It’s time for reader questions again! This month, I’m responding to emails that may initially seem specific to their senders, but will certainly apply to a good portion of Where to Eat readers, including where to take a crew with many dietary restrictions and how you a 10 year old in the world of dining in New York. If you have a restaurant question – or your own recommendations – send an email to wheretoeat., and your answer can be seen here.
Vegetable graduation dinner
I’m looking for a plant-based restaurant in NYC to celebrate my daughter’s graduation from medical school! Eight people, two of whom are gluten-free, one of whom (the graduate) is also allergic to almonds and walnuts, and prefers a plant-based diet. The rest of us are more omnivores, but not super-adventurous guys. We are all Covid aware so outside would be a bonus. I want to make this especially for her. – Barbara H.
This isn’t the only graduation email I’ve received (to another reader, Lori G., Hwa Yuan in Chinatown is a great idea), but it’s a refreshing challenge. Congratulations to your daughter on graduating and congratulations on the outdoor dining reservation you are about to make Bar Primic in the East Village (I called and, yes, they can seat eight outside). The only sign of walnuts or almonds is in two of the salads, and vegetable-centric options are all over the menu: beets with pistachio pesto; burrata with peperonata; broccolini with Italian dressing. Best of all, there are gluten-free versions of their many, many pasta dishes. Adventurous or not, who doesn’t love pasta! (If you want to go all-in for plant-based dining, check out my list of vegan eating recommendations.)
Dining with older children
I have a friend who is taking her 10 year old son to NYC for the first time. She’s asked me for food recommendations, but I don’t have kids and can’t tell her the best kid-friendly places. Any suggestions? — Kari S.
I recently enjoyed brunch with family friends and their 7 year old at ?. Penny Bridge in Long Island City, Queens, where the elementary school student in question loved the double chocolate waffles with caramelized bananas and the silky scrambled eggs with cheese. (There’s also a children’s menu with crayons!) And if going to Queens isn’t an option, your friend can always count on the pancakes and breakfast platters at bubbies in TriBeCa.
As for dinner, any child or adult will love the brick oven pizza at John’s of Bleecker St., open since 1929, in the West Village. That’s pizza with a side of history! There’s also the option to dig into an overflowing bowl of ramen at Hide Chan in Midtown East. And I assume a visit to the incomparable American Museum of Natural History is involved, so I recommend having lunch or dinner at Han dynasty on the Upper West Side, where there are plenty of kid-friendly favorites like fried rice and scallion pancakes, in addition to adult-friendly options like mapo tofu.
Top class salads
I would like to know: Where in the city are you going to eat a nice salad? — Yaniv K.
My first thought: the insalata verde at Via Carota in the West Village. But there’s also what Pete Wells called “the one and only kale salad” at barbuto, also in the West Village. And I’ve never had a badly chopped salad at Lion in Williamsburg. Pietro’s in Midtown East still serves the platonic ideal of a Caesar salad after all this time, and at Regina’s Grocery Store on the Lower East Side — across the street from the vegan Caesar at Scarr’s Pizza – you can still turn any of their sandwiches into an above average salad. Genius! And one of the editors of this newsletter, Tanya Sichynsky, said I would be remiss not to include it Thai Diner’s lane salad with crispy rice, avocado and a hint of herbs, which you will find in NoLIta.
In other news…
“This isn’t food you settle for if you don’t have a better idea,” writes Pete Wells in his review of the new fast-casual restaurant. Violent Rooster† “It’s the better idea.”
Openings: Prepared dishes and a buffet are the attractions at Ana Bar & Eaterywho replaced Citarella at Hudson Yards; Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplacea new Caribbean-focused dining room opens in Brooklyn; Oiji Mi offers a Korean fusion tasting menu near the Flatiron neighborhood; and more.
Celebrity chef Mario Batali was found not guilty of indecent assault and assault during a 2017 encounter with a woman at a Boston bar, Kim Severson reports.
Victoria Petersen reported on the bush pilots delivering Uber Eats and DoorDash orders, along with packages and supplies, to people living in remote parts of Alaska.
Is the Dirty Shirley the drink of the summer? Becky Hughes reports on the drink’s spread in New York City bars.
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