Last week’s midtown lunch was a wash. With the heatwave going on all I wanted to do was stay in my cool building. The weather today however... gorgeous. Sunny, just a few clouds and a perfect 75. Just the right day to head out for a midtown lunch expedition with my friend Robin, aka Ms. Silk Purse, who’s been such an inspiration lately in getting me out of the office during lunch.
I did some quick research into what was equidistance between our offices (I’m in Herald Sq and she’s up near Bryant Park) and settled on Lena Latin Grill. Described as the Chipotle of South American cuisine, it was also the perfect quick serve, yet sit down set up for us to chat and catch up in an hour. Still on my pescatarian fix, but having fish tonight, I settled on a nice and light tofu salad. Added in were grilled corn and queso fresco (a last minute splurge made while looking at their overwhelming sides list) and I topped it off with some chimichurri.Our salads came out pretty quickly, within 5-10 minutes of sitting down and despite my uncertainties, were pretty huge and very filling. There was a lot of lettuce, as you can see above, but I don’t mind lettuce and this was fairly bite-sized, which is my main complaint with salads. The tofu was nicely cooked, a little browned on the outside but with a creamier texture on the inside. The corn and queso fresco were nice, refreshing additions but what really stole the show was the chimichurri. I want the recipe! It was the perfect amount for the salad bowl and so flavorful. I will definitely be heading back soon for more of that stuff… wonder if you can buy it by the jar? And coming in at $9, not including a drink, it wasn’t bad for eating out just once a week, although I’m sad I didn’t notice that they had watermelon juice until later. Regardless though it was a midtown lunch success, good food, great company and invigorating conversation. I need to do more of this!
So if you ever happen to find yourself around 35th between 5th and 6th and don’t want Korean food, check this place out. It’s different, maybe a little pricier than Chipotle, but for what you get I say it’s worth it. And although we didn’t indulge, Robin pointed out their delicious South American pastries and they have a number of fresh fruit juices available too, like mango, passion fruit and guanabana.