Thanks to all who chimed in with suggestions for our family trip last week. We managed to cover a fair bit of ground with our chowpup preschoolers in tow (they are mercifully both great eaters and walkers!) - Locanda Verde, Dell'anima, Mermaid Inn, Murray's, Grey Dog, Terroir on the Highline, Bubby's, Blue Ribbon Sushi and Izakaya, Shake Shack, Eataly, Food Court under the Plaza. For treats - Doughnut Plant, Economy Candy, L'Arte del Gelato, Kaffe 1668 and random ice cream vendors. And for coffee - Abraco, Third Rail, Stumptown, Kaffe 1668, Vita, Joe's (West Village and Union Square).
If I were to meld the best of the best tastes into a composite meal, it would look something like this - crostini with soft scrambled eggs (dell'anima) and the focaccia with caramelized onions (Locanda Verde), beef short rib and chicken thigh with scallion skewers and the flight of vegetables (Blue Ribbon Izakaya - I could eat those spicy sprouts for days...), Kyuri special roll (Blue Ribbon Izakaya), arugula salad with lemon and pecorino (dell'anima),a Shack burger (Shake Shack), almost any of the pasta dishes from dell'anima but if I had to choose, let's say the tagliatelle bolognese and the garganelli with chanterelles, almonds, scallions and parmigiano (dell'anima), the arctic char with fava beans, corn and a light tarragon sauce (Mermaid Inn) and the corn with garlic, scallions and aleppo pepper from dell'anima (stellar). For dessert, I'd probably go with ricotta pancakes with meyer lemon curd and blueberries (Locanda Verde), a vanilla bean yeast donut with strawberry jam (Doughnut Plant) and an americano (Abraco). And I would have this entire meal while seating in the serene space of Kaffe 1668 (the new location). Ah yes, that would be perfect (a lot of food but perfect).
We felt pretty comfortable with our kids just about everywhere but had exceptionally friendly service at Grey Dog (Chelsea location - 3 women behind the counter were super friendly), Doughnut Plant (Chelsea - plus kids LOVED the bathroom there, like walking into a disco ball), Blue Ribbon Sushi and Izakaya (our waitress Nodd was so lovely), Locanda Verde, Stumptown and Kaffe 1668. Mermaid Inn has the chocolate pudding and fortune-telling fish plus crayons and paper, all fun for the kids, but I found the service a bit cool. We weren't uncomfortable at dell'anima but it definitely has an adult vibe, even at 6.
Abraco, while not quite as good as I remember from past visits, still has the best americano by far. They know not to add too much water and they give a lot of love and respect for the crema. Oh, and their olive oil cake is always wonderfully moist and delicious. Kaffe 1668 was my favourite find of the trip - so beautiful in there, we went twice. Loved the chocolate with peanut butter as well. Great iced americano (same with Stumptown).
Most disappointing meal was Terroir on the Highline - and I'm a huge fan of Paul Grieco (good ol' Toronto boy!) and Hearth. They just dial it in there - overpriced, mediocre food. We tried about 7 dishes and there wasn't one thing we really enjoyed. Also didn't love their beer selection. Never again.
I wished I would have had more time to explore Eataly - handsome space, love the various options and the fluidity of the set-up. Some of the dishes from the cooked veggie counter looked particularly wonderful, and especially this time of year with local veggies. I also think the food court under the Plaza is a fun option to hit up a bunch of NYC highlights in a small space - Billy's Bakery, Luke's Lobster, La Maison du Chocolat, Sushi of Gari, Francois Payard, etc.
All in all, another great, delicious trip to New York. Thanks to all who chimed in with wonderful suggestions. Look forward to returning soon!