Our 10 Best Father's Day Restaurants in NYC
Barbecue for dad with all the fixin's at Mable's Smokehouse
We've endured Mother's Day, and now Father's Day is upon us. These greeting card holidays are always so depressing! You've got to do something, but you never know quite what. The best thing we can think of is to take your male parental unit (or units if you've got two dads) and go out for a magnificent meal. The problem is that all the obvious places will be mobbed. Here are a few out-of-the-way and possibly not so crowded suggestions. Still, try to reserve early.
10. If you lived in the suburbs, you could host a barbecue for dad. But you don't and you can't. Perhaps even better would be a visit to one of the city's excellent barbecues. Wearing its Oklahoma influences on its sleeve, Mable's Smokehouse is one of our best. The brisket is way smoky and so are the pork ribs, and the sides are much better than they need to be. But if they're offering it this Sunday, the hot links are a little bit of heaven. It's serve yourself, and there are plenty of big tables to accommodate families. 44 Berry Street, Brooklyn, 718-218-6655
9. Nothing better for a dad with Hispanic roots (or anyone who loves zesty, garlicky flavors) to go to a Spanish restaurant, especially an out-of-the-way sleeper like El Mio Cid. Tapas both hot and cold are available in profusion and at cheap prices: the crock-borne chorizo arrives bubbling in olive oil, the Galician-style octopus is soft as glove leather, and the grilled sardines - three to a plate - are plumper than you've ever seen before. Red and white sangrias flow like waterfalls. 50 Starr Street, Brooklyn, 718-628-8300
8. If pops is a spicy food fanatic (and we know several who are), or of Southeast Asian heritage, consider one of Queens' easy-to-get-to Thai restaurants, say Chao Thai. There he can enjoy one of the great Isaan sour-sausage bar snacks, served with raw ginger and chiles, and wash it down with, say, a Chang Beer, then follow it up with an incendiary jungle curry (shown above). Vegetarian options also available. 85-03 Whitney Avenue, Queens, 718-424-4999
7. There is a sort of paternalistic gemutlichkeit that only a German restaurant can provide, including big foamy steins of beer, waitresses cinched up in dirndls, and Bavarian sausages that seem intended to remind dad of his masculine anatomy. Heidelberg is the Upper East Side's last Teutonic haven, and it would make a nice retreat for the right kind of dad. 1648 Second Avenue, 212-628-2332
6. If dad is outdoorsy and loves the smell of burning wood, Beacon might be a good choice. The two-level dining room is handsome and expansive, with all sorts of semi-private nooks and crannies. Available till 3pm (the restaurant is closed for dinner on Sunday), the brunch menu runs to things like wood-roasted fruit with French toast; grilled shimp, eggs, and grits; and the celebrated Beacon hamburger. 25 W. 56th Street, 212-332-0500
5. If you can say "I've got two dads," maybe Julius is the place for you. This bar with excellent hamburgers was one of Greenwich Village's earliest gay institutions, and sports covers of Mattachine Society publications on the walls of the rear room. If you don't know what that is, please bone up. 159 West 10th Street, 212-243-1928
4. Dim Sum has always provided the ultimate Chinese family meal, whether your dad is Asian or not. There sits dad at a big table, surrounded by friends and family, chatting agreeably while munching on small plates of dumplings, bowls of congee, and luscious plates of greens. Thus can an hour or two be pleasantly whiled away at New Spring Garden, with a bill that barely breaks $10 per person. 912 65th Street, Brooklyn, 718-680-2278
3. If you father is a health nut, vegetarian, member of a family that originated in South Asia, or an out-and-out foodie, Sapthagiri ("Seven Hills") -- an easy PATH train ride away in Jersey City - may be the place for him. Thrill to dosas in a dozen permutations, Mughal vegetable dishes both spicy and bland, and wonderful potato fritters called aloo bonda, washed down with lager, if he wishes. 804 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ, 201-533-8400
2. Whether your dad is Irish or not, an Irish bar can provide the sort of low-key relaxing Father's Day that you're looking for. In case you haven't noticed, this sort of institution in slightly upscale form has recently blanketed the city, providing expanded gastropub menus that are delicious but unchallenging. One of our faves is Galway Hooker, where the placemats are emblazoned with Irish literary figures, and the name of the place may or may not elicit a snicker from your old man. (A hooker is a small boat.) 133 Seventh Avenue South,212-725-2164
1. Ancient chophouse Keens has been a dad spot for over 125 years, a warren of rooms filled with antiques and subdued lighting, festooned with Dutch clay pipes and screaming newspaper headlines proclaiming ancient theater triumphs and the death of Abraham Lincoln. The mutton chop is a justly celebrated specialty, and there's no better meat course in town for father. 72 West 36th Street, 212-947-3636
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