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Cheap lunch in east midtown?

looking for some cheap but good lunch in east midtown, 50s and 60s. what do you recommend?

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  1. People's idea of "cheap" can differ, so give us your per person budget for *food only* (drinks, tax & tip additional). Also, what are your cuisine preferences? And avoids?

    1. checkout midtownlunch.com

        1. re: gadiii

          Kanaat (Turkish buffet), Marrakesh, Ariyoshi, Cippola Rossa, Kar Won, Tadka, Grand Sichuan East--all in my regular lunch rotation.

          http://petercherches.blogspot.com

          1. re: Peter Cherches

            I haven't yet been to Tadka, the odd inclusion of potatoes in their vindaloo somewhat alarms me, but I can attest to the great Indian food at Darbar Grill. Kanaat has a good buffet, but for under $15 you can also get good Turkish at Taksim.

            1. re: JungMann

              Potatoes in vindaloo is not odd at all. Most Indian vindaloos have them, and it's because of a false cognate--Indian chefs thought the aloo referred to potatoes, rather than a variant on vinho d'alho.

              1. re: Peter Cherches

                I had never encountered potatoes in vindaloo before Tadka. That's not to say it doesn't exist elsewhere, just not something I have seen and not something I put in the vindaloo I make at home.

                1. re: JungMann

                  My source was Wikipedia, which I consulted before my review of Tadka's vindaloo:

                  "Vindaloo is an Indian dish. The term Vindaloo derives from the Portuguese dish "Carne de Vinha d' Alhos", a dish of meat, usually pork, with wine and garlic. Alternate terms are Vindalho or Vindallo. "Carne de Vinha d' Alhos" was first brought to Goa by the Portuguese[1] and became a Goan meal often served during special occasions. The traditional Portuguese dish was made with pork preserved in red wine or red wine vinegar, chili pepper, and stewed with garlic. The dish evolved into the Vindaloo curry dish when it received the Goan treatment of adding plentiful amounts of spice.[2] Restaurants often serve this dish with chicken or lamb sometimes mixed with potatoes.[1] Traditional vindaloos do not include potatoes, the discrepancy arising because the word "aloo" means "potato" in Hindi.[3]"

                  Another source says:

                  The current version of this dish reflects this evolution, the result being a rather fiery, vinegary curry, most typically but not exclusively featuring pork, often including onions, tomatoes, and/or cauliflower. Although the traditional vindaloo does not historically include potatoes, modern vindaloos often do, as a result of an etymological faux pas. Simply, the word for “potato” in Hindi is aloo. Over time, as the Portuguese provenance became more obscure, alho became aloo, and a concomitant expectation arose that there would be potatoes in a dish with “potato” in its name. Gradually cooks obliged by including them in their vindaloos, with the result being tasty, if inauthentic. Also, chicken and lamb vindaloos grew in popularity, accommodating tastes and religious customs that eschew pork.

                  http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-vinda...

                  plus I came across a discussion forum thread questioning why Vindaloo in the UK usually has potatoes.

                  1. re: Peter Cherches

                    I was aware of the Goan origin of the dish and the false cognate, but I do appreciate this informational. Cauliflower is a permutation I definitely haven't encountered but would be interested to try!

                    I have had such bad experiences with Indo-Pak in NYC (E. 6th St., I'm looking at you!) that anything out of place on the menu immediately rings alarms for me. I suppose I need to stop being such a stuffed shirt and get to Tadka at some point.

          2. re: gadiii

            La Bonne Soupe has reopened. Lots of items on the menu for less than $15.

            http://www.labonnesoupe.com

          3. Tenzan for sushi & Japanese: 2nd btw 52nd/53rd
            Dishes (54th and Park)
            Also echo the recs for: Grand Sich Eastern, Tadka

            www.thelunchbelle.com