October 02, 2009

Midtown Lunchin'

My schedule this past week or so has been different--an afternoon/evening sked that had me working through lunch AND dinner, so the meal inbetween really had to count! I'd come back to the office from our studio to do some paperwork, and my coworker Patty asked me to join her for lunch (her day was over--our 'lunch' was at 3pm!) We walked a matter of steps to an Italian place right next to our building, "Pasta Lover's Trattoria" (I couldn't find a working website, but it's 142 W. 49th street, between 6th & 7th Avenues). She'd been there before and said it was decent and cheap, so I was game.

The only other patrons we saw when we walked up to the bar were a trio of red-faced (tipsy) businessmen making lots of conversation with the pretty young bartender on duty. She was quite patient and professional with the loud but harmless bunch, and she came right over to us when we sat down. I'd heard her mention to the men that she's Russian, a fact I filed away for a little later. ;)

The waitress brought us out some rolls with softened butter while we waited for our orders. I was quite grateful because by now, breakfast had been a good 6 hours ago (and yes, I know, PACK SOME SNACKS! but I didn't and yes, maybe now I've learned my lesson but cut me some slack already! It was a long week) and I was quite hungry. They were basic rolls, crusty on the outside, fluffy on the inside, but nothing off-the-charts. They served their purpose, though! They kept me from crossing the line from hungry to hangry (Hungry + Angry).

Patty ordered her standard dish there--the Chicken Caesar salad. She also ordered a glass of their house Merlot, which smelled quite lovely. Speaking of smells, the Caesar salad was quite pronounced with its aroma of garlic--I could smell it before our server even set it down on the bar. Whoa! Fortunately, I happen to love that smell, and I had a quick flash of dish envy before I saw my order.

Torn between two wraps, I'd asked our bartender/server for a suggestion. She steered me toward the smoked turkey wrap, and I was glad I took her suggestion. It was packed full of fresh lettuce, avocado, some bits of radicchio (which I didn't even pick out this time!), a tangy dressing, and a thin but flavorful layer of the smoked turkey. It was delicious. The fries were good, but not great. They were crispy on the outside, decent amount of potato on the inside, but I would try the mixed greens next time if I ordered this again (there's a 50-50 chance I might. Okay, 60-40).

I enjoyed my visit there, and I really enjoyed getting to make small conversation in Russian with Lia, whose eyes widened when I tentatively, almost shyly, offered up some basic Russki. She was quite friendly and answered a grammatical question that's always been bugging me. She was very welcoming and had a large part to do with how much Patty and I enjoyed ourselves there. We chatted about where Lia's from in Russian, where I'd visited, where some of Patty's family comes from in what used to be Russia. It was a lovely break in the afternoon! I wish I could have stayed for Happy Hour (which was starting just as I had to head back to work) and for some of their Merlot--perhaps next week when I'm not on the clock!

I enjoyed the atmosphere, the food, and the friendly staff, but I wouldn't call this place 'cheap' just yet. The wrap was 10.95, the salad was somewhere around 11, and a glass of HOUSE Merlot cost 9.00 (though in all fairness it was an extremely generous pour)! I am sure Patty got a cheaper rate on the next round during Happy Hour, so I think I'll wait until THOSE hours to come back and try the vino!

If you're in Midtown and looking for a good, filling meal, I'd say stop in, but I wouldn't make a trip just to get here, and I would not call it Cheap Eats. Maybe I should start categorizing "Reasonably Priced" Eats, then? :)

Pasta Lover's Trattoria
142 W 49th St # 1
New York, NY 10020
(212) 819-1155

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