Quiet and reasonable midtown lunch
It's not my usual neighborhood but am looking for a quiet, casual, reasonable - in other words - not your typical midtown establishment - for lunch - 3rd Avenue to 8th - 36th to 59th
I am a big fan of the Tea Box in the basement of Takashimaya department store on 5th at 54th. Lovely Japanese lunches -- I think the most expensive item is the bento box at $17, but everything else is around $12.
AQ Cafe, in the Scandinavian House, on Park Av., b/t 37th & 38th Sts., is a satellite of Aquavit. Chef Marcus Samuelsson is responsible for the menu of hot dishes, soups, salads, sandwiches, etc. (Love those Swedish meatballs!) It's a cafeteria-style set-up with lots of tables in the spacious, attractive lobby.
Note: A second satellie, AQ Kafe, has just opened at B'way & 58th St. Can't tell you anything about the ambiance. I think it has the same menu though I've heard prices may be higher.