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Aug 7, 2011 05:18 PM

Claire's New Haven

Claire's Corner Copia in New Haven is worth knowing about. Especially for anyone driving through Connecticut on Route 95 or with a reason to be in New Haven.

This is good home cooking of the kosher/vegetarian and vegan persuasion. The decor and atmosphere have been preserved in amber from the tie-dyed 1970's. Or, at least, they work hard to make it look that way.

It's popular, and has been there for decades. The Rav of the principal shul in New Haven supervises. It is open seven days a week.

The food is very good. Fresh bread, lots of daily specials. There were three of us and we had: fettuccine with spinach and feta, a perfectly spiced curried vegetables with rice, and squash flower pancakes with two sauces (spicy tomato cause and sour cream). Today's specials filled two good-sized chalkboards. You can see the set menu online

All three choices were good. It's pretty informal, but you could go with non-Jewish colleagues and not be embarrassed as long as you tell them it's a 70's style veggie place. You won't leave hungry or unhappy.

If I was driving to New England on a family vacation, I would pull off the highway, have lunch, and let the kids run around the New Haven Green. It's just off Route 95 on your route to Mystic, Newport, Cape Cod or Boston.

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  1. You are right. The best vegetarian type restaurant anywhere. The food is great. It makes you think you are back in college (even if you went to CCNY). Big college crowd, some 60s leftovers, some in yamulkas, but all having great food.

    24 Replies
    1. re: jeffrosenbaum

      Agreed. Ate there recently and loved the place. Wish there was something like this in NYC.

      1. re: CWY

        Claire's is truly amazing, only issue is that it would never take off in NYC as it is open on Shabbos, albeit owned by non-Jews.

        1. re: wallstbnkr

          True. sigh. The odd thing is that many people (like me) who eat in veggie places that are open on Shabbos and certified by the local Vaad or the Rav of the local congregation in San Francisco, Seattle and New Haven don't eat similar veggie places in New York. Why? Because "no one trusts them." And the fact is that the private hechscherim can be very hard to verify.

          I personally think that the New York agencies do us a great disservice by not certifying veggie places in New York that are open on Shabbat. If they did, we would have reliably kosher places in neighborhoods that now lack them. But, more significantly, it would reduce the slander, loshon hara and sinas chinam that sometimes appears to dominate and divide our community as it did 2,000 years ago.

          1. re: AdinaA

            It's a catch-22/vicious cycle that I refuse to give in to. I eat at places like that with no hesitation and with a kippah on my head.

            1. re: AdinaA


              I know for a fact that Claire's and Edge of the Woods in New Haven get Shabbos visits from the certifying Rabbis.

              In smaller cities/towns these veg establishments tend to be in walking distance on Shabbos and the proprietors know a visit can be on any day they are open. In NYC and other large cities a veg establishment may often be in a business district and the owner has no concern that a certifying rabbi will walk in on Shabbos, thus the 'I don't trust them' attitude.

              1. re: bagelman01

                Your explanation does not account for the fact that the highest number of these establishments in NYC is found on the Upper West Side, home to many prominent rabbis. There are those of us who recall when certain national kashrut agencies did certify open-on-shabbat restaurants. The simple reality is that the community’s norms have shifted (or have been shifted) and the larger agencies reflect that. Doing otherwise would affect any national agency’s ability to retain its standing and acceptance.

                1. re: Kosher Critic

                  Maybe rabbis of the Upper West Side (or anywhere else in NYC, for that matter) don't want to spend any of their day of rest visiting and inspecting restaurants. It's true that the communities' norms have shifted, but I would think it might also have to do with the fact that the owners of these places aren't Jewish and just may not be as careful as a Jewish/frum owner would be.

                  Case in point: I was at Claire's Corner Copia recently, and wanted to wash for bread. There was clearly no special sink, and when I asked where I could wash, I figured they'd lead me to the kitchen. Instead, I was led to the bathroom, where it's a bit of an inconvenience to wash for bread, to say the least. There is no washing cup, and you can't say the brocha in the bathroom itself, and you need to ask for a key to the bathroom, so once I was in there and saw there was no cup, I was stuck, because if I left to get a cup, I'd have to ask for the key again, so it's a bit of a logistical hassle.

                  I have no problem with the kashrut of the place, and don't doubt for a minute that it is perfectly fine to eat there. But . . . when a place seems so unknowledgeable of the needs of its frum clientele, I wonder if that place would be appropriately careful in certain situations (like if they would run out of some ingredient). I'm not even implying a situation of trying to "get away with something;" I'm just thinking that someone who doesn't really know kashrut might just be inclined to replace a kosher brand of something with a non-certified brand of something in a situation where they unexpectedly ran out of the kosher brand.

                  Really I don't know how these inspections are run, and maybe I'm really far off, but I have to say that I was surprised that they didn't seem to understand when I asked about washing for bread at Claire's (along with all the other washing-related issues I mentioned), and it got me to thinking that there might be some other things about keeping kosher that they wouldn't know about on their own, and which wouldn't make them any less vegetarian for their vegetarian customers, but which would be an issue for their kosher-keeping customers.

                  1. re: queenscook

                    " maybe I'm really far off, but I have to say that I was surprised that they didn't seem to understand when I asked about washing for bread at Claire's (along with all the other washing-related issues I mentioned)"

                    Yes, I think you really are far off. The proprietors of Claire's are very careful about the kashrut of their ingredients, all of which are insopected and approved by the supervising rabbi. They have been known to be 'out' of an item if they cannot get the ingredient from the approved list, not substitute another.
                    It is not the restaranteur's job to be knowledeable about the halachot of handwashing. This is a non-Jewish restaurant, that happensd to serve only kosher food.
                    As to your mistaken assumption that you would be led into the kitchen to wash your hands. The choice was not up to the establishment. Local code does not permit handwashing (for religious need or cleanliness) in the kitchen prep sinks, A special handwashing sink is required, or employees may use the rest room to wash hands. Furthemore, the insurance carrier may forbid customer entry into the kitchen for liability reasons.
                    Disclosure: I am an attorney here in Connecticut and am familiar with the health code and insurance ciompany restrictions.

                    You seem to suffer from self reference criteria, you frequent kosher restaurants mostly (or exclusively) owned and operated by Jews who cater largely to a Jewish clientele and provide washing stations, maybe even bentchers. Here yoy have a non Jewish restranteur who serves a mainly non-Jewish clientele, who has borne the expense of kosher ingredients and supervision to accomodate the relatively small kosher population in New Haven, Claire is to be applauded, not derided for this.
                    You could/should have asked if there was a cup in the bathroom before entering, but why you assumed there would be one, when you don't generally was and make a brocha in a bathroom, I don't know................
                    I would not expect the average employee at Claire's to know about washing, the owners maybe, from experience with the rabbi and others.
                    I can say in more than 20 years of occasional eating at Claire's, washing has never been an issue for me, I've never eaten bread there, soups, salads, cakes, eggplant, lasagna, but never a sandwich or bread,

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      If a restaurant is scrupulously careful about kashrut, whether Jewish owned or not, as you (AND I, for that matter) assume Claire's to be, then on a menu that includes pizzas, sandwiches, burritos, and small loaves of bread which accompany many of the main dishes (and more bread dishes, I am sure), it is hard to believe that in 20 plus years of keeping kosher, no one has ever had the issue with handwashing that I had. In the hour I was there, I saw at least three other frum parties come in, so it's not as though the place is only occasionally frequented by religious Jews. The fact that you have never eaten bread there means nothing; if it is part of the menu, it should be accounted for, and it surprises me greatly that the rav ha'machshir has never suggested that it would make it easier for the frum clientele. If they didn't care about this segment of their clientele, why would they bother going through the expense and hassle of keeping the place kosher anyway? What's in it for them? They certainly don't promote the fact, so I don't think it's that business that we often hear of "many people think kosher is better, cleaner, healthier, etc." even if they don't keep kosher exclusively. The fact that the place is kosher is kept pretty well a secret, so I don't think it's bringing anyone off the street.

                      As for the ingredient substitution issue I mentioned, I said it was a possibility at OTHER veggie places, not Claire's, so please don't put words in my mouth or try to twist what I said to mean what works better for your argument.

                      While it is true that I mainly eat in Jewish-owned establishments, I have also eaten in a number of the non-Jewish owned dairy/veggie places in Seattle, and did not find the same issues with washing. Places had either a washing station and/or knew what I was talking about. I don't even see how you can say that it would be acceptable for the average employee at Claire's to not know about washing; if kosher diners are important enough for the place to go through the intricacies of keeping the establishment kosher, how could it be so hard to say to/teach the staff "some people may ask to wash their hands in a ritual manner in order to eat bread. If they do, please let them know this cup is available for them to do that." An additional 30 seconds of training for something that I have to assume comes up often enough, based on the number of clearly frum patrons in one hour that I saw, doesn't seem out of line. If you want to say that the owners are remaining kosher for the benefit of the few kosher patrons, then they should make it easier; if it's for their own benefit (financially or as a "public service,") they should make it easier. There's no downside. I was not deriding anyone, not Claire as a person, not Claire's as a restaurant, and not any other establishment.

                      I notice you did not speak at all to the key issue many worry about with restaurants open on shabbat--the lack of shabbat visits, and my conjecture that rabbis in the NY area might not want to go do that on shabbat. Any thoughts on that?

                      1. re: queenscook

                        I find this a frequent problem and I empathize. A fair number of restaurants don't have a good place to wash, or there's a sink, but no cup, or you have to actually walk into the kitchen. (even in Jewish-owned places like Rami's Israeli falafel in Boston.)

                        I've been to Claire's only twice, I don't get to Yale all that often. But both times I was there, Claire's was informal, almost chaotic, and quite busy. It's an informal place, and while the staff behind the counter is friendly and English speaking, it's not all that easy to get one of the or one of the dishwashers in the noisy, kitchen (the doorway is open) to actually get you the bathroom key, let alone direct you to a washing stand.

                        I wouldn't be at all surprised if Claire's had had a washing arrangement from time to time. Although we couldn't find it and just made do when someone actually managed ot obtain a bathroom key.

                        As I said, the staff is friendly, but it's inexpensive, chaotic and the low-wage restaurant staff can turn over pretty often and forget a washing sink arrangement that a moshgiach carefully set up and explained before the guy you ask about it today was even hired. I tend not to expect too much special accommodation in such circumstances , but to make do and just be very grateful that a restaurant near Yale exists and that the food is wonderful.

                        1. re: queenscook

                          I do not think what rabbis in NY do to be a key issue at all, as this restaurant is NOT in NY. Even though my family came to NY in the 1860s and my parents and siblings were born there, I was born in New Haven and don't feel that the world revolves around New York. There are many Jews in the USA outside of New York and kosher food is available. There is a concept in kashrut called 'kashrus hamakom' and it is up to the community to establish that. Claire's has been under supervision for decades. It is accomodating to a long established Jewish community that has been unable to maintain a Jewish owned kosher restaurant for any length of time in more than 50 years.

                          I have personally walked with the supervising rabbi after shabbos services to make surprise visits at establishments he supervised (including a privately owned nursing home in the 1990s) and know that he wouldn't lend his name to a place that he wasn't sure he could inspect or have inspected at any time.

                          As to making it easier for kosher consumers to frequent Claire's, I don't see their obligation to set up a washing station. I guess we in the hinterland are used to the idea of taking or asking for a cup if we are going to wash before eating.

                          I just feel that there is too much expectation for NY standards (amenities, not kashrut) outside of NYC when NYers travel.

                          If Claire's took 5 square feet to install a washing station, it would not throw off enough additional revenue to make up for loss of seating or food display. I feel that it is enough that they bear the cost of supervision for the small kosher community, being kosher for a non-Jewish owned establishment should not be a financial burden.

                          BTW, Claire (a wonderful person) did not seek the supervision to expand her business, she was approached by community members asking of she could make a few changes to provide a koher place to eat at a time when there was nothing downtown open to non-Yalies.

                          They have done this for decades and should be thanked. They have good food at good prices and none of the sthick we have found in the Jewish owned kosher restaurants that have come and gone.

                          In the 1980s, I worked for one of the kosher caterers in New Haven who also had a kosher restaurant. The restaurant was closed on Shabbos, the rabbis didn't hold the keys, Staff came in and out on Shabbos, events were catered in all varieties of synagogues and private locations, and leftover food came back, some of which was then served in the restaurant on Sunday.

                          Kashrut and supervision is a major problem. I personally would rather have frequent unnanounced visits by the supervising rabbi than a washing station.

                          1. re: bagelman01

                            Leave it to a lawyer to try to twist my words. I'm NOT asking Claire's to add a washing station; just to let the staff know that a patron might need a cup to wash with, and supply one. How hard would it be to leave one in the bathroom area? (Read the penultimate paragraph of my 11:29 post again; that is all I said or asked for.)

                            My situation was this: I had already asked for the bathroom key to use the facilities, when I arrived, after a couple of hours of driving. I didn't inspect the bathroom to know whether there was a washing cup or not. Then, when I got my burrito, I needed to ask about washing. I was again directed to the bathroom, and had to get the key a second time. When I found no cups (neither a washing or drinking cup), I would have had to go out, and get one, and then ask for the key a third time to get back in to wash (by the way, Adina, no paper towels, either; just an electric blower, so no origami cup, which I, too, have done once or twice). I was simply too embarrassed to ask for the key a third time, and just did the emergency thing with washing directly from the tap, by turning it on and off for each "pour." Did I survive? Yes. Do I want them to build a sink? Again: NO, NO, NO. Just leave one plastic cup in the bathroom for the few people who need it. If I lived anywhere nearby, or was there on any regular basis, I'd donate it myself.

                            And what's with locking the bathroom, anyway? Is there really such a problem with either theft or non-patrons/homeless using the facilities? I can't recall the last time I was in an eating establishment, NY or not, where I had to ask for a bathroom key.

                            I enjoyed the food. I thanked the staff there, and I thank Claire here for her diligence. I even took food-to-go for the rest of my vacation farther up north, where there is really nothing. Send her regards and thanks from me, if you are so inclined.

                            You are making this into a whole thing about washing; I was initially responding to the issue of why non-Jewish-owned, open-on-shabbat, veggie restaurants in places like NY are much trickier than "out of town." In NY, where there are many other choices, why would rabbis agree to supervise a restaurant on shabbat itself? I can readily see that there might be less trust there when an owner knew his establishment was not going to be visited on shabbat, or simply might not even realize that substituting one brand of salsa or yogurt or anything else, could be a problem. It simply might not occur to that owner that the bottle of salsa without a hechsher, that doesn't contain meat, would be an issue. After all, if it's a vegetarian restaurant, and there's no meat in the jar, why would he even think it might be a problem? I had only initially mentioned the washing issue as an example of what a non-Jew might not know about or be concerned with. But it could just as easily happen with ingredient substitutions, when the non-Jew doesn't really know about what can or can't be used.

                            1. re: queenscook

                              I should have read your post more carefullly. Sorry.

                              But, you know, there really are not that many kosher restaurants in most neighborhoods of the city. No shomer Shabbat places that I know of near City College, NYU, Columbia, or Pratt's main campus. None near BAM, very few near the courts, City Hall or around Wall Street, and none of those upscale to take a client to. None in most of the suburbs, not even Stamford or most of the pharmaceutical industry office parks in New Jersey. In short, lots of places where Jews need to work, there is no place ot met a colleague or a client. But there are nice veggie places without a hechscher, some of them upscale. From my perspective, it would be really functional to have more nice vegetarian places with reliable supervision.

                              1. re: AdinaA

                                Adina, I wasn't saying you were twisting my words; I was saying Bagelman01 was. (Are you also a lawyer; he identified himself as one.) You haven't said anything I seriously disagree with, though our choices in observance are different.

                                I don't work in a profession where I have to entertain clients, and I can understand that that could be tricky. I don't know what I'd do in that case; how terrible is it to go to a treif restaurant but not eat yourself? That's probably what I would consider for myself, but really I've never thought much about it, as it's just not an issue in my line of work. What do people do who live in cities where there just aren't any kosher places? Is it so terrible to just meet in an office? Why is a restaurant visit such an integral part of business? I'm not really asking you; I'm just musing out loud.

                                1. re: queenscook

                                  It just is. And the longer you work with people, the more important it becomes. I sit in lots of restaurants with a cup of tea or a beer while others eat. It makes everyone very uncomfortable. Think how you would feel if you invited a guest, a guest you wanted to honor, and discovered that she could not eat anything because of some obscure allergy. There she is, the person you want to impress, or the person wwho wants to impress you, and everyone else is eating somethig wondeerfyl, and she is just sitting there, being cheerful,polite, gracious, but not eating a thing. It is incredibly awkward. Not for me - I've gotten used to it. But for the people I'm with. And it doesn't matter exactly what the occasion is. I'm most often the invited guest. I'm not trying to sell them anything, they're taking me out to dinner. But it is very, very awkward.

                                  I think this is part of the motivation of the halacha. it is really, really hard to have a relationship, even a purely professional relationship if you cannot share a meal. Non-Jewish colleagues go to great lengths to make this possible. But it is hard.

                                  1. re: queenscook

                                    Is it so terrible to just meet in an office? Why is a restaurant visit such an integral part of business? I'm not really asking you; I'm just musing out loud.

                                    I must reply to this and explain why a restaurant visit is an integral part of my business at times.

                                    I stated above that I am an attorney (and yes I know the famous quote from Shakespeare <VBG>).

                                    The few times that I eat at Claire's with clients, colleagues or their family members is during the short recess from court during a lunch break. Ckaire's is across the New Haven Green from the CT. Superior Court, the Federal Court and three blocks from Juvenile and family court.

                                    It is not opportune to meet with clients and colleagues in the courthouse during the short break. Lunch is important during an all day trial session, it serves to put some semblance of real life into a stressful time. My office is not within a round trip drive time that falls within the court break.
                                    The restaurant also serves as a neutral ground when meeting with opposing counsel. It is well suited to the fast pace that must be kept and the vegetarian/kosher format offends no one's religious or eating practices.

                                    As a side note, over the years when I have had to meet someone who works for a living, they often suggest lunch at a restaurant. Their lunch break is their only personal time during the day. They may not want to be seen entering my office, perhaps I have an action against their employer, while they are consulting me on a personal issue, or they need the sustenance of the midday meal.

                                    I don't consider these lunch meetings entertaining clients, but working opportunities. I am far more likely to entertain clients at a sporting/concert event where a caterer sets up a 'spread in the back of the private box and no one notices that I am sipping that glass of ginger ale and not eating from the buffet or canapes.

                                    I also find your question of "what do people do who live in cities where there aren't any kosher places?" very interesting.

                                    Quick answers:
                                    1. do without
                                    2. make accomodations/sacrifices
                                    3. support startup kosher operations that usually fail
                                    4. entertain at home. Our firm doesn't do a December holiday party, but I host a major summer BBQ for 200+ guests in my yard (wouldn't work in a typical NYC apt or Brooklyn or Queens house)
                                    5. Hope your kids marry and settle in the big city.

                                    Lastly, not my choice: assimilate
                                    as a 5th generation American Jew, I have found that prepared kosher food options are greater, but the dozens of kosher butchers, bakeries and kosher restaurants that my small city had 50 years ago no longer exist.

                                    As a teenager, I had no problem having my non-Jewish friends meet me at the kosher deli for a corned beef sandwich, or franks and beans, etc. Now that option has disappeared.
                                    The vegetarian/kosher non-Jewish owned restaurants are the solution that works and have lasted for more than 20 years in my area.

                        2. re: queenscook

                          In hotels, traife restaurants or clubs where I'm served a kosher meal, etc. A trick I use is to fold a cone shaped cup out of a sheet of paper, or from about three layers of paper towel. It holds together just long enough. They you step outside the ladies' room to make al natilat yadayim.

                          1. re: AdinaA

                            From your posts I have seen that you travel and eat in many places far from the NY community and understand the easy accomodations the patron can make in order to have that kosher meal.
                            I fell that lack of a dedicated washing station is a non-issue.

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              Yes, although Queenscook does have a point. i.e., when a veggie place makes a point of having a washing station, as Sacred Chow near NYU does (and if you think Claire's is crowded, wedge yourself into Sacred Chow during the semester - it's about 5 sq. inches, and I doubt even the waiter's station it is squeezed into is 5 sq. ft.)) it does raise my level of confidence in the hechscher. Remember, those of us who travel are unlikely to know the supervising rav personally, and these little courtesies to the frum clientele inspire confidence. Perhaps that is what Queenscook was trying to say.

                              That said, I agree that kosher veggie places are a mechiyah. It is a pet peeve of mine that kashruth authorities in many cities are so reluctant to certify/supervise them.

                    2. re: AdinaA

                      I agree with you completely. There is no anger that these veggie places can't get what many consider a legitimate hechsher since there are other choices. Besides, in New York everybody is busy looking over their right shoulder too make sure nobody can criticize anything they do.

                      1. re: jeffrosenbaum

                        Who certifies Claire's? I did not see them listed on the Vaad of Fairfield County website and the Claire's website does not say who provides the hashgacha. My wife and I may drive to Mystic from NYC and the menu looks interesting.

                        1. re: dfsny613

                          According to, it is: Rabbi David Avigdor - Rabbi of Congregaton Bikur Cholim Sheveth Achim of New Haven.

                          1. re: queenscook


                            Rabbi David Avigdor is a long time (40+ years) friend of mine with years of experience in kosher Supervision. His father Z"L was rabbi in Hartford/West Hartford for many years and supervised butchers, bakers and slaughterhouses. As a young man Rabbi David learned to shecht poultry. He has his ordination From Torah Vadaath is Brooklyn and also practice law in New Haven.

                            As a disclosure, I no longer live in New Haven, but years ago when I did I was president of his shul.

                            This restaurant was previously under the supervision of Rabbi Michael Whitman of Young Israel in New Haven, and when he left for a pulpit in Montreal some 10 (?) years ago it fell under Rabbi Avigdor's supervision.

                            Bikur Cholim is a European Traditional Orthodox synagogue davening Nusach HaAri. Rabbi Avigdor has been there since 1978.

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              Thank you for the information Queens and Bagel.

              2. Adina,
                This not directed to you, but just a travel advisory for anyone traveling and expecting to stop and eat in New Haven the next few days.

                Claire's husband, Frank, passed away suddenly yesterday. There is a burial scheduled for the weekend.

                The hours at the restaurant are iffy, mostly closed out of respect to Frank, who not only was married to Claire but ran the business with her for years.

                Although, not Jewish, he will be sorely missed by the New Haven Jewish community, a true mensch and friend and wonderful restaurant operator.

                4 Replies
                1. re: bagelman01


                  I'm so sorry to hear that.

                  1. re: bagelman01

                    This is a heckuva thread and I can't resist putting my 2 cents in. As a lawyer who has tried cases for the last 40 years all over the US, finding a lunch place near enough to the courthouse and kosher enough just doesn't happen. Even in NYC, with the exception of Sushein (which is brand new) there isn't a place near the courthouses to get lunch. Most of us who deal with this issue regularly do the old fasioned "pack a lunch" and find a quiet room in the courthouse to eat lunch, prep our witnesses and plan our case. You go out to lunch and you have to deal with the presence of jurors, adverse parties and adverse witnesses, in addition to finding something a kosher person can consume.

                    1. re: Arinoam

                      Sometimes, it's just easier in a small city.

                      Within quick walk of the courthouses in New Haven (under 5 minutes) there is Claire's (which this thread is about) and The dining room at the Slifka Center at Yale (open to the public during school times).

                      Typically, the attorneys in a case here will discuss where they are lunching so as not to end up at the same place. Those known in the local Bar to keep kosher are pretty well known by the other litigating members and receive first chance to eat at Claire's, etc.

                      More likely to strategize during the walk than in the restaurant where one could be overheard.

                      Here jurors tend to brown bag or order in. The state supereior court is not really good about allowing attorneys to lunch in the buildings. Technically, no food is allowed above the lobby floor except in juror areas.

                      If I want to prep witnesses and plan my case, I am likely to go to a private club near the courts and have coffee sent to a conference room, they also will send lunch up for those who don't observe kashrut. A few months ago, I had a three day trial with 2 clients and 4 witnesses who were all kashrut observors. The private club I belong to accomodated us by providing a private conference room and waiter. They took delivery of cold platters from the kosher caterer, kept them refigerated under double seal, set the buffet table and disposable plates/cutlery/cups and my clients broke the seals.

                      The caterer charged me $14.95pp and the club charged me $100 per day. I guess my dues are worth it.

                      And I agree, in most jurisdictions there is not a kosher place I can go to for lunch from court. This is not a huge problem, as litigation is a tiny part of my practice.

                      1. re: bagelman01

                        Very comfy indeed. Truth be told, I stopped "doing lunch" with clients years ago - I leave that to my partners. I try the cases and the last thing I have time for in the middle of a trial is a schmoozy lunch at a restaurant. You will usually find me hunkered down with a bagel somewhere quiet in the courthouse. Dinner is a different story - and since I practice in midtown, not a problem.