Bzzzz (your Blackberry / iPhone)… read work emails that arrived overnight, eyes half open… Wait in long line for lousy latte (shudder)… Work, work, work. Work. Work. Grab a bite and wolf it down at New York’s most quintessentially “treasured table” – i.e., your office desk. Work – work – work some more… Coffee break? Work. Work. Business dinner… You know how it goes – so to make the post Labor Day dregs of “back to work” a bit more palatable, try to work these top Used York City work-inspired foodie picks into your busy workday to make things just a hint more palatable:
6:00am – A Much Needed Pick-Me-Up
…Especially if you’re already at the airport at this hour. Flying Delta from LaGuardia? You’re in luck. Proper coffee before 7am is a tough proposition (while your barista is still asleep in Bed Stuy…), and perhaps even more unlikely to find such a location in the dreaded terminal – but stop by World Bean for your favorite concoction which promises to be correctly brewed, and even served with a Balthazar croissant to boot!
World Bean – LaGuardia – Delta Terminal D (hint: World Bean is serviced by OTG Management which also offers similar products and solid coffee at Croque Madame in JFK T2 plus Bar Brace in LaGuardia’s Terminal D and Marine Air Terminal, as well as at JFK T3)
Zibetto and other respectable choices like Fika, Blue Bottle and Bottega del Vino are a handful of the scarce few sanctuaries of early morning civility. In true European fashion, coffee is decidedly not a chore to be struck from your morning checklist, but rather a brief moment of pleasure; a welcome “experience” to start your day on the right foot. Zibetto’s long marble standing bar increases the social quotient. So does service in a porcelain cup, which invites you to linger… for a very brief New York City moment.
Zibetto – Midtwon West: 1385 6th Avenue, between 56th and 57th
11:00am – Lunch: On Your Mark, Get Set…
I’ve long thought that lunch locations were in a race to the bottom – always charging more for less, especially where there are large captive audiences who need a really quick bite and who are prepared to bite the bullet of a $10+ salad or sandwich. Enter Dishes: the upscale “deli” we all know and love – to hate. Resign to the fact that you’ll pay through the nose (the market table, for example runs up to $16/lb) but enjoy high-quality ingredients through-and-through – German black bread, Persian cucumbers, sweet heirloom tomatoes, golden beets, fish options like salmon and tilapia as well as the liberal use of fresh herbs such as cilantro and basil make all the difference. Sometimes you just deserve it! …Enter at your own risk at prime hours between noon and 1:30pm.
Dishes – Midtown East: 6 East 45th Street, between 5th and Madison / 399 Park Avenue, between 54th and 53rd
12:00pm – Guiltless Gourmet
Expect lines to be (ever-so-slightly) shorter (around the block) as lunching ladies are perhaps a little less focused on fitting into skinny bikinis post-summer. Pick a lettuce (the artisan mix of organic mesculun with chives, mint and basil makes for a refreshing start), add in your “choppings” and select from a thoughtfully curated list of surprisingly well-executed dressings (from classic lemon or Dijon vinaigrette to anchovy/cheese based Caesar, steakhouse style ranch or zingy carrot-ginger and everything in between)… watch as your lunch is freshly “Chop’t” then mixed before your eyes.
Chop’t – Multiple locations.
12:30pm – Lunch Like an Executive
If the term “Business Lunch” were in the dictionary, it may as well describe the experience at Estiatorio Milos. Owner Costas Spiliadis’ thorough understanding of the subtleties inherent to fine dining in a lunch-type context makes this the perfect destination to impress your clients and co-workers alike without breaking the bank; the perfect place to enjoy three courses and still have a productive afternoon to follow; the perfect way to be in and out within the hour and yet not feel rushed in the slightest. Enjoying the $24.07 midday prix fixe available year-round is about as good as winning the Powerball in the context of Milos’ deservedly astronomical prices in the evening, as commanded by obsessively fresh fish, seafood and produce sourced by Spiliadis, himself. Any restaurant that builds its own greenhouse to ensure the availability of perfect tomatoes year-round gets an “A” in my book!
Estiatorio Milos – Midtown West: 125 West 55th Street, between 6th and 7th
Stay tuned for our full review later this month…
1:00pm – A Refreshing Alternative
Try one of the roving food trucks specializing in ethnic cuisine. Most pick a different stop on each workday where they delight throngs of lunch-seekers with their unique culinary marvels.
Check out RoamingHunger.com to see what’s open close-by. Exceptional standouts include Taim Mobile specializing in succulent falafel and Korilla BBQ innovator of Korean-style fusion featuring exotically flavored tacos and burritos.
3:00pm – Pause Café
I’ve never been fooled into believing that free coffee at the office is actually a good thing – all it does is strip you of that 3pm excuse to get up for a necessary walk around the block with the likely destination of an afternoon beverage, and perhaps a sweet something if you’re feeling peckish (did lunch consist of a Chop’t salad minus the protein?). Financier, which borrows the name of a favorite breakfast treat enjoyed on the floor of Paris’ stock exchange (a cake with the same butter content as a croissant – minus the flakiness to keep it clean… “comme il faut”), is by far our favorite coffee / pastry group in New York. Enjoy Illy beverages and excellent, meticulously prepared pastries at very fair prices – which in our opinion are severely underrated. I once had an officemate who made it his life’s goal to try them all…
Financier – Multiple locations.
5:00pm – Happy Hour (?)
Yeah, right. But if you can slip out for a drink around 8:00pm, the Bar at the Four Seasons is a real treat. Expensive, yes – but generous pours, high-end bar snacks and classy service – not to mention the stunningly designed room by I.M. Pei ease the pain of a $25 cocktail. Even better, though – try to score yourself an invitation to one of New York’s legendary private members clubs like Metropolitan, Harmonie, New York Athletic or the new and swanky Parlor downtown, which all serve a great drink in uniquely relaxing settings.
The Bar at The Four Seasons –Midtown East: 57 East 57th Street, between Park and Madison – North or 58th Street side of hotel.
7:00pm – You Know What Time It Is…
Seamless Web: ‘Nuff Said. (Rolling my eyes…)
8:00pm – A+ For The C-Suite
No last-minute reservations available at Marea? Try Lincoln instead by Jonathan Benno, former chef de cuisine at Per Se. Arguably better: a more precise and more exciting interpretation of modern Italian fare in one of the most architecturally stunning settings within Lincoln Center. A veritable gem, sure to surpass even the most lofty of expectations…
Lincoln – Upper West Side: 142 West 65th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam
Visit our friends at Midtown Lunch for up-to-the-minute suggestions on new and exciting “adventures in urban lunching…”
By: Adam Gross