Mar 15, 2013

Kids' Menus

At most restaurants, the kids' menus are a joke.

Case in point...when we were in Florida last week with Emma, we went to a couple nice restaurants. I'd say one was 'above average' and another was 'fine dining.'

The above average one was a revolving restaurant on the beach in St Pete. They had several fresh fish choices available on the regular menu, along with other things. Nothing too unique and overly fancy, but definitely good food. (and not a great picture...but the view of the beach was gorgeous)
Their kids' menu looked like this: mac 'n cheese, corn dog, mini pizza. NONE of those things were on the adult menu and there were no fresh choices for kids whatsoever. I let my kids eat those things? Sure. I don't have a problem with the occasional mac 'n cheese or pizza. But it's not an everyday thing and it's not what I expect at a nice restaurant that can cook real food. The other kicker at this place was that they refused to make a smaller portion of any of the adult entrees for Emma. Even though I want her to eat a good meal...I'm not about to pay $30 for something she won't eat all of and I can't take home to save.

So, she ate a side dish of pasta...and a whole lot of bread. Nice, huh? Her favorite part was the butter. What's your ideal butter-to-bread ratio?
We also gave her samples of our food. I'm a sucker for halibut...Emma apparently isn't. She stuck with bread. I wish we could have had her try more of our food, but we think she's allergic to shellfish after a weird reaction she had a while ago to having shrimp. Bummer. I'm also a sucker for crab and Michael is a bit of a lobster bisque 'connoisseur'...and we couldn't let Emma taste any of it.

The second place...the fine dining restaurant...was amazing. I had the best filet I've ever had, and Michael had rack of lamb...which he loved! The kids meal choices there were much better so kudos to them! They offered a 4oz filet for kids, or grilled chicken. They were grown up choices that could be combined with sides that were served per table. They even had a Maitre d'Fromage with cheese service...which we didn't even have room for. But what a great and fun thing for kids to be exposed to!

Kids don't always love to eat what grown ups do, but it's a shame that restaurants have such low expectations of kids. Pandering to them by assuming all kids should want fried, nasty, highly processed junk without even presenting a good choice.

I think it would be so great to have a nice restaurant offer a little 'tasting' menu to kids with bite-sized portions of lots of different things. Just getting kids to try new things is a big deal. They may not like it at first, but that's why it would be great to give them bites of many different foods so they would get enough to eat...and would expand their horizons.

Do you know of any places that do that? Or do you have a favorite restaurant with a stellar kids' menu? Please share!

1 comment:

  1. I TOTALLY agree with you. Every now and then we've been to places with a couple "healthier" kid options but yeah...very few and far btwn. I often feel high maintenance making all kinds of sub requests for the french fries or soda that usually comes with it.
    My butter to bread ratio is pretty similar to Emma's ;)
    We had one great dining experience at a really casual place in OKC called Cool Greens. As one of the kids choices, you could order a plate with 6 different choices from the salad add-ins. So they got to sample all kinds of fruit & veggies and meat. It was the best kids meal I'd ever seen.


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