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.
My husband and I are visiting New York soon and need a recommendation for a dinner with some long-lost friends and our college-age kids. All like to eat, but the problem is that some members of our party of 10 or so are vegetarians or pescatarians, while at least one is a carnivore who absolutely hates vegetables and fish. Looking for an interesting restaurant in Manhattan or Brooklyn that can accommodate all of their preferences. Thanks!
Dining Party of Diverse Tastes
Believe it or not, the contending culinary desires of your group are not so unusual today, especially when generations are mixed at the dining table. But your flexibility as to day, time, and borough make your question a relatively easy one. Nevertheless, I’m going to suggest a place where reservations are accepted and the food can definitely be described as “interesting” — and take you up on your offer to dine in Brooklyn, where the restaurant scene is more laid back.
The perfect cuisine for you is Sicilian. It has seafood, it has meat, and it has vegetables in abundance, including strictly vegetarian (and even vegan) apps and entrees. Painted with wall-size murals of island landscapes, Joe’s of Avenue U is one of the city’s oldest and most venerable Sicilian restaurants, located in the Gravesend neighborhood. It’s originally a British colonial village that’s worth a look in itself, so arrive early. The restaurant sits under the F tracks right at the Avenue U stop, so it’s easy to get to, located at 287 Avenue U between McDonald Avenue and Lake Street.
And what a great menu! The minute you get in the door you’ll see a lavish display of vegetables and seafood available for carryout, just the thing to whet the appetite of most of your party. Vegetarians will adore the eggplant parm, stuffed artichoke, and panelles, which are chickpea fritters that look like raviolis. For pescatarians, one crowd-pleaser is fried calamari, done more perfectly here than elsewhere, but there’s also octopus salad and spaghetti with sea urchin. And your carnivore will love the pork chops in white wine, veal rollatini, and plain old roast beef with potato fritters.
Wine and beer is available, too, and let me know how you liked your meal at Joe’s of Avenue U.