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Casual lunch near Madison and 32nd?

My friend and I are going to be killing time before we can check into our hotel (Roger Williams). Can anyone recommend a good lunch spot where we can linger, not spend a fortune and feel like a local?

Open to pretty much anything.

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  1. It would be helpful if you would provide some specifics. Cuisine preferences? Any avoids? Where are you coming from? (If you are from the South, we wouldn't suggest bbq.) Since "not spend a fortune" can be interpreted differently depending on one's bank account, please tell us your per person budget for food only -- beverages, tax (nearly 9%) and tip (20%) additional.


    9 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Coming from Toronto. I've been to a NYC few times but my pal hasn't been there for 20 years (since a highschool art trip). To give you an idea of where I've been---Spotted Pig, Pastis, John's Pizzeria on Bleeker, Claude Patisserie, Bar Centrale....

      I love deli food. Was wondering if Sarge's is walking distance. Was there in Feb 2010 and really liked the pastrami and coleslaw.

      Also like Mexican, Indian, Italian. Would prefer to avoid Thai, Korean and Japanese as Toronto has an abundance of those places.

      Would prefer to keep it under $20-25 per person (tax and tip included). Thanks!

      1. re: cherrypicker1972

        Sarges is an easy walk.( hopefully you can store your luggage), great Indian on Lex in the high 2o's.

        Sarge's Delicatessen
        548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

        1. re: cherrypicker1972

          Coming from Toronto, I'd suggest avoiding Indian food in Manhattan.

          1. re: FoodDabbler

            but, if you want nyc indian, you're right near great options on lexington in the high 20s. others can give more up to date/ specific options.

            ditto the breslin recommendation--the lamb burger is delicious, and the brioche donuts are out of this world. afterwards, the lobby of the ACE hotel is a great place to linger, +/- get a drink at the bar, or coffee at stumptown.

            18 W 29th Street, New York, NY 10001

          2. re: cherrypicker1972

            Another choice for deli is 2nd Ave. Deli, on 33rd, b/t Lex & 3rd (a little closer to your hotel than Sarge's). Imo, if there is any deli meat better than pastrami, it's knoblewurst. Sarge's doesn't have it, but 2nd Ave. does. Just had a hot knoblewurst on rye at 2nd Ave. on Sunday. In a word: Dynamite! Also, get the round knish. Delish!

            2nd Ave. Deli photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...


            Second Avenue Deli
            162 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

            1. re: RGR

              I love 2nd Ave Deli but OP should note it's more expensive (being kosher). I think it's worth it but not everybody does.

              Dang it, now I want a pastrami sandwich and matzo ball soup.

              1. re: RGR

                Inspired by you, by kathryn's response, and by the rather chilly weather I went to 2nd Ave this evening and had a bowl of matzo ball soup and half a pastrami sandwich. I was a little disappointed. The soup was made sprightly with fresh dill, but the broth was a little low on flavor, the carrots hard, and the matzo ball rather compressed. The pastrami was very, very salty. I had eaten at 2nd Ave Deli a few times soon after they opened at their new location, and I don't remember this level of saltiness. I much prefer the pastrami at Carnegie and much, much, much prefer Katz's.

                I brought home some tongue and 4" of knoblewurst. The tongue is rather mild and bland, although properly tender. At $40/lb it's hideously not cheap. The knoblewurst is the best thing I got there: beautifully garlicy with a lovely texture. I'm snacking on some slices as I type this. Thanks for the tip.

                Katz's Delicatessen
                205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                Carnegie Deli
                854 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                1. re: FoodDabbler

                  I don't like chicken soup (it's a story dating back to my childhood), but my husband loves it. So, he's the one who ordered it. I did taste it, though, and it was the dill that stood out for me as it did for you.

                  The first time we ate at 2nd Ave.'s new location, I ordered pastrami, specifying extra-fatty; instead, what I got something was exactly the reverse -- dry! Blech! Sometime after that, I stopped in and bought a hunk of knoblewurst to take home. It was outstanding! From then on, I vowed that anytime we go there, that's what I will order. I've done so twice within the past few months, and it has not disappointed me.

                  I'm glad you like the knoblewurst. I only eat it hot. I slice it and then put the slices into a steamer basket in a pot with simmering water, covered.


                  1. re: RGR

                    On fatty meat: I took home a menu last night and just looked at it. In the sandwich section they say that lean meat will cost an extra $1, extra-lean an extra $2, then add insult/warning to financial injury by saying "Not responsible for lean meat."

          3. Artisanal is right around there if you like cheese. You could share a fondue at leisure.

            2 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016

            1. u have all of Koreatown on 32nd to choose from

              1. You'll be just a few blocks north of Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. If it's a warm dry day you could certainly feel like a local and people-watch all afternoon.
                (not to be pedantic, but RW Hotel is at 31st, not 32nd, tell your cabbie)

                Shake Shack
                Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

                1. I like Penelope's at Lex and 30th. especially the Curried Chicken Salad.

                  159 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                  1. I love weekday lunch at the Breslin and have never felt rushed there.

                    The Breslin
                    20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

                    1. Check ot the Murray Hill threads on this board. But, for a short cut:

                      1. Artisanal on 32nd between Park and Lex specializes in cheese (a little pricier but they do have lunch specials)
                      2. Les Halles for a steak-focused French bistro around 28th and Park (gets mixed reviews on this board but they have affortable steak frites, and you can certainly linger).
                      3. Mandoo Bar on 32nd between Fifth and Broadway for Korean. Yum.
                      4. Dos Caminos for Mexican also around 27th and Park.
                      5. Barbes on 36th between Madison and Fifth for French/Moroccan
                      6. ilili on Fifth Ave between 27thand 28th for Lebanese/Middle Eastern

                      Mandoo Bar
                      2 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

                      Dos Caminos
                      373 Park Ave South, New York, NY 10016

                      Les Halles
                      411 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016

                      236 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10001

                      21 E 36th St, New York, NY 10016

                      1. Wow. Thanks, folks. Certainly no shortage of choices. What is the main difference between 2nd Ave Deli and Sarge's? The Breslin sounds awesome. And a cousin of mine recommended Artisanal. Maybe we'll try that for dins. Thanks again, gang. :-)

                        The Breslin
                        20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: cherrypicker1972

                          2nd Ave. Deli is kosher while Sarge's is not kosher but "kosher-style."

                          ETA: Sarge's is open 24/7/365(6); 2nd Ave. is not.


                          1. re: RGR

                            Sarge's makes its own (for better or worse), or used to, 2nd Ave does not.
                            Sarge's costs slightly less than 2nd Ave.

                            1. re: FoodDabbler

                              When I said "makes its own" I was referring to the pastrami.

                        2. One other to consider would be the Madison Bistro (37th and Mad). Check out the menu to see if it fits your bill; lingering is encouraged. www.madisonbistro.com

                          Madison Bistro
                          238 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016

                          1. Mulligans on Madison and 38th or 39th has GREAT burgers and fits entirely within your budget.

                            Mulligan's Pub
                            267 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016