Since I have bound myself to do a travel post on the second Thursday of the month and this one came very early, I’m cheating. Although a trip to Chinatown in NYC might require some of you to travel… But if not, I’m working on a post about Belgium for next week! In the meantime, here are some of the places I tried for lunch over the last 3 weeks and a brief review of whether it’s worth your time and money.
Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles
1 Doyers Street
Review: Quick, delicious and cheap. I had the seafood soup with the cut noodles.
53 Bayard Street
Review: Asian fast food with a twist of American and Italian. I had the lobster roll, which was a good size for $9 but definitely had something else mixed in with the lobster. The grilled calamari salad looked great, and I wish I’d ordered that. They also have an uni pasta. Worth multiple trips if on jury duty for the varied menu and fast service. Everything is under $10 too.
Nha Trang Centre
148 Centre Street
Review: Ever popular for huge bowls of pho, but the salt and pepper shrimp, BBQ pork and chicken salad are excellent options. Don’t miss the “French” iced coffee either.
Nha Trang One
87 Baxter Street
Review: Sister place to the above, but I think the pho is better here. And the atmosphere is slightly nicer too, but the service isn’t. Try the number 1 lunch special. But be fair-warned – it’s a huge bowl.
Banh Mi Saigon
198 Grand Street
Review: This may take a little time to get to and seating is limited. But you will get a great BBQ pork sandwich packed with veggies. Ask for it spicy.
26 Cedar Street
Review: This place is a bit of a hike but worth it for a great sandwich- one of the best I’ve had. Dave hails from Bridgeton, NJ, near my hometown. He knows his meats, and the quality is what makes this a great Italian hoagie.
I’d get the peppers on the side, since it was a little overpowering and didn’t have the heat I prefer. I’d also ask them to put the toppings on the bottom so they don’t fall off as you try to fit this giant sandwich into your mouth. At $11, you could make it go farther if you eat only half, but it was too good for me to save or share.
28 Pell Street
Review: Randomly stopped into this dim sum restaurant because it had an A rating for cleanliness (only one I saw) and had a/c on a very hot day. I was the only non-Asian person in the place. Service was fast. A cart of fish balls, beef balls, tripe and chicken feet immediately appeared. I tried all but the beef and it was a ton of food and all quite delicious. The tea was some of the best I’ve had too. I’d definitely go back with a group to try more. And this meal cost a whopping $7.75!
[N.B. Dim Sum Go Go is also nearby and good, but it will be pricier.]
46 Mulberry Street
Review: When you’ve had enough Asian food, come home to Mama’s. A favorite of the cop scene and now extra popular since the federal court cafeteria prices have increased and service has slowed. You can eat in or take out and they have a wide variety of salads, sandwiches and pasta. I had a chicken club with fries that was huge for under $10.
[N.B. If you make your way up Mulberry Street, there are a number of cheap prix fixe restaurants in Little Italy- but I cannot say they are good.]
Sushi of Gari
130 W. Broadway
I’m usually a fan of their sushi (there’s one on the UWS near where I live), and their omakase when I want to splurge, but apparently they have stopped serving anything raw. My yellowtail and scallion roll was warm, and the yellowtail was chopped up! Then the scallop roll was fried (not noted on the menu). With a small portion of sesame spinach salad, this simple lunch was my most expensive ($30) and the least satisfying. I would avoid this place and nearby spots like Landmarc, Odeon and City Hall, at all costs unless you’re on an expense account or stopping by in the early afternoon for a cocktail.
If you have any other tips, feel free to share. And I will update this list as I continue to check out new places near the courts.