The Dining Out Dilemma

Dear Shop, Eat and Sleep:

My parents are in town and I would love to take them  out for a really nice dinner  but,  it's been a pretty rough year for me financially. Would you be able to suggest a place to eat that is very New York without the New York prices?

-Broke in the City

Dear BITC,

When things are faltering financially, we can easily forget the beauty of family. Here's the great thing about my hometown, eating out isn't as expensive as we would like to think that it is.  There is an abundance of inexpensive restaurants that have great ambiance, great service and great food.The key is to go for prixe-fixe. You can't go wrong with a set menu and set pricing. You didn't mention if your parents had specific request but first up I would suggest you scan all the restaurants participating in Restaurant Week. From now until August 15th you can dine at a varying lists of restaurants at lunchtime for $25 and at dinner for $38. My favorite spot on that list has to be Blue Smoke, which has got to be the fanciest barbecue joints in the States.  If BBQ is a little to casual, head over to Cafe Espanol, my go to place for the best sangria and paella in the New World.  With two locations in the West Village, one on Carmine Street the other on Bleecker, both locations have an amazing menu that doesn't brutalize your pockets. If your parents are seafood lovers try to take advantage of their Monday Night Lobster special for $19.95, they will love it. Also, try to get their during  happy hour where you can get a pitcher of Sangria for $10.  Now if your 'rents are not really crazy about seafood, they can still get  a 3 course meal for $21.95 that will blow their socks off. Even better and cheaper is lunch which goes for $12.95 during the week and $14.95 during the weekend.

Everyone loves Chinese and if you are in Midtown, head to either Ginger's or Chef Yu. The menu  is simple, it taste great and the $4.50 drink specials are the highlight of the night.  Last, for a beautiful cozy experience that your parents can just enjoy on their own or with you, head to the Upper West Side for Arte Cafe. When you think New York, Arte Cafe is just that. Located in a brownstone on a sleepy street, whether you dine in the main room or the outdoors, your family will have an amazing experience.

Have fun and remember family is first.