Elevated Kids' Menus Adults Will Want to Order From
Shelled lobster, bacon-wrapped quail and kimchi deviled eggs are just some of the more adult options popping up on children's menus.
Photo By: Amelies
Photo By: Franz Mahr
Photo By: The Omni Mount Washington Resort
Photo By: Son’s Addition
Photo By: Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
Photo By: Shannon Renfroe
Photo By: Legal Sea Foods
Photo By: Bistronomic
Photo By: Kimberly Park
Photo By: The Ritz-Carlton New York Westchester
Photo By: The Wilder
Photo By: The St. Regis Bal Harbour
Plenty of children’s menus offer the usual suspects (burgers, chicken tenders, etc.) because they tend to be child-approved by the masses. But at Amélies in Porthleven, pint-sized taste testers personally approve the menu. Here, the staff relies on their children to assess menu items beyond burgers and fries (although, those are still options). Yet, more sophisticated options include a pot of mussels with fries, as well as crispy salt-and-pepper squid with lemon aioli.
Trummer’s on Main, Virginia
The small town of Clifton, Va. might be a surprising place to find options for mini foodies, but consider the Petit Gourmand tasting menu at Trummer’s on Main to be among the gold standard of children’s menus. A recent multi-course menu for the 12-and-under set covered gazpacho, broccoli and polenta, salmon with vegetables, New York strip steak and tableside s’mores with peanut butter ganache. Nobody’s blaming adults who try to order this menu as well.
Omni Bretton Arms Dining Room, Washington
The Bretton Arms Dining Room at the Omni Mount Washington Resort is a destination for foodies-in-training. The children’s menu isn’t even called that here; instead, it’s a Young Guests menu. Really, the only difference between it and the adult menu is portion sizes. Discerning palates can try chilled melon soup, bacon-wrapped quail or salted cod gratin to start, then move on to a clam bake with a seafood medley, peach-glazed chicken breast or quinoa grain bowl with a veggie medley. The truly adventurous can order a grilled asparagus salad on the side.
Son’s Addition, California
Casually upscale, the family-friendly Son’s Addition, a fairly new addition to San Francisco's Mission District, has gained a following for its seasonal, global dishes. Menu items specialize in Asian and Latin ingredients, and that includes the children’s menu. Among its current offerings are kimchi deviled eggs, tostadas with avocado, cilantro hazelnut dukkah and miso garlic sauce, and goat cheese polenta with kale and shiso gremolata.
Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill, New York
The new Brooklyn location of Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill in Dumbo has recently debuted its children’s menu from Timon Balloo, the chef and partner of the highly successful Sugarcane chain. (The other locations in Miami and Las Vegas don’t have children’s menus.) Like the general menu, the kids’ menu is influenced by Asian ingredients and pulls from the restaurant’s three separate kitchens, including a fire grill and raw bar. Next-level dishes for the small set include yakitori (grilled chicken on a stick) and a sushi platter (pictured) with either a cucumber or salmon avocado roll, plus sushi pieces wrapped with yellowtail, tuna and more.
Food and Wine recognized Chef Edouardo Jordan as a Best New Chef in 2016; a James Beard for Best Chef Northwest soon followed. Seattle's Salare is also notable for both its nose-to-tail approach to meat and its full embracement of vegetables. While the kids’ menu is toned down (e.g., no gizzards or tartare), it doesn’t pander to picky eaters. A recent menu offered children duck hash and an anchovy ranch dressing, roasted vegetables with a salad and fried egg (pictured), and a pasta dish with broccolini.
Legal Sea Foods, Multiple Locations
Legal Sea Foods is a popular seafood chain throughout the East Coast, although the majority of restaurants are found in Massachusetts. The children’s menu at each restaurant varies somewhat, but one popular commonality? The one-pound steamed lobster with drawn butter. To make it more child-friendly, the lobster meat is removed before being served in its shell. A half-pound version is also available, making it the perfect entry-level introduction.
The humble grilled cheese is elevated to a croque monsieur at Bistronomic, and that extends to children. The Chicago-based French bistro is owned by James Beard nominee Martial Noguier, where the children's croque monsieur (pictured) contains gruyere cheese, ham and mornay sauce and comes topped with a poached egg. Truffled sea salt fries and greens round out the experience.
Tobiuo Sushi & Bar, Texas
Tobiuo Sushi & Bar is a new addition to Katy, just outside of Houston. It stands out for being the only sushi bar in the area to serve specialties like omakase and uni flights, but it doesn’t overlook its younger customers. The children’s menu includes pork gyoza, diced shrimp tempura with sweet chili aioli and chicken katsu (pictured); all are served in kid-pleasing bento boxes.
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester, New York
At the Ritz-Carlton New York in White Plains, about an hour north of NYC, aspiring gourmands can go beyond exploring a menu. The hotel offers a Junior Chefs Academy throughout the year, where those between 11 and 18 can take actual baking workshops in the pastry kitchen. Though classes are only an hour-and-a-half, they do cover kitchen safety and baking lessons. Plus, junior chefs get a taste of the big leagues with baking tools, a chef’s hat and apron.
The Wilder, New Hampshire
The Wilder, a new gastropub in historic Portsmouth, understands that children and adults appreciate less conventional meal choices. Just as adults can opt for beef cheek poutine or shakshuka, smaller appetites can dive into shrimp linguini or steak with a leafy green salad. Advanced eaters can order roasted cauliflower tacos, rounded out with curried hummus and cucumber pico de gallo. And instead of the humble hamburger, kids can feast on the signature pig burger, made with local pork and topped with pickled pineapple slices.
St. Regis Bal Harbour, Florida
Parents can bring their children’s imaginary tea times to life at the St. Regis Bal Harbour in Miami. While the resort offers adults a traditional high tea every day at La Gourmandise, kids can partake in their own daily version. The fantasy spread at the pint-sized Children’s Tea encompasses cotton candy and bubble gum cake pops, chocolate-and-sprinkle-covered crispy rice treats, vanilla milkshakes, caramel popcorn and more sugar rush options. Meanwhile, petit fours are of the grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly variety.