Day 25Circa NY 5 Dey St. Dec. 15, 2006Not very crowded at 12:45, but maybe that's standard for Friday afternoons in the holiday season. Faded 60's green color scheme, somewhat overpriced selection. I actually enjoyed my $5.50 egg salad with chive sandwich. Slightly less expensive than a comparable sandwich from Pret, and better, too.
Day 24Chipolte2 BroadwayDec. 11, 2006Industrial brushed-metal Mexican? Galvanized, corrugated tin decor? Quirky wood-and-corrugated-tin faux-mechanical wall sculptures? Central seating with long line wrapping around it. Long line at 12:15. Long but fast? Fast. 5-person lunch assembly line, Henry Ford lives on underneath the christmas decorations hanging from the exaggeratedly exposed pipes. "Everything" on the Vegetarian Burrito includes the unbearably hot I discover later. But for now: in and out in 8 minutes despite the expectation of 20 given the line. Burrito: excellent. Drawback: hard to get to the exit at 12:23 because the line that now completely encircles the seating area meets those who have just paid; the galvanized lunch snake eats it's salsa flavored tail.
Day 23China Chalet90 Broad St. at Stone St.Dec. 7, 2006More along the lines of Au Mandarin - an actual restaurant as opposed to a take-out place. Very civilized experience. The upstairs waiting room is large, chairs, the hostess offered me a newspaper while I waited for my takeout to be prepared. Took a peek downstairs - it's sizeable, very busy, red paper dragons and pink indirect wall lighting - fun atmosphere. Despite the fact that it was around 1:00 - height of the lunch rush - and the restaurant was extremely busy, my waiting room experience was tranquil and fun. My tofu and mixed vegetable dish arrived in a reasonable amount of time and was truly excellent. This would be a fun place for an office group outing.
Day 22Charly's110 Trinity pl.Dec. 5, 2006Charly's shares a long, extremely narrow space with Steve's Pizza. It's an extremely no-nonsense operation. No decor to speak of; in fact describing it is almost impossible, like describing a glass of water, a spork or an interstate highway at 3am. It does a great job at being exactly what it is.I love this sort of Southern NYC Lunch Tour stop - I walked in at 12:45, told them I wanted a vegetable burrito, and was on my way by 12:48. It was a good $6.00 burrito, too, with plenty of guacamole. I recommend Charly's for an instantaneous no-frills lunch experience.
Day 21Champ's Gourmet Deli71 Broadway (at Trinity and Rector)Dec. 4, 2006One of the worst layouts of Lunch Tour so far - for some reason the salad bar leaves only enough room for a few people to cram in between it and the grill/sandwich stations, which are along the same counter as the multiple registers. There's no way for anyone to form a line or know when their turn is, so even though there were only a few people in there at 12:45 pm, there seemed to be much confusion. Highly irritating. And baffling; what could they possibly have been thinking when deciding where to put everything?I was pleasantly surprised that they got my order right, and the veggie burger deluxe was decent and average priced.