9 E. 18th St., near Broadway
This quintessential family restaurant is a sprawling, noisy
Union Square institution with a Statue of Liberty motif and
kiddie favorites like sliders and macaroni and cheese. A transcontinental
menu includes spicy buffalo-chicken sandwiches from New York,
poached-pear-and-blue-cheese salads from Illinois, mixed seafood
gumbo from the Deep South, and grilled-vegetable enchiladas
from out West. Weekend brunches are especially popular with
kids, with a magician and a balloon artist. (I–M)
2290 Broadway, near 83rd St.
With deliciously gruff deli waitresses who seem like they’ve
been working the counter for decades, it’s hard to believe
Artie’s is only four years old. The menu is a child’s
dream—fries, chicken fingers, grilled cheese—and
the signature kids’ treat, a hot dog wrapped in a knish,
is for the more adventurous. Free dishes of pickles (garlic
and half-sours, with peppers, too) come before the meal, and
you can order a slice of birthday cake even if it’s
not your birthday. (I–M)
||Macaroni and Cheese
116 E. 27th St.
These days, most restaurants gussy up their mac
and cheese with fancy ingredients like Gruyère
and Black Forest ham. But Blue Smoke’s ultra-creamy
version, made from American and cheddar cheeses,
is deliciously lowbrow (think fancy Stouffer’s)
and comes as part of an $8.95 prix fixe kids’
menu that can include hushpuppies and ice cream.
270 Columbus Ave., near 72nd St.
A glass-enclosed sidewalk charmer, the awkwardly named @SQC
welcomes children of all ages. A baby-food menu (we swear)
accompanies regular items like crispy chicken, soups, and
Belgian-style frites. Adults love Scott Quentin Campbell’s
inventive drinks (the Celebration Cocktail is raspberry-flavored
Stoli vodka, champagne, pomegranate juice, and mint) and beautifully
presented dishes (miso cod, grilled duck breast with blood-orange
sauce). The restaurant’s signature “life in a
cup” hot chocolate is so rich it’s on both the
drink and the dessert menus. (M–E)
Barking Dog NYC
1678 Third Ave., at 94th St.
1453 York Ave., at 77th St.
150 E. 34th St., near Third Ave.
With a fun canine theme that includes doggy watering fountains
outside, these comfort-food eateries appeal to the stroller
set as well as to older kids. The mostly American menu of
salads, sandwiches, and dishes like meat loaf and pot roast
also offers a few British staples, such as fish and chips
and shepherd’s pie. Beware: Weekend brunch lines stretch
around the corner. (I–M)
25 W. 56th St., near Fifth Ave.
The rotisserie and grill show at chef Waldy Malouf’s
open-fire kitchen will thrill your kids. Younger tykes can
color away, while chef wannabes view the action up close.
So no one gets cranky, waitstaff bring kiddie amuse-bouches
of pizza or French fries right away. Kids 9 and under eat
free and can order from their own “Little People Menu.”
All will love the spit-roasted ten-herb chicken, wood-roasted
lamb T-bone, and fabulous house-baked breads. (E)
120 E. 56th St., near Lexington Ave.
47 W. 56th St., near Sixth Ave.
Long before Iron Chef taught us just how quick-handed
knife-wielding Japanese cooks can be, there were the lickety-split
tableside cooking shows that are still the main draw at these
teppanyaki steakhouses. Your chef might flip a shrimp into
his hat or build a volcano from onion rings doused with water.
They have an award-winning kids’ menu and pint-size
chopsticks for preteen purists. (M–VE)
Big City Bar & Grill
1600 Third Avenue, at 90th St.
Give thanks to Big City Grill, which, in cooperation with
PlayDine, has created a gigantic supervised play space for
children ages 1 to 9: After dinner, kids can run around, climb,
and play games until you’ve enjoyed your last civilized
sip of coffee. There’s a kids’ menu with typical
chicken-finger fare. Adults get the popcorn and fajita versions
plus other choices like grilled Atlantic salmon and pork chops.
116 E. 27th St., near Lexington Ave.
The inimitable Danny Meyer has brought sophisticated down-home
barbecue to Manhattan. Order the brisket or pulled-pork sandwich
with a side of sweet-potato fries. Hamburgers and chocolate
cake are knockouts. (M)
216 Eighth Ave., at 21st St.
Plant your kids on the counter stools at this quirky Chelsea
restaurant, and watch the chefs in the open kitchen dole out
humongous platters of Mexican-Asian fusion cuisine. Breakfast
is a winner. Try the huevos rancheros, with two layers of
soft tortilla, eggs, and a mass of black beans, sour cream,
cilantro, and melted cheese. (M)