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Buzzin’ Around NYC W/ Adam: Family Dinners

Posted Thursday, July 1st, 2010 at 12:51 pm by Adam in Cultural Bees. More in 10023

Telepan, Upper West Side

One of the great things about living in New York is the food. One of the worst things is the price of that food. What’s a young, perpetually broke New Yorker to do? Well, have the parents come in to take you out, of course. My parents live in Jersey, so they can do this often. And we have some family favorites that always leave us satisfied.

Last night, my parents came in and took me, my sister, my cousin and my aunt out to dinner at Telepan on the Upper West Side. It’s one of my parents’ favorite places. Telepan even hosts a special Hanukkah dinner on the Jewish holiday, providing some of the best latkes (potato pancakes) you’ll ever have. They offer a menu that changes seasonally, so if you space out your visits, you’re bound to encounter new, delicious food every time. Last night, we agreed that the smoked brook trout appetizer, the pea pancakes, and the wild sockeye salmon were among the best dishes, topped off with Telepan’s take on a s’more: a brownie topped with a toasted marshmallow and graham cracker ice cream. I rolled home.

Another family favorite is Apiary in the East Village. Their Peking Duck Breast may be the best plate of anything I’ve had in the city: like the most tender, richest, juiciest steak you’ve ever known. The dishes are beautifully presented, and my family loves to end the meal with tea and the restaurant’s selection of artisanal honey.

An old standby is Gotham Bar & Grill. On the pricier side of this list, we go there a lot for special occasions like birthdays and graduations. It’s a New York City institution, around since 1984, and the menu, thankfully, is as excellent as it was back then. The Miso-marinated black cod and the New York strip steak with vidalia onion rings are my favorites.

If you’re a fan of Top Chef, you probably recognize Marcus Samuelsson for his win on Top Chef Masters. My family’s known about Marcus for a while, from the Swedish restaurant he co-owns, Aquavit. My parents love the herring selection. I lean towards the Swedish meatballs. The restaurant offers an excellent brunch, with gravlox and other Swedish delectables. My Dad had his 60th birthday here.

To round out this list, and my stomach, I can’t fail to mention two more casual places my family loves (and your parents can treat you to) Carmine’s, the family-style Italian joint in the theater district, and the 2nd Ave. Deli, in Murray Hill. If my parents are seeing a show, or we’ve got the whole family together and need a big place to fit us all, Carmine’s never disappoints. All the red sauce dishes are great, and filling, and the chicken marsala goes quickly. The new location of the 2nd Ave. Deli (no longer on 2nd Ave.) is a lot smaller than the old, but the deli sandwiches are still big– two people can easily share one. Their matzo ball and mushroom barley soups warm your soul, and they’ll even give you a free shot of chocolate soda (my mom’s favorite) at the end of the meal. Just don’t order a ham and cheese: this deli’s strictly kosher.

So invite your parents to the city and take them to dinner. Their treat.

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