Monday, January 26, 2015

tbsp at Spoon

17 W. 20th St, NY, NY 10010

Rating: A - Excellent
Visit #: 2
Whoever makes the cakes at tbsp & spoon should be highly commended for his/her command of light fluffiness combined with a texture and taste that is worth ooohing over. Last week we tried, and loved, the olive oil cake. This time they had a coffee cake instead. We tried that, and loved it as well.
01-23 coffeecake


7 W. 20th St, NY, NY 10010

Rating: 6 - Regretfully Yours
Visit #: 1
In brief: We're not snobby eaters here at Lunch Studio, and we are definitely not too picky to try something new, no matter the setting. But sometimes there are duds. And Aleo was a bit of a dude. 01-23 Aleo
The atmosphere at Aleo is empty and a little shabby, but that's ok, we don't need fancy tablecloths and shiny silverware. The lunch specials seemed inoffensive, and at $13 for a sandwich and salad or fries, we didn't have the highest expectations. But then the salad came, and the sandwiches next. Both looked so much like the kind of generic European restaurant fare that you might find next to a train station that we had that moment of doubt. A moment of doubt proved correct in the bland sandwiches and nothing special salad. Oh well. Can't win 'em all.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Le Pain Quotidien

931 Broadway, NY, NY 10010

Rating: F - Fail
Visit #: 6
Not for the first time, a cookie judged by its slightly burnt, deeply browned appearance completely lets us down. In fact this cookie so gravely failed us that we couldn't even have more than a bite or two. It's hard to describe what precisely offends, but there was no flavor to the cookie, it was like eating a well textured piece of baked sugar and flour. Bleh. 01-22 chocolate chip cookie


16 W. 23rd St, NY, NY 10010

Rating: 2 - Super Happy
Visit #: 9
In brief: The Italian at Lenny's makes us so happy, so very happy. It's the shredded lettuce. 01-22 Lenny's

Hill Country

30 W. 26th St, NY, NY 10010

Rating: A - Excellent
Visit #: 5
In brief: Even though you have to go through the hostess, into the dining hall and back around out to the cashier and even though the chocolate cookie looked too doughy, it was totally and absolutely worth it. This cookie is all sorts of stellar awesomeness. Worth whatever you have to do to get one. 01-22 chocolate chip cookie

Bombay Sandwich Co.

48 W. 27th St, NY, NY 10001

Rating: 3 - Feeling Good
Visit #: 5
In brief: As always, great. 01-22 Bombay Sandwich Co
What can we say. The vegetarian lentil bowl at Bombay Sandwich Co. is good, nay, great, even for a meat-loving carnivore such as myself.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ootoya, with Oka

8 W. 18th St, NY, NY 10010

Rating: 3 - Feeling Good
Visit #: 11
In brief: M. ventured out into korokke (croquettes) land today at Ootoya01-16 Ootoya
More usually korokkes found in Japanese restaurants here are of the cream version but M. noticed a potato version at Ootoya last week and could not resist. Aside from the addition of cheese, she reports that it was ok and probably she would order it again one day.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

tbsp at Spoon

17 W. 20th St, NY, NY 10010

Rating: A - Excellent
Visit #: 2
We've been slacking off on posting afternoon desserts but this olive oil cake from tbsp is really good and we have to share. Olive oil cakes can lean towards too much olive oil but this one is just enough. The cake itself is moist, delicate and yummy. We shared this piece but it's not impossible to have one all to yourself and still feel good about it.
01-15 lemon olive oil cake

Les Halles, with Maggie and Chris

15 John St, NY, NY 10038

Rating: 3 - Feeling Good
Visit #: 2
In brief: Anthony Bourdain's classic French bistro, Les Halles, is authentic down to the slightly aloof waiter. 01-15 Les Halle
We went downtown to Les Halles for a birthday lunch with Maggie and (except for M.), we all ordered steaks. Because what else are you going to eat a classic French bistro in celebration of another year of friendship except steak frites. Maggie ordered the one with blue cheese, Chris the peppercorn sauce and I went straight up steak and mustard. We all polished off every last bite.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Barn Joo

893 Broadway, NY, NY 10010

Rating: 3 - Feeling Good
Visit #: 3
In brief: Barn Joo moves up in our happiness scale because today we finally figured out that the hot stone bi bim bap is the dish to order. 01-12 BarnJoo
It's a nice lunch size portion stuffed with lots of bulgogi, a sunny side up egg and tons of veggies. There was a satisfying crunch today to the rice and I like the little ban chan of kimchi and minature salted anchovies. Paired with a yuzu lemonade that we shared, I have a feeling we'll be going back to Barn Joo for this dish again.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Via Emilia

47 E. 21st St, NY, NY 10010

Rating: 4 - Just Fine
Visit #: 5
In brief: In which I try something new at Via Emilia01-08 ViaEmilia
Of all the myriad Italian pasta restaurants in the neighborhood, I often end up at Via Emilia for a hot plate of bolognese ragu which is why I failed to notice the $13.50 lunch special which consists of this plate that you see and four different little tastes. It's a little like a Japanese bento lunch box without the box part. If you like a little variety in your lunching palette, do try. $13.50 is such a reasonable amount for a change of pace.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Terakawa Ramen

18 Lexington Ave, NY, NY 10010

Rating: 4 - Just Fine
Visit #: 6
In brief: Probably every time we have ramen at the only ramen joint within a 10 block radius of the office, we bemoan the lack of noodle soups in the Flatiron District. 01-07 Terakawa Ramen
Today was no different. It wouldn't have to be ramen, but what we wouldn't give for a bowl of pho or a good, piping hot bowl of egg noodle and roast pork. Don't think this will be the last time we whine about it now that winter has truly hit. At least Terakawa Ramen was less crowded than it normally is, though as hectic as always.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cafe El Presidente

30 W. 24th St, NY, NY 10010

Rating: 4 - Just Fine
Visit #: 2
In brief: Seems strange that we would have only been here twice, when we loved the Tacombi in Nolita so much. But Cafe El Presidente doesn't suffer from lack of love, the place is pretty bustling, even in arctic temps. 01-06 El Presidente
The tacos never taste the same, so it almost doesn't matter what you order because each time it's like a new surprise. The Angus Beef Picadillo was fun and the Maiz y Poblano not a bad option either. What I really crave is the breakfast menu, available, sadly, only at breakfast times.

Monday, January 5, 2015


29 E. 29th St, NY, NY 10016

Rating: 3 - Feeling Good
Visit #: 1
In brief: The Patate alla Carbonara, as promised by Bionic Bites, was divine. The Marguerita was fine, nothing particularly special. 01-05 Marta
Danny Meyer always knows how to make an impressive impression, and with architect Annabelle Selldorf, he does so at Marta, his newly opened pizzeria in the soaring ceilings of the Martha Washington Hotel. I love me a good carbonara, especially when it's done properly with raw egg and no cream. The Patate alla Carbonara pizza achieves precisely that. The egg does move it into the category of good for breakfast, but we don't mind a good breakfast dish for lunch. The Marguerita was far less impressive with an almost bland sauce and uninteresting cheese. Oh well, you can't have it all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Homes Kitchen

22 E. 21st St, NY, NY 10010

Rating: 2 - Super Happy
Visit #: 15
In brief: We actually tried something different today. 12-24 Home's Kitchen
The Cantonese noodle soup is a decent, though slightly boring, choice if you're looking to fill a noodle soup craving. Of course the prices are nothing like what you would find in Chinatown, but hey we'll take what we can get up here. The city feels already deserted and I am just typing up this one last lunch post to say Happy Holidays. We hope you eat well and merrily. See you in the new year!