We’ve all been there: In an attempt to capture some semblance of your pre-kid lifestyle, you take your kiddos out for a meal hoping (praying) that they’ll behave themselves. And then, the tantrums begin, the restaurant doesn’t have a great kids menu, and you start wondering how you even convinced yourself that this would work in the first place. Don’t let that experience scar you from enjoying a meal out with the kids in-tow. In this town, even the finest of restaurants want you to come in and enjoy all that their chef can cook up. Here are five places we’re sure will welcome you (and your overflowing stroller) with open arms.
#1: Blue Smoke
The first line you’ll see on Blue Smoke’s kids menu? Blue Smoke Loves Kids. And it’s kinda true. This restaurant not only caters to your budding restaurant critic, but it serves up some of the most delish barbecue you’ll find this side of the Hudson River. At the Battery Park City location, you can relish a plate of Kansas City spareribs ($14.95 for a half portion) while your kids get a main course (we love that one option is seared salmon), one side, dessert and a drink ($9.50). We also love that for each kid’s menu ordered, Blue Smoke donates $1 to STREETS International, a non-profit that provides street kids in developing countries the opportunity to transition from poverty to a career in restaurant service. Before you leave, don’t forget to do two things: Retrieve your kids’ scooter and helmet hung on the ample number of hooks up front and pick up a cake pop to-go at the bakery counter up front.
255 Vesey Street (between West St and North End Ave); 212-889-2006
116 East 27th Street (between Park Ave and Lexington Ave); 212-447-7733
#2: La Promenade des Anglais
It might feel like you stepped into a fancy-schmancy French café, but the staff at this tres sophisticated restaurant are so welcoming that there’s no way you’ve made a faux pas by sliding into a Mediterranean-blue banquette. While there’s no official kids menu, all the better. Your kids are sure to love the steak frites with salsa verde ($27) and, if you come here for brunch, your options are endless with mouth-watering faves like Almond Crusted French toast ($14). Get here early on Sundays—it’s bumper-to-bumper strollerville here as Chelsea parents pack in, looking for a quick transport-to-Paris atmosphere.
461 West 23rd Street (near Tenth Ave); 212-255-7400
At this cozy yet sophisticated Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, hotspot, kids can tuck into buttermilk pancakes with molasses butter and bacon ($14) or even a hearty melt-in-your-mouth fried chicken sandwich with buttermilk dressing ($14) while you sip a glass of something bubbly and listen to Carly Simon crooning through the iPod. An added sustainable plus: We love that many of the dishes served here feature ingredients harvested from the Carroll Gardens Greenmarket across the street.
329 Smith Street (at Carroll St); 718-422-0444
Perfectly for before or after you visit the dinosaurs on display at the Natural History Museum right across the street, Isabella’s is an oasis of calm. You’ll find big potted palm trees, expansive views of Columbus Avenue and an appealing kids menu with such choices as penne pasta and mini hamburgers ($7). While your kids play with the requisite pack of Wiki Stix, you can enjoy a tasty Isabella’s chopped salad ($11) or hay and straw linguine ($15).
359 Columbus Avenue (at 77th St); 212-724-2100
#5: City Crab
Fish may not be number-one on your kids radar, but this after-work seafood spot works hard to court the young ‘uns. With a kids menu called City’s Kiddies, your child can order a burger or fish sticks (plus a drink and an ice cream sundae) for $10. Weekend brunches at this upscale Union Square fave feature that same $10 menu so, while your kids savor a plate of silver dollar pancakes, you can tuck into some grown-up faire.
235 Park Avenue South (at 19th St); 212-529-3800
Where are your fave places to dine out with your kids? Let us know in the comment section below.
— Lambeth Hochwald