NYC comfort-food restaurants
Crawl out from under that down comforter and head to one of our favorite spots serving cozy eats.
Mon Dec 20 2010
Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin
Brunch at Community Food and Juice
All restaurant information is correct as of press time. However, since hours, prices and other details are subject to change, it's wise to call ahead.
3159 Coney Island Ave at Brighton Beach Ave, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn (718-616-0494, glechik.com). Subway: B, Q to Brighton Beach.
The homey Russo-Ukrainian restaurant specializes in pelmeni and vareniki, which are basically Slavic takes on ravioli—and what kid doesn't like stuffed pasta? The small, wontonlike vareniki can be ordered as a savory entre (a potato-filled version, for instance, comes with mushrooms and onions on top) or as a dessert (we preferred the one stuffed with cherries). Even better, perhaps, is pelmeni Moscow, a very white dish in which ample potato dumplings are doused in a cheese-and-butter sauce, then baked in a crock, creating a thin, yummy crust. Many dishes here come in a crock, like the Odessa stew (beef and potatoes in a rich gravy). Make sure to wash it all down with "compote," a refreshing drink made of cherries, apples and pears—fishing out the chunks of fruit is part of the fun. In a nice touch for grown-ups, the cappuccinos come in a tall glass that reveals elegant, painstakingly poured layers of coffee, milk and froth.
Average main course: $13.
The menu includes simple but precisely prepared beer-hall staples: house-made bratwurst, spaetzle, fluffy quark (cheese) dumplings, tangy pickles and fresh-baked soft pretzels. The kitchen is happy to make adjustments to dishes (bacon in your spaetzle? Sure!), and the servers handle young patrons' needs with cheer and aplomb—even when they have to squeeze past the strollers to do so.
Community Food and Juice
2893 Broadway between 112th and 113th Sts (212-665-2800, communityrestaurant.com). Subway: 1 to 110th St–Cathedral Pkwy. Average main course: $17. High chairs, booster seats, changing table.
Clinton St Baking Company's UWS sibling is, like its big brother, a popular brunch destination. But just like at Clinton St, there's more to the place than eggs and pancakes. Chef-owner (and dad of three) Neil Kleinberg has designed a dinner menu of global comfort food, from Asian-style rice bowls to matzo-ball soup, destined to please locavores of all ages.
560 Third Ave at 37th St (212-949-5400, dukesnyc.com). Subway: 6 to 33rd St. • 99 E 19th St at Park Ave South (212-260-2922, dukesnyc.com). Subway: 6 to 23rd St. Average main course: $15. High chairs, booster seats, changing table.
At this Southern-accented diner, kids can snuggle up in one of the comfy booths and peruse the pop-culture memorabilia on the walls while waiting for their food. Start everyone off with pulled-pork, beef or chicken sliders or the addictive, warm spinach-and-artichoke dip, then move on to the generously stacked, uncommonly mouthwatering turkey-and-bacon sandwich. A side of creamy mashed potatoes rounds out the perfect cold-weather meal.
432 Union Ave between Devoe St and Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-486-7717, dumontrestaurant.com). Subway: L to Lorimer St; G to Metropolitan Ave. Average main course: $18.
Elegant and snug, this Williamsburg bistro doesn't flaunt its G rating. But that's why parents love coming here: Kids' needs are seen to quickly and patiently, yet grown-ups are the center of attention. Chase one of the rich pasta specials with a soothing Brooklyn towncar cocktail, while your younger dining companions split a helping of the DuMac and Cheese or a moist and messy burger.
The Grey Dog's Coffee
90 University Pl at 12th St (212-414-4739, greydog.com). Subway: L, N, Q, R, 4, 5, 6 to 14 St-Union Sq. • 244 Mulberry St between Prince and Spring Sts (212-966-1060, greydog.com). Subway: 6 to Spring St; N, R to Prince St. • 242 W 16th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (212-229-2345, greydog.com). Subway: A, C, E to 14th St.
If your idea of comfort is diving into a hearty sandwich while listening to Supertramp amid a forgiving background din, then this cafe is for you. Add in a glass of crisp white wine and cookies the size of your head, and you may never want to leave. The joint plies picky eaters with turkey and brie melts, PB& J, juicy burgers and transcendent fries. And they deliver—what's cozier than that?
Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too
366 W 110th St between Manhattan and Columbus Aves (212-865-6744, spoonbreadinc.com). Subway: B, C to 110th St–Cathedral Pkwy. Average main course: $16. High chairs, booster seats.
Across the street from the southern end of Morningside Park, Miss Mamie doles out ample portions of soul food in a diner-like setting. Cornmeal-crusted Louisiana catfish is accented with sides of collard greens and candied yams; North Carolina barbecue ribs also hit the spot. Pecan waffles and fried chicken are available on weekends. Further uptown, find a similar menu at Miss Maude's Spoonbread Too (547 Lenox Ave between 137th and 138th Sts, 212-690-3100, spoonbreadinc.com; subway: 2, 3 to 135th St).
90 Bedford St between Barrow and Grove Sts (212-229-2220, moustachepitza.com). Subway: 1 to Christopher St–Sheridan Sq. • 265 E 10th St between First Ave and Ave A (212-228-2022, moustachepitza.com). Subway: L to First Ave. • 1621 Lexington Ave at 102nd St (212-828-0030, moustachepitza.com). Subway: 6 to 103rd St. Average main course: $15. Cash only. See website for other locations.
It's comfort food, Middle Eastern–style. When ordering here, don't skimp on pitas; the fresh-baked, puffed-up pillows are an ideal accompaniment to smoky, smooth baba ghanoush. The plain-sounding cheese, parsley and egg phyllo roll hides a decadent filling, a molten multiculti mix of mozzarella and feta cheese. And then there are the pitzas: The kid-approved tomato-and-cheese version is a pleasing near-relative of the Italian pizzeria staple.
159 Lexington Ave at 30th St (212-481-3800, penelopenyc.com). Subway: 6 to 28th St. Average sandwich: $10. High chairs, booster seats.
The pretty little caf cranks out BLTs, chicken potpies and hand-cut french fries. Desserts seem tailor-made for kids: The menu even offers milk and cookies.
Rack and Soul
258 W 109th St between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway (212-222-4800, rackandsoul.com). Subway: 1 to 110th St–Cathedral Pkwy. Average main course: $19. Average kids' meal: $8. High chairs, booster seats.
Culinary therapy kicks in as soon as the heaping basket of moist, honey-glazed corn biscuits lands on the table. For maximum tactile pleasure, order the stickiest options on the jam-packed Southern menu: short ribs covered in your choice of mild or spicy BBQ sauce, simple, creamy macaroni and cheese, and huge slices of homemade cake. Trust us: Your crew won't be able to choose between the decadent red velvet and the fluffy coconut-pineapple, so order one of each.
1295 Madison Ave between 92nd and 93rd Sts (212-410-7335, sarabeth.com). Subway: 6 to 96th St. • 423 Amsterdam Ave at 80th St (212-496-6280, sarabeth.com). Subway: 1 to 79th St. Average main course: $18. High chairs. See website for other locations.
Charming Sarabeth's serves a homestyle breakfast, with little-house-in-the-woods menu items to match: Kids can try the Baby Bear—porridge with milk and honey—while parents nosh on the Goldie Lox, a plate of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and cream cheese. Lunch and dinner are equally cozy, with the likes of chicken potpie and house-baked pastries on the menu.
144 Second Ave at 9th St (212-228-9682, veselka.com). Subway: L to Third Ave; 6 to Astor Pl. Average main course: $13. High chairs, booster seats.
A throwback to the artsy East Village of decades past, this 24-hour Ukrainian diner is famous for such authentic savory grub as borscht, kielbasa and pierogi. House-made treats like blintzes, waffles, poppy-seed bread and rice pudding will send your sweet tooth (or toothless sweetie) to heaven.
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