PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Anastasia”

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. This week it’s Anastasia,  a Lawyer (and baker?) who loves anything at Just Salad and may or may not be a vegan (despite at one time loving the Burger Joint.)

Name: Anastasia



Where in Midtown do you Work?:
Most expensive stretch of retail rents in the world, with the fewest cheap and good food options (57th and Madison), I guess high retail rents do not equal cheap and good food. Maybe Obika will change that… (Doubtful.  The first mention of prices is not a good sign. -zach)

Favorite Kind of Food:

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
Americanized Chinese, casseroles, chicken (a.k.a. sponge meat)

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
Pescado taco at Pampano Taqueria (3rd Ave. btw. 49+50th); anything at Just Salad; lox and tofu cream cheese on a whole wheat everything bagel at Ess-a-Bagel (3rd btw. 49+50th); quinoa conqueror salad at Uncle Marky’s Organics (53rd btw. 2+3rd); black bean vegan burger at the newly opened Good Health Burgers (on 53rd btw. 2+3rd); grilled cheese and tomato soup at Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center (hold the grilled cheese these days); any slice/salad at Bella Vita (58th btw. 6+7th); anything at FIKA (58th btw. 5+6th); vegetable combo at Indian cart on 54th/53rd and Park; lobster bisque at Soup Man (great deal for a great bisque, a half baguette, a piece of fruit and a piece of chocolate).

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? Europa Cafe (it’s close and fast, but eating food that has gone through a shredder gets less and less alluring); Hale and Hearty (decent salads, great carrot ginger dressing, and the best side of bread in midtown, after Pret); Chef’s Kitchen (generally, no good excuse for going to this place); Pret (always good, though bland and over-priced); Mangia.

Place(s) you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? Certe (amazing lobster bisque and brisket wrap were go-tos when I wasn’t a fish-eating vegan, but now I just stick to the mixed grain salad, also, the desserts here are out of this world); Topaz Thai (on 56th btw. 6+7th); Burger Joint (B.V. – before veganism); La Strada (on 56th btw. Lex+3rd); Men Kui Tei (on 56th btw. 5+6th), Pro Hot Bagel (on 56th btw. 5+6th).

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Does Wiley Dufresne’s kitchen count? Mexico City (or anywhere in Mexico, really), or Nice (can’t get enough bouillabaisse)

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? Where can one find a great CASUAL bar in the 57th/Mad nabe? I am not looking for anything high end (there’s plenty of that around here), just a hole in the wall with affordable beers (sadly, P.J. Carney’s closed).

My favorite happy hour in Midtown is after the jump… 

It’s not in Anastasia’s range, but if you love New Orleans, the Bourbon St. Bar & Grille on 46th btw. 8+9th is not that bad- and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. all giant cocktails (including an ok hurricane) are $5. I can vouch for the red beans and rice (but that’s the only food I’ve had, so don’t hold it against me if their po’boys are terrible.) I normally hate Disney world crap like this, but there is something about this place that rubs me the right way. (And $5 hurricanes certainly doesn’t hurt their case.)

Got a bar to suggest? Put it in the comments. Maybe we need a Midtown Happy Hour correspondent to write about all the good bars. Any takers?  Email me. (This should be fun…)

And as always, if you want to be the next Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er, or you’d like to nominate somebody in your office email me at


  • Casual bar at 57th and Mad – Try Fitzers in the Fitzpatrick hotel at 57th and Lex

  • Sorta out of the way kinda..

    Jimmy’s Corner 140 W. 44th St. nr Broadway.

    Awesome place.

  • what?! they make vegan lox now? what’s going on in this world? or did lox become ok for vegans?

  • When my office was in 9 West 57th, and when the credit crunch hit, we went to Whiskey Tavern a lot. They have free popcorn, Golden Tee, and a solid happy hour specials ($2 bud lights, and $3/$4 drafts). Other go-to place was Cassidy’s. Both of them are on 55th street between 5th and 6th.

    If you’re feeling $9 beers or cocktails, go to 8 1/2 (57th btw 5th and 6th) or the Whiskey (6th btw 58th and 59th)

  • I was also going to suggest Jimmy’s corner. great place. definite hole-in-the-wall.
    and yeah, what’s up with the fish-eating-vegan thing?

  • I’m there with you Danny, along with WTF?!? A VEGAN lobster bisque and brisket wrap?


    And yeah, after my interview tomorrow I’m up for planing a ML happy Hour (not sure if I will be drowning my sorrows or celebrating).

  • I know, I know. Vegans don’t eat fish. I bought all of the vegan (what an ugly word) health arguments for everything BUT fish. I just don’t think fish is that bad for you, and I like it a lot. I carved out my own exception. :) I hope the vegan police don’t find me…

  • Metro 53 on I believe 53rd and second has half price happy hour on everything… Im a jack drinker myself, so I like a $4 Jack and coke… $3 dollar Blue Moons are also my thing too… Don’t know if Id call it casual or anything, but I like the half price deal. What made you go vegan?

  • please don’t say you’re vegan when you still eat fish. i might as well say i’m a vegetarian except for beef and pork and fish and cheese and chicken. oh, and lamb. mmm, lamb.

  • I’m pretty sure you’re not a vegan if you eat fish. or bagels (hello, eggs?). you’re just a picky eater.

  • Agreed, you are a picky eater. Face it, embrace it.
    And you can’t be vegan and eat Mexican, so you might have to do some soul searching there.

  • ML scrutiny at its best… LOL

  • You can get great Mexican and be vegan! And There is no vegan police, but its not accurate to describe yourself as vegan if you eat fish. That said, anything that has you eat less meat, dairy, eggs is awesome.

    As far as the health reasons for not eating fish – there are high levels of mercury and other toxins in sea animals and there are all sorts of parasites that you can get from them.

    For more, please check out:

  • It’s always funny to me to see what visceral reactions people have when someone mentions voluntary dietary restrictions as opposed to declarations of gluttony. I use the term vegan because it’s the easiest way to convey most of my food preferences. Yes, I could say that I don’t eat meat, dairy or eggs, but that’s longer than saying that I am vegan, but eat fish sometimes. It’s also not the easiest thing to regulate, since lots of things have eggs hidden in them. I would rather not make a fuss about those things (i.e. I will eat a bagel once in a while, even though I know it has some traces of egg in it). We all make concessions, but saying that I have dietary aspirations doesn’t mean that I have to be militant in following them ALL of the time. I just know that I feel better when I don’t eat meat, dairy or eggs.
    I love food, but if taking something out of my diet so that I don’t get sick after every meal, then I will do it.
    …and loving Mexican food doesn’t have to end if you don’t eat meat, dairy or eggs.

  • Im a vegan too, but i eat meat,offal ,game and eggs…and fish….and chartuterie…blood sausage/drisheen.

    But Im a Vegan.

  • Nope, you can’t eat good mexican, not even NYC mexican, and be vegan. I suppose if you stretch what you consider edible and ‘mexican’

  • You’re a pesco-vegetarian! You also eat dairy!!! :)

  • Good, chill bar in midtown for happy hour is Bill’s Gay Nineties on 54th b/t Park and Mad. Papillon Bistro has a pretty happenin’ happy hour at 54th and Mad.

  • what a bunch of assholes

  • @Mamacita: Almost, just replace ‘mexican’ with ‘food’.
    Nope, you can’t eat good food, not even NYC food, and be vegan. I suppose if you stretch what you consider edible and ‘food’

    I couldn’t resist taking a shot at vegans, even though there is plenty of good food that happens to be vegan.

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