Workaday Flatiron/Chelsea lunch
I see there's another post for lunch near the Flatiron but that seems to be for a higher price point, so I figured I'd start here instead of hijacking.
Anyway, I am getting bored with my options. I love the Shake Shack when it's open, but I can rarely get away from my desk long enough to stand in line. (Plus I can't eat too many Shack burgers or I'll puff out like a balloon.) I order lots of delivery sushi from Edo or Hanami, but I'm starting to get apoplexy realizing how much money I spend on lunch every month. I like Rickshaw but I'm getting a little bored with it. New York Burger Co. is a little too heavy for midday for me.
Help me find more tasty, quick takeout lunches in the vicinity of 23rd/5th! Under $10, healthy, and/or delivery available even better.
I order from RICE on Lexington at least once or twice a week, I am completely and hopelessly addicted to the vegetarian "meatballs" so I have very little to say about some of the other stuff on the menu. I do like the carrot rice balls, I'll pass on the eggplant maki, the edamame hummus is fantastic and the bread it comes with is even better. A co-worker of mine swears the Lebanese chicken was one of the best meals she's ever had delivered to the office. My boss likes the Thai lemongrass chicken with cilantro rice. I ordered the chicken satay once, just to mix things up, and I enjoyed it but not enough to usurp my obsession with the tofu meatballs (they're light in texture, fried crispy on the outside and taste like little savory donuts). The Asian slaw is good, but the portion is a bit much, and I often order the mesclun salad with a tropical garnish. The food is "healthy" without being obsessively so, it's not heavily salted and I've heard the food called bland, but that's OK in my book. I usually order three or four things on the menu and come in under $15, delivery is usually fast and the staff (from the people answering the phones, to the guys making the deliveries) are all very nice.
I also love Uncle Moe's on 19th between 5th & 6th. When it was so frigidly cold outside my office ordered from here more often than not, I'd call and place an order and - no joke - they would call us from the lobby 5 minutes later with our food. I don't like burritos, so can't dish on them for you, but the tacos are very very good across the board. I like the fish tacos, they're grilled salmon ($3.75). The Uncle Moe's ceaser salad (a small one, that's more than ample, is $3.50) is a recent favorite. And nice nice nice people!
There's a deli on 5th Ave between 18th & 19th that has a good udon counter in the back, and a bit further back in the deli a good Mongolian BBQ bar. The rest of their offerings are your standard midtown deli fare, but the udon and the BBQ are good when you need a change in the area.
Bravo Pizza on 5th between 19th & 20th has delicious fresh mozarella slices. The regular slices are serviceable, but nuthin' special.
And have you tried the salads from NY Burger Company? I hear you when you say it's heavy for the middle of the day, but the salads are actually very good. I get the Greek Islands chicken salad and an Elvis smoothie, and I'm a happy camper. And how about the veggie burger (the Big Deal with water and a side salad)? I would recommend Chop't, but everytime we've ordered from there we're given a wait time of 60-90 minutes, which is awful when you're hungry...and they frequently mess up your order...and I think they are pretty pricey.
I also second Eisenberg's for those days when you just HAVE to have a hot, juicy pastrami on rye, order a Lime Rickey to go with it. Talking to those guys on the phone is enough to keep you giggling for an hour, and they're FAST.
I really like Republic as well, but the last time I ordered (my favorite is the chicken udon with peanuts and mint-coconut-spinach sauce $8) there was far too much mint and the chicken was dried out like shoe leather. But they are super quick, I got my dried up chicken udon in about 10 minutes.
And don't forget Spoon on 20th between 5th & 6th. Good sandwiches, great desserts. It's more of a breakfast and coffee spot, but lately I've popped in for a sandwich and to see if they have their chocolate bread pudding. Holy cow. Chocolate bread pudding, with a delicate banana custard. Torn up toasted croissants. In a tiny disposable ramekin. Perfect when you need something sweet, and it isn't a giant, sawdust cookie.
Danielle's Piadina: italian flatbread sandwiches with priscioutto, fresh mozza and the like. tasty and light. 22nd & 6th.
Tebaya: japanese chicken wings... apparently the only of this variety in nyc. delicious. sweet and garlicky sauce, black pepper and sesame seeds. $6.95 lunch special with 8 of them and salad, rice and soda. not overly filling. 19th btwn 6th & 7th.
Mangia: buffet and various food stations of italian fare. like many mega-deli's of new york, but tastier and healthier options. 23rd btwn 5th & 6th.
Have you tried the tea room at Tamarind? I haven't been there in a while but they used to have delicious wraps, and at the time they were reasonably priced.
Eisenberg's is of course not healthy but it is a great place and very inexpensive.
There is a great little spot (Benvenuto cafe?) on the corner of 23rd and Broadway in Madison Green building on 5 East 22nd Street with a superb salad bar and good soups. I have always thought that a seat at the counter facing the park is one of the best seats in NYC!