The midtown scene can be pretty dire. Not to mention expensive. And as much as I enjoy overpaying for sub-par food and drink at impersonal chain restaurants … Oh wait, I don’t enjoy that at all.
Luckily there are a few bright spots scattered about here and there. Here are some of my faves:
Choice #1 for lunch is Tom Colicchio and Sisha Ortuzar’s sandwich mini-chain ‘wichcraft.
For about $10 you can get a yummy lunch made with quality ingredients. With options like slow-roasted Berkshire pork, smoked turkey with goat cheese and mashed chickpea with roast pepper there’s something for everyone.
Plus: they make good soups and delightful mini cookie sandwiches, like lemon poppyseed with raspberry or oatmeal with caramel cream. A perfect little afternoon pick me up.
It looks a little too pink from the outside, but Macaron Cafe place turns out good salads and sandwiches at reasonable prices – like the croque monsieur I sampled this week that came with a little side salad and mustard vinaigrette for $10.
As the name suggests the house specialty is macarons – New York’s new fad food item, giving the cupcake a run for its money. Macaron Cafe turns out a wide variety of flavors including classic (cassis) and not so classic (pumpkin spice). But at $3 a pop these are not the most budget friendly treats ever.
Location: 625 Madison Avenue, entrance on 59th Street between Park and Madison
Subway: 6 to 59th Street or the N, R to 5th Avenue
Prices: sandwiches and salad from $8-10, macarons $3
My go-to for coffee when I’m at work and in need of some caffeine help. Helps that you feel as though you’ve walked into Italy when you enter. I like to pretend and say “ciao” and “grazie” to the waiters, just for good measure.
The Lantern’s Keep at the Iroquois Hotel
As I was bemoaning the lack of good cocktails in midtown the other night at Milk and Honey, bartender Theo told me clearly I had not frequented his establishment yet. It’s true – some good things happened while I was away in Europe and Lantern’s Keep is one of them.
Tucked away in the back of the historic Iroquois Hotel, it features a list of the classics and a staff that can, in good Sasha Petraske fashion, make you exactly you want, even when you don’t know what that is yourself. And so now I can go out after work and not cry on the inside every time I order a drink.
Location: 49 West 44th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues
Subway: F, M, B, D to Bryant Park
Prices: $14 a cocktail, plus a menu of yummy snacks ranging from $4 to $19