While Jay and I particularly enjoyed pinching pennies at Manhattan’s finest holes-in-the-wall, there were occasions where the pendulum swung the other way. Take, for example, the dinners that we shared with Jay’s parents, who were coincidentally visiting New York at the same time. Lovely and easygoing as they are, I couldn’t imagine digging into chicken and rice with them in some dingy corner of the city (as amazing as that sounds…). It just wouldn’t do. The situation called for real, sit-down restaurants, with ambiance, class, and a discernible lack of drunk people puking in trashcans by the front door. (Not that that ever happened, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility, right?)
Anyway. Twice in New York, Jay and I put on our best business-casual and headed out to respectable establishments for Dinner with the Parents. We had delicious Peruvian at Pio Pio and to-die-for Greek at Pylos. The wine flowed, the family feasted.
Jay’s family friends chose this immensely popular Peruvian mini-chain for a reunion dinner. Their Hell’s Kitchen location is absolutely stunning, though not perfect; the gorgeous vaulted ceilings and tiled walls, while spectacular, create an acoustic atmosphere too loud for group conversation. That’s totally fine, however, considering that we could only really focus on the fantastic food anyway. There wasn’t a single bad dish to be found. Service, too, was unsurprisingly polished at such a well-oiled machine of a restaurant. When a server and ill-timed movements resulted in water splashing across the table, they replaced a ruined, half-finished plate with a brand-new, full-sized order. You can bet your bottom dollar that we pushed past our uncomfortable fullness and ate it all. Delicious.
Pio Pio (multiple locations)
604 10th Ave
New York, NY 10036
When it came time for Jay and I to choose the location ourselves for a Dinner with the Parents, I agonized (and I really mean agonized) over where to go. I carefully considered genre, ambiance, location, price range, so on and so forth, to determine an appropriate restaurant. After changing my mind about a dozen times, I settled on Pylos: a popular, but not trendy, Greek restaurant in the East Village. It turned out to be the perfect venue, as later confirmed by my friends who regularly bring family there too.
From the outset, Pylos is primed to steal the hearts of parents. The space is tastefully decorated with white-washed walls that recall seaside villages and (seismically unsound) terracotta pots suspended from the ceiling. The waitstaff were just as charming, attending to our every need and warming up the ‘rents with small talk. Although the dishes themselves aren’t “exciting” or “hip,” per se, there’s something to be said about traditional, delicious food. Pylos’ Greek cuisine struck the perfect balance between authentic, homestyle cooking and upscale, conscientious preparation. Healthy, wholesome, and heaping in portion size, it made for one incredibly satisfying dinner. At the end of the night, all six of us stumbled out of the restaurant happily wined and dined.
128 E 7th St
New York, NY 10009