Okay, okay. So, I admit, I'm not the foodie I once was. I "only" go out to eat on the weekends now and I have my favorites I keep going back to again and again. That means my "to try" list keeps getting longer and longer. Please help my prioritize or I'll never get new favorites. Mostly, I haven't hit these because they are completely on the opposite side of town from me and/or they aren't open for lunch on the weekends. Here's my list in no particular order:
Clark's Oyster Bar
East Side King
Melvins Deli Comfort
I've not been to many of those either yet.
I was completely underwhelmed by Micklethwait, both in the BBQ and the service.
El Naranjo is delicious but pricey. Freedmen's has excellent smoked head cheese and nice cocktails.
Contigo is approaching excellent in most things I've tried there. Go when the weather's nice, as all tables basically outside.
I found Hillside Farmacy pretty good but not hype worthy. It's best feature, frankly, was good parking. They had very nice oysters. I am anxious to try El Naranjo. I wish they'd chosen a location other than the epicenter of tipsy hipsters!
From your list I have first hand experience with Lenoir and Contigo. But first, this: I don't see Barleyswine on your list. If you have not been there, put it at the very top. I have been there twice and it is a thrilling eating experience. The SWMBO liked it very much, Be sure and sit at the counter.
Lenoir- Interesting place, interesting food. Small interior, funky junk store motiif.Overall food was quite good but my first dish, appetizer, was way over salted.On your list I would rank it up there but cannot touch Barleyswine.
Contigo- As advised best enjoyed in good spring weather. Interesting and delicious small plates with a decent selection of beer. I would rank it pretty high on your list also.
Josephine's House- Haven't been there but reluctant to pay around 40 buck for lunch. Have you looked at their menui?
Also see www.fedmanwalking.com if you haven't already. It is Mike Sutter's website and he ranks Lenoir something like his number one place.
Also consider Swift's Attic.
Good list Amysue, and pardon my windy-ness. For perspective and since you know I'm a fan, I hit up Los Pinos at least twice a month on weekends and it would be perhaps the worst culinary loss for me if it ever closed among all others in town. On the expensive side I do adore the chance to eat at Clark's, Uchiko, Barley Swine, and Hudson's when money and patience permits. I have tried, and have not overly impressed with or been back to Kome, Hillside, Micklethwait and Ramen Tatsuya - RT's ramen soup gave my wife some kind of facial swelling allergic reaction that scared us both, any MSG? not sure. Food was tasty though.
For my money on that list, and not to rub in what sounds like limited weekday lunch options for you, but Melvin's is just a rabidly good crave-inducing monster of a sandwich shop; their rueben might just be the best sandwich I've ever had. Wonderfully tame 'kraut, good swiss, good multigrain bread (I actually like it soft and untoasted better), and that house cured piled up pastrami or corned beef, as you like, is to die for. 10 bucks. I hit up Noble Pig today for lunch, and had the house cured pork rueben. Not bad, but absolutely no comparison. Skimpy meat and kraut, and too much bread. I like those guys and their attitudes and I still need to work through the NP menu, but my favorite sammie shop by far is Melvin's. I hate to hype it up too much, they're already selling out of pastrami and corned beef by 12:30 despite doubling meat production Jan 1.
Hehehe. We're actually going to Pinos on Valentines. I've always marveled at the specials on the board, but have never ordered. Looks like they're doing those only for VDay.
I've tried to talk hubs into going to Melvin's, but he says we're too old for Hipsterville. I'll make a point of trying it one day for weekday lunch on my own.
The V-day menu looks great and what a value - they had it out last weekend. We may cross paths. I will be the guy drinking the salsa straight from a pint sized styrofoam cup :-)
And BTW, I haven't noticed an overabundance of hipsters at Melvin's. Actually there seems to be a New Yorker checking it out every time I go. I have no facial hair, so believe me I feel out of place in hipster-tastic locales. Beards are friggin' everywhere!!!!
Did Melvin's today out of dumb luck. Were going to go to F&D and they weren't open. Then the same thing with Drink.Well. with the same result. Completely forgot Melvin's is right there till we drove by. They were sold out of corned beef and pastrami as well as the pork. We ordered the hot Italian beef and the roast beef sandwich. Hot Italian was waaaaaay better and huge. Roast beef, while good, was just a roast beef. Will absolutely go back earlier for the Ruben.
As a side note, don't go there if you are limited to an hour lunch. You won't make it.
Shucks!! Yeah they run out fast. The hot italian is about half as good as the rueben or straight up corned beef / mustard or pastrami mustard sammies with swiss. In order of my love for their cures, it's pastrami then corned beef then ham. all those are better than the straight beef to me. the ham on the croque monsieur is great and I've not tried a straight ham and cheese.
and if you go on a weekday at 11:30, you'll typically be done in 30 minutes or so.