written up on Midtown Lunch and not long ago a coworker told me she had gotten some tacos from there that turned out to be quite tasty.
I warily pulled open the heavy metal doors to the freight entrance and walked to the back of the hallway where I found this tiny, quaint restaurant that even had a few tables. I was somewhat skeptical given that the menu consists mostly of generic deli food like wraps and paninis. But I was set on an order of chicken tacos — they come three to an order for $7.50. The other options were salmon, skirt steak or vegetarian, but if you wanted to mix your three tacos, it would cost more money. The people in the kitchen behind the counter were frantically whipping up lunch orders; it looks like they do a brisk takeout business. Unfortunately it meant that I waited about 15 to 20 minutes for my order.
When I got back to the office, famished, I tucked in to my hot lunch. These are not Americanized tacos, these are the real deal. I was surprised to find that the delicious shredded chicken covered in guacamole was wrapped in soft blue corn tortillas — all the better. I drizzled a little hot sauce on top for some spiciness and finished this off in minutes. This won't be a one-time visit, but next time I just may call ahead.
The Meatball Shop in the Lower East Side. My friend had seen the write-up in The Times and couldn't wait to try it, so we did on its second day in business. The place was adorable with a long communal table down the middle and atmospheric lighting. We arrived early in the evening, but by the time we left every seat was filled and the bar was crowded with would-be diners. Michael Chernow, one of the friendly owners, explained the menu to us — you order by checking off boxes on the paper menu — and passed by several times during our meal to check on how we liked everything.
I don't know if Chernow sensed our tepid approvals for dinner when he checked in with us, but when Chernow's wife came around to ask how we liked the ice cream, we were ebullient, and we seemed to have made her day. So, would I return to The Meatball Shop? Portions were small (including the wine pours) so I wouldn't necessarily make it a dinner destination, but if I were in the neighborhood in need of a snack or craving a great, simple dessert, sure.
Not feeling totally sated and with some time to kill before a movie, we decided to make this an evening food crawl. We headed east to see what we could find and rounded the corner from Stanton Street on to Clinton Street. My friend hoped we might steal a seat at Clinton Street Baking Company so we could indulge in pancake month, but from a distance we could see a heavy crowd outside the entrance, despite the biting wind of the frosty night. We stopped at Frankie's 17 Spuntino and after glancing over the menu in the window and noticing open tables inside, we decided to head in.
Here, we ordered the Buffalo Mozzarella and Arugula appetizer. Although the greens overpowered the plate and engulfed the cheese, this was a simple appetizer; not much can go wrong with fresh cheese.