Team SpoCOOL might not know if a restaurant is kid friendly or not, but Sarah does. Here is another one of her musings. .
As someone who likes to eat out and the parent of an almost two-year-old, I've become things it never occurred to me I would: a student of children's menus, a comparer of high chairs, and someone who judges service partly on whether it's (reasonably) friendly and welcoming to my daughter.
Though it's primarily the parent's responsibility to make sure their kid has a pleasant restaurant experience (I'm a big proponent of bringing snacks or coloring books or whatever it takes to not be a bother for other diners) restaurants that realize and appreciate that some of their patrons will be children deserve recognition. And so, over the next few months, I'll be writing a series of reviews on where you should (or should not) eat out with kids.
First up: The Saranac
People without children have been surprised when I've mentioned that this is a great spot to eat with kids. I get it—it's a pub, it's kind of loud, and the service, which is good but often harried, is not exactly outstanding.
What IS outstanding is their children's menu, which includes scaled-down and simplified versions of the adult options as well as more traditional kid food. All of it is house-made from real ingredients (no overpriced frozen mini pizzas or boxed mac and cheese!).
What sets the Saranac apart for kids is both the quality and the price. Everything costs a reasonable $4 or $5 and is portioned for ONE child, maybe two (none of those depressing, enormous platters of soon-wasted chicken fingers and French fries so common on other kids menus). Plus, it's all decently balanced, not packed with junk, and still kid-friendly. They've got vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.
My daughter loves the noodle bowl ($5): yakisoba noodles in ginger sauce topped with scallions and your choice of chicken or tofu. My niece and nephew, not exactly adventurous eaters, have been happy with the cheese flatbread ($4), which I tried and liked. The PB&J ($4) and the grilled cheese ($5) are served with your choice of white or wheat bread and side options of house-made potato chips or apple slices. There is also a quesadilla ($4; comes with sour cream and house-made salsa), mac 'n' cheese ($5), and a rice bowl ($5). I wouldn't mind seeing a few more fruits and veggies on the menu, but overall there's not much to complain about—I tend to steal as many bites of whatever my daughter is having as I can get away with.
To sum up: at the Saranac, you can order a reasonably nutritious house-made meal your child will actually like, and you won't have to spend a zillion dollars to do so. Success.
We also have an "adult" review of Saranac.