When it comes to weekday lunches, I’m a brown-bag (&thermos) kinda gal. It’s just the more economical and (slightly) healthier option for me. But for those days when I meet up with friends and family or did not have time to pack a lunch, these are the go-to places (within Midtown where I work) in my rotation:
Ben’s My favorite spot to get a corned beef sandwich. I prefer corned beef but the pastrami here is decent too (pastrami lovers, please save your indignant breath, I have heard it all before). I usually get the lean hot corned beef with Russian dressing on the side. The portions are huge (they use to be even more generous; but there’s still a good amount of meat now). You also can’t go wrong with the hard salami. The combo of half sandwich and soup (decent matzoh ball and surprisingly good mushroom barley) is more than enough to hit the spot. If you’re not careful, it might even put you in a food coma and there goes your productivity level for the rest of the workday.
Black Iron Burger has some good burgers. It’s nothing too out of the box but does offer some variety with a salmon, turkey, and veggie burger along with the number of beef options. The burgers are well-seasoned and have that char-boiled flavor which is always a plus. For sides, the yuca chips&guacamole and ai-oli fries are great. The onion rings, on the other hand, not so much as they are more like onions strings. Fine if you like it as a topping to your burgers but on their own, does not make much of a substantial side. If you want to round out your meal with something sweet, go for one of their malted milkshake.
Bon Chon’s amazing korean fried chicken! What more do I need to say. Twice-fried, the skin is so crispy and the insides so juicy. I go for the combo of wings & drumsticks with the flavorful soy garlic sauce and a side of seasoned fries. Finger-lickin’ good.
Woorijip is a treasure. It’s a Korean place that offers buffet by the pound and lunch boxes. They have everything from fried chicken to jap chae to bimbap and soups. It’s a good place to grab something cheap and delicious It gets supercrowded so don’t expect to meet up with anyone for a sit-down meal. So I usually grab a lunch box with jap chae, spicy chicken or bulgogi or short ribs with seaweed soup or tofu stew. The one thing this place does not lack for is options.
Alidoro makes some killer Italian sandwiches with fresh, quality ingredients. They have a huge list of sandwiches (with many vegetarian and gluten-free options) and you can also customize your own. Best picks: the Pinocchio, the Pavarotti, and the Marcello. The portions are huge and fair for their prices (about $10 – $14 ).
Fresh & Co. might seem like your typical midtown soup/salad/sandwich place. And in a way it is… and there’s nothing wrong with that. As per its namesake, the offerings are made of fresh, quality ingredients. The soups are great on a cold, blustery day (love the lobster bisque). The sandwiches are quite hefty (their pesto cheese bread is so worth carb loading on!). I have never gone for a salad here but as far as I know they have a number of vegan options and they are also gluten-free. I have also never tried the quinoa bowls but my colleagues seem to like it and there are many different flavor profiles to choose from (Mediterranean, Thai, Tex-Me, etc). It’s a good place to order in for a work lunch/meeting.
Some other places I like to hit up: Pie Face for some savory – if not entirely authentic – Australian meat pies, Pitopia when I’m in the mood for falafels, Schnippers when I’m feeling nostalgic for some killer sloppy joes (and a mean fried chicken sandwich!), and Pot Belly for some delicious sandwiches (hit up the flatbread or thin-cut bread if you’re watching your carbs). A Shake Shack is opening up by me so the shroom burger will most likely make a frequent appearance in my belly (hey.. at least it’s vegetarian..).
I hope this is a somewhat helpful list to any one working in Midtown and are looking for some delicious eats.
What are your favorite lunches, to make at home or buy? Do you like to have a lighter lunch or do you really need something substantial to keep you going for the rest of the day? Let me know in the comments.
I’m also open to any ideas for a dessert or side to make for Thanksgiving (3 more days!)
Til next time,