'lunch today' on Serious Eats

Lunch Today: Soups at Nyonya

With the arrival of fall and the occasional chilly, gloomy day, we've been looking for 1. warming, soothing lunch options that 2. don't make us stray far from our office. So the soups at Nyonya, right downstairs, start sounding pretty appealing. More

Lunch Today: Grilled Shrimp Sugarcane Skewers at Xe Lua

So the real name of this dish on the Vietnamese restaurant Xe Lua is Banh Hoi Salad Voi Chao Tom Nuong ($12). If that doesn't quite roll off the tongue, how about this: finely ground spiced shrimp wrapped around sugar cane and cooked on the grill. It's served with little nests of rice noodles, herbs and pickled vegetables, rice paper sheets which you soften in a bowl of hot water, and lettuce. It's a slightly ridiculous table-hogging assortment of food, but it's also one of the best renditions of Vietnamese sugar cane skewered meat I've had in New York. More

Lunch Today: Tofu with Dry Fresh Garlic at Hop Shing

You may know this place as "The Chatham Square restaurant next to the more famous Chatham Square." And I'll admit that were 6 Chatham Square not closed for renovations, I never would have stepped into Hop Shing next door. The place looks like its last redesign was in the 70's and they stopped halfway, but it's a charming (in its own way) little spot with some surprising bites if you're lucky. More

Lunch Today: Pikilia from Souvlaki GR

The pikilia ($12) includes a choice of four of their five dips (greatly improved odds in my book), along with hand-cut fries and pita bread. The fries are just the right amount of greasy, with nice browned bits here and there. They're also beautifully seasoned with oregano, so you can still feel sophisticated while shoveling them into your mouth by the handful. The pita gets major points for achieving a slightly crisp crust that gives way to a soft, warm, doughy interior. It's the perfect vessel for the gems of the meal: taramasalata, hummus, melitzanosalata, and tzatziki. More

Lunch Today: Bean Jelly with Special Sauce at Chong Qing Hot Pot in Flushing's New World Mall

I'm not sure what's meant by special sauce, but from what I've observed it's a blend of eight or so components ladled with methodical precision over floppy prisms of cool bean jelly. Chile oil, roasted chile, and a hint of Sichuan peppercorns dominate the dish, but the cold bean jelly really takes ma-la to the next level. The jelly is cool, clean, and incredibly refreshing, but when set against the fiery chile and numbing peppercorns it sends your taste buds into a 404 error. Something this hot and spicy just shouldn't taste so light and ethereal. But it does, and it puts out the fire just long enough to go for another bite. And another. And another. More

Lunch Today: Loukaniko at Souvlaki GR

The loukaniko ($10) at Souvlaki GR is worthy champion of the loukaniko tradition. Pick your seasoning—orange or leek (we went with the former)—and get ready for a hulking plate of crisp, sliced sausage and plenty of fries. A side of tzatziki for dipping is a must. Take note that loukaniko is supposed to be a little dry and granular, but that just means it's more meaty than fatty. And a little cured meat funky in the best of ways. More

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