Our favorite Top Chef judge and local food god Tom Colicchio is making fine dining a family affair these days. Perhaps Tom’s inspired by his own sons, 18-month old Mateo, 3-year old Luka and 19-year old Dante. Or maybe he’s just a savvy restaurateur capitalizing on the baby boom in Manhattan. Either way, we’re pleased with the results. Imagine Art Deco meets 90’s minimalism, and you’ve got the impeccable restaurant design of Riverpark. Add the familiar culinary refinement of Gramercy Tavern, and you’re in heaven. That is until your toddler drops his spoon and the other kid spills her water.
When To Go: You’ve got to try the weekend brunch. Riverpark opens at 11:00 am on Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant fills with eastern morning light and the crowd is friendly. During the week, you’ll appreciate the quick service and casual offerings (in addition to the full menu) at the bar. Comfortable banquettes help frame this elevated dining area and is the perfect perch for kids too large for a high chair and too small for a seat.
What to Get: Split the cinnamon doughnuts, grilled bread with avocado, and smoked pork belly with maple glaze. For mains, you can’t go wrong with the biscuits and gravy or pork chilaquiles. Looking for an herbivore’s dilemma? Try choosing between the French toast and seasonal frittata.
Insider Tips: Fussy infants, raging toddlers and anxious parents can retreat to the futuristic lobby the restaurant shares with the Alexandria Center, a state-of-the-art life sciences center and architectural design gem in Kips Bay. Better yet, head outside to spy on the fruits and vegetables growing in the garden that supply the delicious bounty for the farm-to-table menu. Tack on a potty visit to the spacious restrooms (also in the lobby), and you’ve killed some good time waiting for the amazing food that’ll keep the little mouths chewing…and quiet.
The Lowdown on Parking: Feel like driving the whole gang? Riverpark offers FREE validated parking! There’s a parking garage at the Alexandria Center (access from the FDR Service Road at 30th Street) with easy elevator access to Riverpark on lobby level. Just bring your parking ticket to the restaurant for validation, and voila! You just scored the best parking deal in Manhattan.
Why Not Try: Colicchio & Sons. If you’re a downtowner and prefer heels on cobblestones à la Meatpacking District, check out this sister restaurant under the Colicchio empire. Little ones are welcome in the haute casual dining area by the wine vault and bar. High chairs mix with highball cocktails in harmony – and the plates are easy for any epicurean family to share.
450 East 29th Street
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— Sarah Choi
Photo credit: Hayrim Byun