Dear Grub Street,
So my college graduation ceremony is taking place in Madison Square Garden in less than a month and I need a suggestion for lunch around 2:30 for six people. As an amateur foodie, I’d usually have no problem picking a place if it weren’t for my family, who bring many stipulations to the table, so to speak: must be close-ish to MSG/Port Authority, must be handicap-accessible with seating arrangements that can accommodate, err, larger people, must take reservations, and must not be “ethnic” (that’s my two-star major-general grandfather speaking).
Sure, blame the family! We’ve heard that one before. But Grub Street is here to ease your plight, whatever its cause. We are assuming that you mean MSG/Penn Station, and that does make it hard. (If it were the Port Authority, we’d pack you and yours off to Carmine’s for massive portions of spaghetti and meatballs.) The nonethnic imperative means nearby Koreatown is out — which may be for the best, since you didn’t say which war the general served in. The fact is, in MSG’s neighborhood, you have only two real choices, and they both involve steak. Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse is actually right in the Garden itself and fits all of your criteria, from taking reservations to accommodating the portly. But though good, it’s pretty generic, and it being a special day and all, we would recommend walking the couple of blocks over to Keens, an old-school New York institution that you’ll always remember, with this added bonus: When you look at your diploma in future years, you will always think of mutton chops.
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