When Your Dad is Cooler Than You

Monday Musings by Melinda M.

My dad is 83. He is one of those people who make you say “83 is the new 63.” He’s always been cool in the sense that my friends always enjoyed being around him probably because he engaged them like the young adults we saw ourselves as, even when our gawkiness said otherwise.

He’s also always been a foodie. But not a foodie in the was-this-locally-sourced-kind of way but in the this-food-tastes-so-good-AND-they-let-you-bring-your-own-wine-kind of way. I remember how relatives, friends, and friends of relatives would often call our rotary phone long distance at $.10/minute saying they were coming to NYC and could he give them some recommendations on where to eat? He was like the original Yelp!, I guess!

So on my recent trip to NY, a highlight for both of us was where we would eat. Not only did he not disappoint but he and his girlfriend impressed me with their rock star status everywhere we went: from neighborhood eatery to you-need-a-reservation-a-month-in-advance kind of restaurant, we were welcomed like Norm from Cheers!.

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My dad and Carol: rock stars of the NYC restaurant scene

First night: Lusardi’s. A lovely Italian restaurant in their Upper East Side neighborhood, Lusardi’s was quietly elegant with attentive service by professional waiters who served full flavored, authentic meals. It was my lucky day because truffle risotto was the special appetizer. Yes, please! At my dad’s urging, I inquired about an after dinner drink not on the menu. They happened to have it and, impressed with our knowledge of the Italian liquore, they gave it to us on the house. Grazie!

Lusardi's web page

Next: Upland. This Gramercy Park restaurant was humming at dinner! As my dad’s girlfriend pointed out, we were probably the oldest people in the place! My favorite dish was the crispy duck wings appetizer – it was to die for. Since they have become friends with the manager, she sent over Upland’s special seasonal heirloom tomato salad on the house. So fresh, so good!

Upland web page

Then: Tenth Avenue Cookshop. We treated ourselves here after our visit to the Whitney Museum and a walk along the High Line. We were about 30 minutes late for our reservation but Carol worked her New York magic and got us seated despite the trendy crowd jostling for position at the door. The food was so fresh and accessible and our server – who might have been the manager – was such a slice of New York. We had a delightful meal by the open window and were treated to the burrata salad on the house simply because I asked about that appetizer but opted not to order it. It. Was. Fabulous.

Cookshop web page

Then: ABC Cocina. Dad and Carol were very excited to take me to here, even if our schedule demanded we go for lunch instead of dinner. This eclectically designed restaurant was superb. Everything we ordered – and it is family-style – was out-of-this-world fantastic. It is one of the trendier restaurants in the city and of course, my dad and Carol know the chef so we were treated to something from the menu but I cannot recall what at this point. All I can recall are those melt-in-your-mouth crab fritters…

ABC Cocina web page

Finally: Loring Place. I was shamefully late to our Friday dinner reservation that Carol secured only 4 days in advance because they know the chef, who was chatting with them at our table when I rushed in. I felt doubly embarrassed, like I was walking in late to his house! Here was another place humming with good looking, young people enjoying high quality, delicious food. And here were my dad and Carol, holding court with the chef, manager, sommelier and others who were happy to see them.

Loring Place web page

While it was fun getting a sense of what it’s like to be in the presence of a quasi-celebrity, it was better to get a glimpse into my dad’s life and see how well loved he and Carol are. Salut!

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