best lunch place near moma
A few blocks south at Rock Center there's a food court downstairs. Tri-Tip Grill is my fave there, but there are quite a few options.
A few blocks N: on 55th St there Menchanko-Tei (very good ramen soups), on 56th St. there's Tina's Cuban restaurant with many very good sandwiches at around $7 or cooked food for $10-12. A plate of fried pork chops (comes with with fries and salad) easily feeds 2 people in my opinion. Entering the place, as seating is in the back, you'll pass by the trays with cooked food, so you can see what looks good to you. I also like their patties (empanadas) - filled with chicken, beef or cheese.
Also on 56th there's another good Japanese restaurant, Sushi-ya - good bento boxes at $15, excellent udon soups and generally good value and quality sushi.
23 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019
43 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019
28 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019
Tri Tip Grill
30 Rockefeller Plz, New York, NY 10112
The cafeteria in MoMA (2nd floor) is not too bad, if you're going to be inside the museum anyway. There are also dueling halal food carts at 53rd and 6th. The famous one uses yellow bags and in the daytime is on the SE corner. The upstart challenger uses white bags. There's a second cart associated the yellow-bag outfit at 7th and 53rd. At either place, ask for as much hot sauce as you can handle. Somewhat better than these, in my view, is the biryani cart at the SW corner of 46th and 6th.
All this assumes that you'll find the bar room at The Modern, the formal restaurant associated with the museum, too pricey to eat at with hungry teens. If not, that's your best food bet.
I like the food at Ma Peche as well. It's possible to get out at lunch without spending too much. In another food direction, there's the burger joint hidden behind a curtain at Le Parker Meridien on 56th off 6th. See http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/767036 for comments, pro and con. I like it myself, based on one recent experience, but you'll need to go early to avoid long lines. (The same is true of the cafeteria in MoMA.)
Edited to add: if you eat at Ma Peche, and even if you don't, consider dessert (soft serve, cookies, etc.) at the Milk Bar in the front.
15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019