I have seen the older posts, but re-posting the question to get more opinions and help. I would like to see the new and different that I do not see in Maine.
The city bakery might go on your list. They have a huge salad buffet and delicious baked goods. Luv the non alcoholic sangria and pretzel croissants.The Union Square Cafe is our favorite for family celebrations if you want to spend a little. Hot garlic potato chips, polenta with mascarpone, Gorgonzola and walnuts, and banana tart are favorites. They always have a good pasta dish and a cocktail special for you after a day in the city w two teens!!
Elisabeth, what types of food do you (and your picky teenager) like to eat? Do you have a ballpark range of what you'd like to spend?
Nearly anything, Japanese, Italian, Chinese are no problem, but I am less familiar with options like, Indian. I have never attempted Ethiopian, Korean, etc. I would love too but slightly intimidated, desire a 'food guide'. The picky eater just needs something grain based or vegetable inspired. I would love to try Dim Sum. For price range, I would prefer a mix. When I lived in Westchester in the mid 90's. We found great food with low attitude at moderate (NYC) prices. I am drooling over Stone Barns, but at 198/pp I think that way more than I can handle for 4. Maybe 2, maybe.... This past summer I worked for a James Beard award winning chef, so the bar is fairly high, but what I am after is new and different. I am very interested in taste and plating styles. Thank for giving my question some thought!
In terms of Chinese, there is a place on the Upper East Side, not too fancy, but the BEST spare ribs in the city - Pig Heaven (http://pigheavennyc.com). I'd steer clear of China Town because, to be frank, it's really dirty and the restaurants aren't any cleaner. I recently ate at Peking Duck House (http://www.pekingduckhousenyc.com) and the food was quite good (unfortunately the duck was the least favorite) but it's a little on the dirty side. There's also always the good old stand-by Shun Lee (http://www.shunleepalace.net).
Nougatine is the more casual version of Jean-Georges (and a personal favorite) and has a very similar menu and offers pretty reasonable Prix-fix menu (especially at lunch - 3 courses for $38pp).
The food court in the basement of The Plaza is great for a quick bite. The short-rib sandwich at Payard is fantastic (have then heat it).
No trip to NY is complete without a stop at Russ & Daughters (if you are a smoked fish/bagel fan). The cafe isn't really worth it, just get the food to go. (http://russanddaughters.com).
I'll come up with more later... and of course, I'd be happy to show you around!