lunch pre-fix suggestions ($30-$40 range)
Maialino - $35 for 2 courses with biscotti for dessert, weekdays only, they also have a Sunday pasta tasting for $55.
Manzo - 3 courses for $29, weekdays only.
Aldea - 3 courses for $25, weekdays only.
Tocqueville - $29 for 3 courses, Monday through Saturday.
Gotham Bar and Grill - $34 Greenmarket lunch, three courses, weekdays only.
Seasonal - 3 courses for $29, Monday through Saturday.
Aquavit - 3 courses for $42, weekdays only.
Riverpark - 2 courses for $25, 3 courses for $32, weekdays only.
Cafe Boulud - 2 courses for $37, 3 courses for $43, Monday through Saturday; Sundays they serve brunch, which is 2 courses for $39, 3 courses with dessert for $49.
Ai Fiori - 2 courses for $42, additional course $18, weekdays
Lincoln - 2 courses for $36, Wednesdays through Sundays
Boulud Sud - 3 courses for $29, weekdays; 3 courses for $32, weekends
For less fancy options:
ABC Kitchen - 3 courses for $32, weekdays
Momofuku Ssam Bar - 3 courses, weekend lunch only. I think it's still around $25 or so.
Kin Shop - 2 courses for $17, weekdays.
Seasonal puts out a really enjoyable lunch. It's one of my favorites. I recently tried Juni and, while each dish was enjoyable, the room and the vibe left me cold. The tiny space was nearly empty and the staff hovered to the point where conversation was stifled. I enjoyed my meal way more than my wife did and, had it not been for the delicious bread refills, we both would have left hungry.
I had the same reaction to a recent lunch at Juni. I thought the room was awful, and despite the fact that it was mostly empty, the service was very slow and food took a very long time to come out. While the quality of the food was very good, I don't think I'll be rushing back any time soon.
Betony is fantastic and lunch is almost as great as dinner, food just as wonderful but service is a little more laid back. The $38 menu is only 2 dishes, dessert is extra and the lobster course has a supplemental charge (but well worth it). I think it's an excellent choice especially if you are going to be in that part of the city.