Red Cat, but not Red Cat
Looking for a place with a vibe and ambience like Red Cat, not pretentious but still elegant, with a similar type of New American food, but for lunch time.
Financial District or Upper East Side are more convinient locations but anywhere in Manhattan will do.
I haven't been to Red Cat, so I may be way off the mark here, but I would recommend Cafe Boulud. I've not had lunch there but from my dinner experiences, I can assure you it offers understated elegance without pretentions. As for the cuisine, while it is French influenced (as is much of New American cuisine), there are 4 different menus + daily specials that provide an eclectic range of dishes. Needless to say, the food is superb.
Reviving this old post, does anyone have other ideas? Something comfortable and solid, nice without completely breaking the bank, good for large groups (8 or so) with a variety of ages/likes/dislikes? I may just end up at Red Cat - it's a great place - but trying to think of other similar places. Cookshop would be another possibility I suppose.
Two places come to mind in the same neighborhood as the Red Cat: (1) Trestle on Tenth, right across the st. from Red Cat--I recommend BUT I'm not certain they're open for lunch, so check on Menupages.com first; and the Green Table, in Chelsea Market.
Ah - I didn't notice that the OP had asked specifically for lunch - I'm looking for dinner. Thanks for the recs.