Archive for February 2010

Sushi! by Bento Nouveau Is Surprisingly Solid

Zach decided to give the Midtown branch of Sushi! by Bento Nouveau a pass after this post on Food in Mouth, and I can’t blame him. Had I seen that picture before I went, I think I’d have given it a wide berth as well. But SbBN (as I’ll call it from here on in to save time and to avoid typing that stupid exclamation point) actually came recommended to me after my post about Tokyo Kitchen by Lunch’er John D., who said it was his go-to place for udon.

I always prefer following up on recommendations to just trying places blindly, particularly because I have a sense of what to try when I go. I think that served me especially well at SbBN, where I really enjoyed my udon and my sushi, while avoiding the curry and rice dishes that have received pretty negative reviews elsewhere. SbBN didn’t blow me away, but its food is better than solid, and the prices much more reasonable than I would have guessed.

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Downtown Links (The “5 Minutes to Lawsuit” Edition)

Hook and Ladder on John Street’s latest ad campaign, courtesy of EV Grieve.

  • I don’t think Mariah or her lawyers will be too pleased with Hook and Ladder’s new ad. [EV Grieve]
  • If Ferrara’s in Little Italy is a tourist trap, Yvo is ready to be captured. [Feisty Foodie]
  • Ed Levine reports that Torrisi Italian Specialties delivers the goods on Mulberry Street. [Serious Eats]
  • And Ava McAlvin knows where to shop for Chinese Specialties in Chinatown and elsewhere. [Serious Eats]
  • This gyro on Kenmare is a hike from my office, but it looks worth it. [Lunch with Front Studio]

Friendly Pizza Has Great Pizza, Is Friendly

One of the many marvels of New York is that a plain slice bought from almost any of the hundreds of pizzerias in town will be decent. I don’t know if every hole-in-the-wall pizza joint just gets their dough and sauce from the same supplier or what, but I’ll buy a slice from almost anywhere and feel confident that it’ll probably be alright. Every once in a long while, I am proven terribly, terribly wrong, but that’s really not very often.

With so many pizza places in the city, however, it’s a lot of work to tell the good places from the nearly decent. We had no idea that The Grotto was better than average until Chris went there himself, and pretty much the only way to separate the tasty wheat from the merely passable chaff is trial and error.

That, or starting a blog and having readers email you tips. Former Midtown Lunch’er and current Downtown Lunch’er Matthew tipped us off to Friendly Pizzeria on the corner of Nassau and Maiden Lane, and I for one am grateful. After walking by this place for years, I finally stopped in and found a better-than-average slice and plenty of the eponymous friendliness.

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Kimchi Stew Cure-all at Soma By Nature

Soma By Nature 008
I am sick.  Sick as defined by Nyquil (I’m not getting any money from these people, but I love this shit), that is with sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, and fever.  I did not want to come to work, but deadlines were looming overhead and duty called.  So when lunch rolled around, I was looking for something that was gonna make me feel better.  Normal people might think chicken soup, but for whatever reason, not me.  Nope, my first thought was “I need to get me something spicy, something hot, something that’s going to make me forget that I’m sick.”  So stumbling down the street I saw Soma By Nature [sic] on William Street, a Korean/Japanese place I’ve been to a couple times, and couldn’t help but wander inside to see what they had to burn my face off.

Walking through the door,  meandering over to the counter, there were, of course, more than a few choices.  The menu board out front was pushing $6 specials which I might go for on another day and the menu inside really wanted me to try their bimibap, but today I felt the need for something a little more hearty.  Amid the bulgogi and soba options, Kimchi Stew jumped out at me and I went ahead and ordered it.  Given the option of either pork or vegetable, naturally I chose pork.  After a solid 10 minute wait, the lady who had taken my order came around the corner with my tray of steaming Kimchi Stew and a small bowl of rice.  This looked like just what the doctor ordered.

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PROFILE: Dowtown Lunch’er “Gigi”

As it customary here on Midtown Lunch, every Tuesday we’ll profile a different lunch’er and get their recommendations for places to eat in Downtown NYC. This week, Gigi

Name: Gigi

Age: 28 years young

Occupation: Director of a non-profit

Where do you work?: Broadway and Pine (same office building as Kevin)

Favorite Kind of Food: Chinese, of course.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Don’t really have one; it’s more about my mood dictating my preference…

Favorite Lunch(es) Downtown: Well, I’d have to go with Chinatown…

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Downtown Links (The “Secret Schweddy Family Recipe” Edition)

The Meatball Shop, courtesy of Always Hungry

Greasy Chinese to the Rescue at Win Won

Win Won 002

I feel like there’s a shortage of good, greasy Chinese food in the Financial District.  The only one ever covered here on Midtown Lunch: Downtown NYC was Yip’s, written up by my partner in crime Kevin.  And with Chinatown so close, there probably isn’t much of a need for a lot of these kinds of restaurants, but that doesn’t make the walk or subway ride up to Chinatown any more enjoyable.  Sometimes you want Chinese food and you want it now.  That’s when I head to Win Won.

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