A Clarke’s Standard Lunch Option Well Under $10

All you people do is complain about the $10 lunch “limit” that ML self-imposed 8 years ago that has never been adjusted for inflation. Here’s a lunch option at Clarke’s Standard that stays well under $10, and should satisfy everyone.

The crispy buttermilk chicken strips – a box of FIVE – runs $5.25. Make it a combo – which gives you your choice of fries or sweet potato fries and a fountain soda (which means if you eat there, it’s free refills) – for another $3.

Bringing your total to $8.25, plus tax. You’re welcome, people.

There’s a choice of classic or spiced, and I mistakenly thought ‘spiced’ meant a dry spice rub added. Nope, these were doused in what tasted like Frank’s Red Hot, which was fine but not really what I wanted. The fingers themselves were crispy and nicely fried – not dry like white meat tends to be, and actually pretty good.

One thing to note – last time I ate at Clarke’s Standard there was an awesome array of sauces from which to choose. This time, they’d gotten rid of the tomatillo relish and replaced it with regular pickle relish instead. Not sure if that’s a permanent thing, or they just ran out this time.

In any case, I still think Clarke’s Standard is a great option for Midtown Lunch – especially those who gripe about staying within $10.

For those who don’t, you can also add on a Lil Clarke’s ice cream cup for $2.50. I tried the salted caramel. I liked it, but I probably won’t get it again – I couldn’t fit all 5 fingers as it was (though I will say one of them was markedly smaller than the others; the thumb maybe? Har, har).

Clarke’s Standard, 636 Lexington Avenue (southwest corner of 54th Street)
Locations also off Union Square & in the Financial District, check website


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    I was not aware of this. I can’t wait to try it.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I also appreciate the $10 price cap. I’ve adopted that mentality because of you guys and it helps me manage my budget.

  • Even though I work right across from this burger place, I only went once because I was still hungry after their burger combo. They do make some good burgers though. I do not recommend their ice cream cup. Not good at all.
    I will try this chicken strip combo soon.

  • Schnippers down the block also will dowse their chicken fingers in Frank’s, but the kicker is their amazing blue cheese dip. It’s off the menu, but worth the bother.

  • Crikey, you accidentally used a photo of the Bobbitt crime scene

  • Nice post, strips look good!

    But here’s a real ‘gripe’: ML was founded on the principle of finding CHEAP, good lunches for the workers in the culinary wasteland of Midtown. The under-$10 limit was a basic tenet of this site, along with the notion that good cheap lunches could be found outside of the dreaded generic delis. And now, people who call out the staff for abandoning these basic ML tenets are GRIPING? Really? ML was never a generic foodieblog that covers the latest trendy eating spots. Its purpose from the get-go is to fingd good, CHEAP lunches in Midtown. So trying to keep this site true to its roots is not “griping”; it’s a higher calling. :)

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    • I am sure you never say no to cost of living adjustment raise at work.

    • StevenP, if you want to bring into consideration that it was “founded on the principle of finding CHEAP,…” – then you must also consider that “cheap” is a completely subjective term. $10 is certainly not “cheap” for many items, and is also dependent on the person doing the purchasing.

      While I am not Zach and cannot/will not speak for him, I do agree that “good, under-$10 lunches can be found outside of generic delis” is part of the basis for this site.

      But most importantly – “people who call out the staff for abandoning these basic ML tenets” – even if we disagree on what those tenets actually are, what I take issue with is anyone suggesting that any of my fellow writers here are “abandoning” the under-$10 ideal. There are still consistently under-$10 lunches being posted. Are there occasionally over $10 items mentioned? Yes, of course, because some days you just want to splurge and it’s nice to be able to find lunch splurges on this site. Most of the time they aren’t *that much* over $10, either. But the basics of this site are not being overturned nor ignored, and when everyone goes up in arms and abuses an ML writer for bringing up a lunch that goes over $10, it’s offensive and unnecessary.

      I welcome all comments – both criticizing and praising – but when they aren’t helpful on either end, they do nothing to help the site, nor YOUR cause. You want more content? Stop harassing the writers. Offer constructive criticism or constructive comments that help us help you. This site was also founded on the writer-commenter relationship being symbiotic: readers always sent Zach tips on what they like to eat and where he can get it too, and he would respond by writing it up (as possible) and sharing that tidbit with the world.

      Just my 2c. Take it as you will.

      • Ouch. Did NOT mean to offend. I agree, $10 is not really “cheap” for most lunches, in the context of this site and its readers (working stiffs who are not independently wealthy). And going over $10 routinely is, well, definitely not “cheap” and (based on my MANY years of reading and posting to this site) not really in line with ML’s philosophy.

        Perhaps the “$10 limit” complaints/gripes have increased because the coverage of such pricey places has increased here? How do you justify the recent post of a place (never bothered to remember the name) that: a) was not even open for lunch yet, and b) had NO lunch item under $10? Or that other new sandwich shop owned by a friend of a writer where the only just-a-sandwich option under $10 was a veggie sandwich or 2? Doesn’t seem to fit into the ML purpose/theme/philosophy/whatever at all.

        It’s ironic having this discussion with you, because I think you’re the only current NY writer who consistently pays heed to the ML philosophy (as I understand it), even with the occasional departure.

        Better communication between readers and writers is fine. Sadly, some interaction has been lost with the long-departed ML Forums. :( But aren’t these “Hey, that’s over $10″ reader complains really part of that interaction? Perhaps a reminder that ML is NOT just a generic food blog? I know *you* get it. But I find it HARD to believe that the ML writers can wander around midtown and choose to try out and review pricier places, and that they don’t come across any cheaper places that are worth an ML write-up (or even a re-visit!), for better or worse.

        So these ‘complaints’ are really part of the feedback to the writers, saying “hey, we don’t want to see expensive lunch options reviewed here on ML!” I come across many filling, good lunch options in the $5-6 range. (Alas, I’m in Flatiron, not part of the main beat.) Specific reader tips are helpful, of course (but without the forums, where exactly should we submit them?). But even absent those, do the ML writers (not you specifically, Yvo!) really need to be reminded to gravitate towards CHEAP options when deciding what to review here? Seems that a few of them are treating this as a general food blog and not the special place that is ML.

        it’s not the exact to-the-cent dollar limit that’s an issue, but the general trend to review more and more ‘exceptions’/'splurges’ here and fewer ‘real’ Midtown Lunches that has me concerned. How better to communicate that than complain when too many pricey options are being reviewed? I still object to you characterizing this as a cranky “gripe.” It’s more of a reminder of what the readers of THIS food blog want to see HERE, which is not a general assortment of overpriced lunch options in NYC.

      • Point taken on the early part of your comment. I just find “Hey, that’s over $10″ firstly, NOT what’s being posted, and secondly, I am pretty sure the person writing it already knows that it’s over $10, so saying that is like telling someone who’s 6’5 “Hey, you’re tall.”

        I think what rubbed me the wrong way the MOST last week was having just come from discussing with a former ML writer how the commenters are why he stopped writing for ML. That made me really, really sad. I don’t know if any of the commenters ever considered that repeatedly receiving negative feedback on posts is definitely enough deterrent for some of us to continue writing. And that’s just… well, upsetting to me.

        And that’s why I call it a gripe. Because even if you each individually don’t mean harm by your remarks, it’s damaging to morale and causes harm to the overall wonder of the site.

    • To paraphrase Zamyatin, dogma is the cold hard crust encasing the fiery magma from which it was created. Blind adherence to an arbitrary rule will kill this site. More important is the spirit of the posts. We need more posts about people not getting the trots from trying sketchy food

  • everything looks teeny tiny miniature in the photo – including the fork, knife, drink etc. – 1.
    2. I’m OK with ML posting about the flatiron section and food festivals etc., but I think more often than not, the editors should be seeking out lunches that can be had in the 10 buck range. Else, I can just read NY magazine reviews and the like.

    • That’s my point, which I hopefully clarified a bit above. Crap, Yvo is the last ML writer I want to piss off, because she ‘gets it’ imo. I think Flatiron and Downtown are good ML additions because lots of people work in these areas. And the occasional “out-of-bounds” post is bound to be very “in-bounds” for some readers! I walk around the city and see lots of unfamiliar cheap lunch options. I think there is much ML territory still to be covered, without going to $12 a la carte sandwiches and the like.

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    What is that in the cup with the straw? Are you drinking a cup of Sriracha with your meal?

    • Oh man, is this photo that bad? It’s orange Fanta, one of my not-very-secret-awful-weaknesses.

      • Fanta is pretty popular outside of US…haha

      • Haha, I was actually going to mention how excited I was that I found non-US bottled Fanta at my local bodega because it’s made with real sugar. European Fanta is the best Fanta… no joke. If anyone has leads on where to find non-US Fanta in Midtown, SHARE THEM PLEASE.

        Especially the elderflower/lemon one, OMG.

  • Comment length has officially surpassed content length on ML… i’ve lost the will to live

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