Park Slope bars may still be fighting the war on babies, but many upscale Manhattan eateries have decided that allowing children is their ticket to winning over the hearts and wallets of the city's parents. Shivani Vora at the Times said she noticed an uptick in tots at Fred's in Barney's one day, a surprise after repeatedly frequenting "family friendly" restaurants where the staff didn't even help her with her stroller. She decided to take her two-year-old on a test of some of the city's finest restaurants to see what the staff would do were they faced with client who may prefer buttered spaghetti to truffle aioli. The results? People are actually nice.
Gramercy Tavern offers a stroller check-in and free milk and cookies to anyone under three, and have some kid-friendly menu items like meatballs for $18 and bacon and cheddar biscuits for $4. L’atelier De Joel Robuchon gets a little pricier, charging $25 for sliders with fries or $32 for spaghetti with tomato sauce. But kids are also presented with a free Beanie Baby and use of a portable DVD player with a selection of childrens movies. The DVD players are doubly fun for other patrons, who get to listen to toddlers cry every time Donkey and Shrek escape the dragon alive.
Indian restaurant Vermillion may win for volume of kid-friendly food, with Mini-thalis free for anyone under 5 that come with naan, rice, daal and kebab. They will also tone down the spiciness of their food to suit younger palates. Vora decided to celebrate her daughter's 2nd birthday at Café Boulud, where she chowed down on goat-cheese risotto balls and spaghetti with fleur de sel butter, which sounds better than what most adults feed themselves 95% of the time. Will this new acceptance mean a permanent kiddie stronghold in the city's fine restaurants? Where will the non-breeders, or the parents on a date looking to get away from kids go? At least they'll always have Union Hall.