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Fine-Dining Restaurants Bend Over Backwards for Breeders and Their Demonic Hellspawn

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These days entitled parents feel absolutely no qualms about bringing their misbehaving children to expensive fine-dining restaurants. And New York City restaurants will do anything to please parents who decide to save on baby-sitting costs and bring their children to dinner, offering amenities that include stroller check-in, portable DVD players, and free dessert.

Leave it to a New York Times freelancer to run around Manhattan with baby and "bulky stroller" in tow — in the name of research — to see how much special treatment she can possibly get. Even going to Daniel Boulud's venerable Cafe Boulud to celebrate her two-year-old's birthday.

And in some instances, even torturing the waitstaff with their kids' antics: Waiters are never, ever "amused, not annoyed," by your child's "game of dropping her plastic cutlery on the floor more than a dozen times so he could pick it up."

The things we learn!

· The Michelin-starred L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon charges an astonishing $32 for spaghetti with butter or tomato sauce. Also, a $25 Kobe beef slider with homemade ketchup and hand-carved fries (see photo).
· At Fred's at Barneys New York, "Children’s orders get first priority in the kitchen."
· At Vermilion, diners with children have their orders expedited so that parents can have a three-course meal in 45 minutes (plus free mini-thalis).
· Cafe Boulud serves handmade pasta "tossed with butter churned in Vermont or served with a fresh tomato sauce, then topped with aged parmesan" for only $11 (see photo). Actually a very reasonable deal!

As could be expected, the commenters on the story are pretty aghast, many times thanking the author for the list of "tot-friendly" restaurants so that they may avoid them in the future. The comments are fun and indignant, including gems like "Wait--$32 for child's-sized portion of spaghetti with butter? Does it come with a pony?!" But the comments also got out of hand, so the Times shut them down. Boo!

· Fine Dining Where Strollers Don’t Invite Sneers [NYT]
[Photo: NYT]