Flatiron Lunch: Lisbon Lunch vs. Flatiron Lunch
Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.
Not that this is a fair battle, but a friend’s wedding recently took me to Portugal, and, while most of my meals were related to the wedding, I did manage to find a few that I would like to import to New York (or you should at least check out if you travel to Lisbon.) One day while sightseeing in Lisbon, we were lucky enough to come across an outdoor festival of all things Portuguese in Rossio Square. I could have bought shots of Ginjinha (traditional cherry liqueur) in chocolate shot cups, but instead, I was immediately drawn to the tent with raclette. Who doesn’t like the sight of raclette? While waiting for my food, I noticed the name Sabbores Dos Azores, so I will someday figure out how raclette is a thing in Switzerland and small islands in the Atlantic Ocean.
For €6, I was able to get a massive sandwich with cured ham (presunto) and raclette cheese on perfect bread. Portuguese bakers sure know how to make bread. While the guy got a little impatient with the raclette, and the cheese didn’t quite spread properly, I loved every bite. Even with the exchange rate not in our favor, the metrocard as scale should indicate that this was a generously sized sandwich. I also loved the option of a small Super Bock for just €2. It was a perfectly sized beer for lunchtime.
Another item I want to bring to New York is Ramiro. And by “item”, I mean world-class fresh shellfish restaurant. I went because it was mentioned on the Food is the New Rock podcast by a band (I don’t remember which one) as one of their favorite restaurants in the world. They raved about all the dishes, but they also said the magic words that I didn’t realize were magic until they were uttered “They serve steak sandwiches for dessert.” Whaaaaaa???
Even with Ramiro overrun with tourists, they still manage to crank out beautifully prepared shellfish, especially if you stick with the traditional dishes (shrimp in garlic sauce, which will save you from overspending on large format whole shellfish (I’m looking at you rock lobster). Now back to that steak sandwich. It was only €3.50 and had about 2 whole cloves of garlic and was cooked perfectly medium rare even for a thin steak. Oh and the bread!
After my trip, I was interested to stop by the 100 Sardines tent at Mad. Sq. Eats to see if they could recreate any of the magic from my vacation. On my first visit, the power was out to the entire festival, so they couldn’t make croquettes de bacalhau without the deep fryer. I tried to order the sardine toast, but I was told with tax it was going to be closer to $9 and since their power wasn’t working they couldn’t give me change, so I was told it would be great if I could overpay. Excuse me? No. On a future visit, I got the sardine toast, but paid only what was required. I can’t imagine having paid more, because this dish seems severely overpriced at $8.
When I was finally able to get my hands on the croquettes de bacalhau, they were reasonably priced at $6 for three croquettes. They did not have a lot of filler, and I could actually taste the cod. I thought they were great and would absolutely order them again.