Parents coming to the city and you don't want to just treat them to a burrito at your noisy neighborhood Mexican restaurant? Whether you're looking to impress your folks from out of town, or celebrating a special occasion like Father's Day or Mother's Day, these NYC restaurants and bars are guaranteed to do the trick.
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NYC restaurants and bars to take parents
Chris Jaeckle, New York Eater's 2014 "Chef of the Year," refracts Venetian cuisine through a Japanese lens at this 80-seat eatery. Introduce the 'rents to NYC fusion with house-made tortellini in Parmesan dashi with ricotta dumplings; roasted strip loin with mostarda and Parmesan potatoes; and crispy suckling pig. The all-Italian wine program is more traditional, spotlighting sparkling varieties (prosecco, soave) from the country’s northern regions.
Want views of the park without paying Per Se prices? A Voce's sleek uptown outpost has a solid menu and service that even the most demanding patriarch/matriarch won't complain about. Roasted chicken with prosciutto, maitake mushrooms and Castelvetrano olive puree is a gastronomical triumph. The folks will marvel at your sophistication when you name-check the massive Frank Stella mixed-media piece Juam that currently hangs near the host stand, from owner Marlon Abela's collection.
Parents addicted to the Food Network will love this 130-seat Noho canteen from celebutoque Bobby Flay. From a fan-baiting open kitchen, Flay dispatches Mediterranean-influenced plates like mushroom-kale-and-egg paella, lamb tenderloin with salsa verde, and oven-blistered chicken with goat cheese and dandelion.
Take your mom and pop to the high seas on Mark Firth’s (Marlow & Sons, Diner) award-winning oyster boat, the historic Sherman Zwicker schooner. The open-air bar is perfect for crudo and cocktails like the mint-and-cucumber Stonecutter Highball or the Negroni Sbagliato (Campari, prosecco, sweet vermouth).
If your parents' idea of fine dining is white tablecloths, hushed tones and Belle Époque decor, Daniel will prove that it's possible to embrace the 21st century without losing any of the big-night-out experience. After a vibrant redesign by Adam Tihany in 2008, the surroundings are now as fresh as the seasonally changing menu, which might include such starters as chilled oysters with fennel mouselline. Entree portions are unusually generous; the "Duo of Beef" includes Imperial Wagyu tenderloin with gourgane crèpe, smoked bone marrow, fava beans and bordelaise jus, and Black Angus short ribs with chermoula-carrot mousseline.
Give your parents a taste of old New York at one of the city’s most celebrated saloons. Taking its name from a 19th-century New York gang whose intimidating emblem was a hare nailed to a pike, the space is unapologetically authentic, with 175 varieties of Irish whiskey adorning the walls, and 75 different cocktails courtesy of America’s father of mixology, Jerry Thomas, on the menu. The Red Cup is a brilliantly ruby cobbler—a type of fruity drink popular in Thomas’s day—composed of calvados, port wine, cucumber and red currant.
Whether your folks are from Peoria or Portland, you'll want to take them to a quintessential New York deli, and this Lower East Side survivor is the real deal. They might get a kick out of the famous faces plastered on the paneled walls, or the spot where Meg Ryan faked it, but the real stars of this cavernous cafeteria are the thick-cut pastrami sandwiches and the crisp-skinned all-beef hotdogs.
What would a parental outing in NYC be without pizza? Skip the dollar slices, and grab rustic Roman pies at restaurant mogul Danny Meyer’s famed pizzeria inside the Martha Washington Hotel. Inspired by the thin, crackly crusts of the Italian capital, patrons can find favorites like Margherita and Napoletana alongside experimental seasonal pies, including one with spring greens, and another with pecorino, crumbled potato and crispy guanciale. For additional options, look for beef short rib, beer-brined chicken and butterflied trout saltimbocca presented on hand-painted ceramic dishes and custom-made butcher blocks.
You may have to book the early-bird sitting at Keith McNally's smoking-hot reinvention of this early-20th-century literati hangout, but your parents probably won't mind. The price of the prime-beef Black Label Burger ($28) may make them wince, but as tender and fatty as foie gras, it's worth every penny. Still skeptical? Order the Minetta Burger for a mere $20.
Audrey Saunders’s imperial Pegu Club is still the gold standard for some of the city’s finest cocktails. The design of Pegu's parent-friendly space—subdued, and quieter than your average barroom—was inspired by a British officer's club in Yangon (formerly Rangoon). Steer your folks toward the eponymous house drink, a sweet-and-sour blend of gin, bitters, fresh lime juice and orange curaçao, or the Earl Grey MarTEAni, a tipsy take on afternoon tea, with Earl Grey–infused gin and lemon juice frothed with egg white.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que - Harlem
At this famed roadhouse, tykes can enjoy "dino" sliders ($4 each) made with pulled pork or brisket. The eatery scores extra points by offering temporary T. rex tattoos to children.
Venue says: “Harlem Dinosaur has a Happy Hour! Every Mon-Fri from 3pm-7pm at the bar. Check out our website for $2-$6 happy hour specials”