:43 PM on December 5, 2012


Casa Mono, near Union Square, has delicious small plates in a small and cozy setting. Eat a bunch of different things. Sit at the bar and watch them cook.
posted by SampleSize at 7:05 PM on December 5, 2012


Thank you everyone! Telegraph, JoJo looks perfect! Made a reservation for Friday.
posted by Katine at 7:48 AM on December 6, 2012


Please report back. I have heard downhill reports from friends who used to love JoJo.
posted by kathryn at 7:07 AM on December 8, 2012


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