Serious Eats: New York
Lunch for One: Moomah
A few of my friends have recently become mothers: one with a son, another with twin daughters. Though they don't know each other, they happen to share the same daytime lunch spot: Moomah Café on Hudson Street in Tribeca. It's a sort of mommy, nanny, and baby café-shop-playroom that pays a surprising amount of attention to the food. And given the number of children in Moomah at any given time, the cafe is never too noisy or chaotic.
Smoothies ($5.95) are excellent; there are three options and they do them all quite well. The Almond Butter Lover is on the indulgent side, coupling bananas with almond butter, dates, rice milk, and just enough sea salt. On a lighter day, stick with the Peach Berry, or better yet, the It's Not Easy Being Green, which blends spinach and fresh raspberry apple juice with four different fruits.
Tribeca has a impressive number of reliable soup spots (Columbine, Bouley Bakery, Kiva Café); add Moomah to that list. Soup ($4.95/cup, $6.95/bowl) changes with the day—chicken and rice on one visit, and on another, a hearty vegetable puree (pictured at top) strewn with carrots, basil and a handful of extra garlicky croutons.
The bulk of the menu is comprised of sandwiches and wraps, with the TLT ($8.50) and Moomah Tuna ($12.50) being most popular. The TLT is a taken on the BLT, with "tempeh bacon" substituted for the bacon. The Moomah Tuna is a well-constructed wrap of pole-caught Pacific tuna and avocado with apples, shredded carrots, onions, walnuts and celery. Salad on the side for the tuna, blue corn chips for the TLT—fries are not an option. The menu skews toward lighter, grease-free dining.
For dessert, Balthazar supplies the canneles and oat scones, from Eli's you've got cinnamon twists, and via nearby Locanda Verde: blueberry and polenta muffins, apple cider doughnuts, and Karen DeMasco's seed-speckled pumpkin loaf ($3.75). There's also house spiced apple cider and coffee by Counter Culture should you wish. Quite impressive for a mommy cafe!