Flatiron Lunch: Petite Abeille is More Affordable Than I Thought
In all the time I’ve been wandering the Flatiron District for good, cheap lunches, I have no idea how many times I passed Petite Abeille. The Belgian spot on 17th Street between 5th and 6th always seemed like it was going to break the ML budget, so I didn’t give it a second thought. One day, I decided I wanted to splurge for lunch and was on my way to Rye House when I decided to try something new. Turns out, the lunch here is more affordable than I’d expected – and pretty tasty too.
The entry to the restaurant has a bar counter with pastries and coffee for quick pick ups. The space is cute, with Tintin posters and books on the walls. Walking past the bar and the high tables, there’s a larger space in the back and outdoor space further back. I haven’t had a chance to sit back there yet, but it’s on my to do list for a leisurely lunch outside or maybe after work drinks.
Speaking of drinks, Petite Abeille is Belgian and as such has a pretty extensive Belgian beer list that demands some thorough exploring. I hadn’t realized until I stepped inside that this is another branch of the restaurant near Stuyvesant Town that a friend has been inviting me to for ages. Now I see what he’s been on about for all this time.
On that first visit, I did end up breaking the ML price limit with a Croque Madame ($12.95), which was well worth it. A griddled ham and cheese sandwich topped with more cheese and an egg sunnyside up – I’ve loved Croque Madames since my honeymoon in Paris. I’ve had many since then and this one was among the best. The fries and salad that came with the sandwich were good, but I could barely spare the attention from the sandwich.
On a second visit, I was joined by a friend and we checked out a couple of the $8.95 sandwiches available. Mine was filled with Black Forest Ham and brie. The bread was firm and crusty, the cheese was sharp and gooey. The lettuce and tomato actually did their part, too, adding crisp and soft textures and a slight tartness. I was pretty happy with it.
My companion had a vegetarian sandwich ($8.50), something I might not even have noticed otherwise. It was filled with roasted beets, goat cheese and arugula. She was pretty happy with it. We were both surprised to find that the salads offered to us when we ordered were an additional $2.50. The menu notes that fries can be added for that price, but apparently the salad costs the same. The salads were fine, but I doubt I’d have bothered if I’d known it was extra.
The menu is relatively small, with only a couple other sandwiches available, also at or around $8.95. There are also a few appetizers below $10 and a number of Omelets and Salads in the $12-$15 range.
Petite Abeille is comfortable, fun and a nice find. Whether for lunch or drinks, I know I’ll be back there soon.
Petite Abeille, 44 W 17th St (btw. 5+6th), 212-727-2989