Welcome to Ask Eater, a column from Eater New York where the site’s editors, reporters, and critics answer specific or baffling restaurant requests from readers and friends. A new question and answer will run every Thursday. Have a question for us? Submit your question in this form.
We are going to NYC for an overnight trip. We love to eat; we also have two young children, ages five and seven. They are remarkably well-behaved (we feel), and have been exposed to numerous noteworthy restaurants here and abroad. This may be a vague question, but we're looking for an interesting, memorable, and unique dining experience. The children are not particularly fond of Mediterranean or Indian food, reservations would be highly preferred, and price really doesn’t matter — otherwise we are game for most other things. Last year we went to Mission Chinese Food, and we all loved it. Something along those lines/vibe. Thanks for any info!!!
Adventuresome Fare With Kids
I congratulate you on having kids who are adventuresome diners! That makes my job of recommendation so much more interesting. I can’t tell you how many parents have told me, “My kids will only eat pizza.” Not that that’s a bad thing: It sure makes it easier (and cheaper) to feed them.
Your question caused my mind to race through several possibilities, including a Mexican place that specializes in handmade antojitos, a Thai restaurant with lots of unusual (but not too spicy) regional fare, and a long-running Japanese brasserie that concentrates on seasonal dishes rather than recognizable standards.
Instead I picked an older spot, but one with lots of excitement and a bit of New York City glitz, right in the Theater District. Victor’s Café is a Cuban restaurant founded in 1963, when expats flooded the city after the Cuban Revolution. The room is elegant and multilevel, and piano music often fills the room from an adjacent cocktail lounge. It’s like being in Ricky Ricardo’s nightclub in I Love Lucy.
Presented on handsome china, the food runs from seafood salads and stuffed avocadoes to such Cuban standards as ropa vieja (shredded beef), lechon asado (roast pig with a crackling skin), and pargo (red snapper filet served with plantains, fufu, and sofrito). And what kid doesn’t love roast chicken and black beans with rice?
Let me know if you like Victor’s Café, and thanks for your question.