2 lunches in NYC between Christmas and New Years.
We'll be in NYC for a wedding on Saturday night 12/29. We're looking for some interesting lunches on Friday the 28th and Saturday the 29th. We live in VT so we are craving just about any cuisine.
We are meeting friends at Marc Forgione's for dinner on Friday night and another group on Sunday morning in (Manhattan) Chinatown for dim sum. We'd like somewhere comfortable and delicious over pricey "see and be seen" lunches...preferably downtown.
For something comfortable and delicious but not pricey "see and be seen" try Felidia. Even though it's midtown, the prix fixe is a total bargain and the food is excellent in a rustic, un-fussy way.
The service was unpretentious even though (or perhaps because) Lidia Bastianich was in the room when I had lunch there last week.
For your second lunch I'd recommend The NoMad or perhaps The Cannibal which has a new steak menu (which I haven't tried yet).
I don't associate the "see and be seen" crowd with upscale lunch, especially weekdays. There are a lot of business luncheons, that sort of thing. The "see and be seen crowd" to me means beautiful young folks who have dinner at 10pm at the hottest new restaurants.
Anyway, you might be interested in a prix fixe lunch:
ABC Kitchen - 3 courses for $32, includes their famous sundae, not upscale, more "shabby chic" and "reclaimed furniture," weekdays only.
Momofuku Ssam Bar - 3 courses, weekend lunch only. I think it's still around $25 or so.
Kin Shop - 2 courses and ice cream for $20, daily.
Babbo - $49 for a four course tasting (BTW the addition of lunch is fairly recent), only Tuesday through Saturday. Even though Babbo is well known, it is not all that fancy.
You might also want to consider getting some pizza. My personal favorite is Motorino in the East Village.