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Today’s Lunch Break: Not Your Average Ramen

Hidden gem Thai food in the East Village; not your average Irish pub; and a big bowl of steaming ramen; three great lunches for a tip-top Tuesday. By Yvo Sin.

East Village Thai

east village thai Todays Lunch Break: Not Your Average Ramen
32 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 673- 4610

Don’t let the tiny space fool you: East Village Thai is big on flavor but easy on the wallet.  With lunch specials that are all $6-7, and choices from pad thai (pictured) to pad priow wan, you’d do well to order from them.  The adventurous can choose their heat level: hot and spicy, very hot and spicy, or extremely hot and spicy, but be warned: extremely hot and spicy is, well, extremely hot and spicy.  Proceed with caution and be sure to order a Thai iced tea or iced coffee with which you can douse the flames!  The heat-averse needn’t worry, however; there’s plenty on the menu for them as well, including satae rice, which is topped with crowd-pleasing peanut sauce, pad ruom pak, or mixed vegetables with bean sauce, and of course, fried rice with your choice of protein.  It’s easy to walk by East Village Thai and not give the hole in the wall a second look, but it’s a real shame if you read this and don’t immediately call to find out if you are in their delivery range.

Onieals New York

onieals Todays Lunch Break: Not Your Average Ramen
174 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 941-9119

Onieals Hoboken
343 Park Avenue
Hoboken, NJ 07030
(201) 653-1492
onieals.com

Interestingly enough, though Onieals New York and Onieals Hoboken share a Web site, they don’t share the same menu.  While Onieals Hoboken definitely falls into the standards of a good Irish pub – and they do these standards well – Onieals New York has a few items on the menu that deviate from the Irish pub formula drastically.  For example, their appetizer menu – which includes scallops, carpaccio, tartare, and shabu shabu – takes a few steps outside of the Irish pub norm. They seemingly throw caution to the wind in order to offer risotto, chicken tortilla soup, or fresh oysters.  But there are reasons the regulars return again and again, like the friendly waitstaff, the daring and ambitious menu and the laid-back atmosphere.  See for yourself at a discount: head over to ScoutMob to pick up your free 50% off discount code, good until 6/22/11 for up to $25 off your tab.  Discount only available for the New York location.

Sapporo

sapporo Todays Lunch Break: Not Your Average Ramen
152 W. 49th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 869-8972

You might be thinking right now, “That looks like a big bowl of ramen, which I can get for 10 for $1 at the local grocery store.” You’d be half right.  Instant ramen at home can’t really be compared to ramen at a restaurant like Sapporo: different types of broth from which to choose – shoyu, which is soy sauce based; shio, which is salt based (pictured); or miso, which is, yes, miso based – to name a few, and toppings that include corn, slices of fatty pork, fishcakes, bamboo shoots, scallions and even butter, will transform your ramen experience into something much more wonderful than opening a packet of instant ramen and boiling some water.  Sit inside Sapporo and enjoy the quick bustle of the place, and listen to chattering in Japanese around you.  Will you feel transported to Japan?  Maybe, maybe not – but you will feel happy as you dig into the steaming bowl of ramen in front of you, and go back to work about $10 lighter.  Unless you order the gyoza, which you really should, because, as another restaurant critic once said in a review posted proudly on Sapporo’s front window: “[gyoza] softer than your lover’s thighs” – and for about $5, that’s not something you want to miss.

Yvo Sin is the founder and head writer of Feisty Foodie.

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