With so many eateries offering prix-fixe lunches, it can be hard to distinguish the good from the seriously good. Here are five favorites in the pan-Asian genre.
Momofuku Ssam Bar
For $25, Ssam Bar lets you choose one of three different appetizers (kimchi apple salad, seasonal pickle plate, or pork buns), one of three mains (rice cakes in a fiery Bolognese-type sauce, perfectly grilled branzini, or brisket over vermicelli), and one of two desserts (blondie pie with cashew butter or the "PB&J"). Here is a full review. 207 Second Avenue (at 13th Street; map); 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.
While the newly opened uptown location is not yet serving lunch, the original Fatty Crab on Hudson Street has a weekly $19 lunch special. You pick one thing from column A (pork buns, veggie buns, mango salad, or tea sandwiches) and one from column B (wonton mi, Fatty Duck, or Malay fish fry). 643 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014 (b/n Gansevoort and Horatio Street; map); 12 to 4 p.m., Mon. through Fri.
Brick Lane Curry House
Do you want a curry with a bit more authenticity than the Japanese variety at Curry Ya? Look no further than Brick Lane. They offer an $11.99 all-you-can-eat lunch buffet with a rotation of two appetizers, six dishes (like chicken tikka masala, peeli daal, and aloo gobi), a soup (made with tomatoes and peppers, or lentils), and dessert (vermicelli or gulab jamun). 306-308 East 6th Street, New York NY 10003 (map); 12 to 4:30 p.m. daily.
While Curry Ya's prices are a bit steep at dinnertime ($14 to $18 a dish), I think the lunchtime special is a pretty good deal. The cheapest option ($8) includes a house salad and small portion of the house curry (beef, vegetables, pumpkin) served over rice. If you go for the $15 lunch special (ask your server if you don't see it on the menu) you will get an appetizer, any curry on the menu, and choice of dessert or beverage. Here is a full review. 214 East 10th Street, New York NY 10003 (map); 12 to 4 p.m. daily.
Chef Joe NG makes some of the most beautiful dim sum in America and while the prices are higher than you will find a few blocks south in Chinatown, the proper ingredients and attention to detail at the Chinatown Brassiere more than justify the added expense. For $15, you get four dumplings and a small lunch entree, or just go the dumpling route ($14 for four or $18 for twelve). 380 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003 (map); 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon. through Fri.