Kalustyan's - How is the 2d floor prepared food?
I love the store, it's great for specialty items, but I think the prepared foods are overrated, with sandwiches specifically being outright lousy.
The quality of the pita they use is as low as it gets. They're also prone to serving falafel and pita cold, smashing the falafel which ruins it, and other odd behavior. Freshness can also be an issue. Flavors are often dull, and one note.
Some of the spreads are fine, but flavors are muted. Samosa, fine depending on how fresh. They don't do any one thing particularly well, unless you count the sweets downstairs, which are very good, but very pricey.
You're better off going a couple blocks over to Hummus Kitchen, or down to University Pita near Union Square.
768 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019
21 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003
The mujadarra (pardon the spelling) sandwich is truly glorious. With a small side it will last you two days unless you have a massive stomach. The cauliflower sandwich is also great. Be sure to ask for extra hot sauce, they will not give it up willingly. Almost all of it is vegetarian (if not all?).
Most of the places around there are vegetarian. Tiffin Wallah and Chennai Garden both do flat rate takeout boxes from their buffets that are affordable ($7-8) and pretty good. if you want Japanese, I believe Chef 28 has some vegetarian options.
If you can walk a few minutes, no. 7 sub in the Ace Hotel has some vegetarian subs that are amazing (they rotate menus, but always have at least one or two unique veggie options).
127 E 28th St, New York, NY 10016
129 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016
29 E 28th St, New York, NY 10016
I spend a lot of time in that neck of the woods, and have had prepared food at kalyustans a number of times - they make the stuff ahead, not to order, so i havent tried the falafel (i balk at pre-cooked fried foods, generally) but i did go with a friend once who ordered a sandwich of mixed grains and beans (it sounded somewhat strange but was rice(or another grain) with lentils.
i've enjoyed their basturma, but its not vegan/veggie, obvs.
in general id say the quality of the ingredients is high (the pita they use is good, really liked the labneh/cheese spreads etc) although it does seem like they dont do a great business up there (turnover is slow), which is weird.
depending on which side of that area youre coming from, dont write off DeFonte's just because you dont eat meat - the pepper and egg hero (think breakfast sandwich, but not for breakfast) is crazy good.