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Jan 4, 2014 11:06 AM

Lunch betw. Penn Station & MOMA for Mild Tastes

My wife and I are going to be at MOMA next Saturday and will be meeting a high school friend for lunch. He's coming into Penn Station from NJ so hoping to find something between Penn and MOMA.

What can you recommend in the $$ range (as opposed to $$$ or $$$$)? He's open but not a foodie; his wife leans towards steak, burgers, salads. They don't like spicy. I'm thinking solid Italian or possibly Ravagh Persian (mild tastes).

Any thoughts?

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  1. The nomad is just a few blocks south of penn station, not italian but their famous chicken sandwich is great for the less adventurous.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ttrockwood

      Their web site is confusing. If it's the NoMad Restaurant it looks like a pricey menu. Is there more than one restaurant in the hotel?

      1. re: Scott O

        They also serve a select bar menu. Saturday will be the brunch menu and a selection from the lunch menu, scroll towards the bottom of here:

        1. re: Ttrockwood

          Much better way to see the menu - thanks!

    2. If you're ok with hanging a left dogleg, then how about Don Antonio?

      2 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        This is the type of place I've been looking for - reasonably priced, casual, something for all tastes.

        How's the noise level & is seating comfortable for a 90 min. meal?

        1. re: Scott O

          I think it should be fine, esp. if you can nab a table away from the bar area. It's a oblong shaped room, with exposed brick, so when it gets full the acoustics aren't all that great. But I don't consider it loud. Lively, maybe. Not loud.

          One thing to note, the seating is a bit tight, not unlike most mid-priced places in midtown.

      2. My thoughts are that, in winter, the 30 minute walk from Penn Station to MOMA is not for everybody, and awful if the weather isn't sunny. So much easier to just get on a E train in Penn Station and head straight to MOMA -- so you might want to confine your search to places right near MOMA

        That usually ups the tab (unless you head to Le Bonne Soupe or someplace equally low key) but you might take a look at the brunch menu for Il Gattopardo, which they serve from 11 to 3pm in addition to their regular menu. The $16 burger is hardly out of line for a midtown Manhattan lunch, and they offer the usual assortment of egg dishes for under $20.. A la carte Pastas are in the $20 range. Traditional Neapolitan meat loaf with mash and spinach sides is $24. With a glass of wine or appetizers, or dessert and coffee, you are quickly reaching up into the $50 per person range before the tip so maybe that won't work. But thought I would mention it in case people thought quality ingredients and the extra fun of the unique decor on the way to the museum was worth the premium.

        4 Replies
        1. re: barberinibee


          We were thinking of meeting them around Penn rather than MOMA since they have limited time and they're coming in from NJ. A cursory glance suggests that price & quality are better near Penn than MOMA anyway.

          I checked out Il Gattopardo. It looks nice but on the pricey side. Don't want anyone to feel like they are stuck with the 1-2 lower priced options.

          1. re: Scott O

            Closer to Penn is Co, excellent pizzas, casual, reasonable prices:

            1. re: Scott O

              I can understand that thinking regarding prices but do understand that Don Antonio's is not around Penn Station, so you might want to time the logistics of getting there and the museum as opposed to other options, if time is an issue . (I also don't find Don Antonio's particularly economical for what they serve.) It's also a popular place for Saturday matinee-goers since it is in the theatre district,. so factor that in.

              You might want to e-mail to your friends links to menus for a couple of places to get their input. That way you can also make sure everybody is fine with Neapolitan-style pizza for lunch or how they feel about the brunch and ala carte offerings at Il Gattopardo (or other menus -- I'm not pushing Il Gattopardo, which isn't casual, but it certainly has more than 1 or 2 options for under $25).

              It really is six of one and half dozen of the other whether you meet near Penn Station or MOMA when it comes to being pressed for time. If you want to spend max time together and at the museum, you might meet their train but head toward MOMA together by subway, since it is going to cost you time to leave the station and then go back after lunch to take the subway uptown. it is As for price quality ratio, the Penn Station area is not necessarily a bargain if you are in search of acceptable food. People say nice things about Lugo Caffe right across the street from Penn station, but some of the menu is likely to be off limits for its high prices (and their under-$25 choices are more limited than Il Gattopardo)


              See if your friends like Throckwood's suggestion of Co if you want to meet near Penn Sta. for pizza.

              But you also might want to look at the menu of Le Bonne Soupe near MOMA since it is not pricey and would seem to appeal to the palates of your friends (especially the back of the menu) and it is casual


              1. re: Scott O

                Agreed, I wouldn't necessarily say that price and quality are better around Penn Station.

                The Penn Station area is known as being a "wasteland" for food, especially the blocks immediately around it.

                Where to eat near Penn Station:

                Note that for many of these you'll be taking a bit of a detour if you're on your way to MoMA.

                If all four of you were going to MoMA together, the easiest thing would be to go to Cafe 2, which is actually pretty good & at the Museum, but that doesn't seem to be the case, or is it?

            2. Personally I would have suggested we all hop subways to 2nd Avenue Deli on 33rd but my wife isn't a fan...

              2 Replies
                1. re: Scott O

                  I like Mercato and the entire menu is cheaper than 2nd Ave Deli. You should reserve if you are eating before 2pm. I'd ask for a table in the back of the restaurant where it is guaranteed to be warm. After, you can walk to Port Authority and take an E train to MOMA.

                  Even if your wife were more enthusiastic, you'd be hopping a ridiculous number of subways to get from Penn Station to 2nd Ave Deli. Would be quicker walking (15 mins or so).