Ask the Critic: Where To Get Lunch Near Penn Station?

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[Illustration: Robyn Lee]

Editor's note: Here to answer your questions is senior managing editor, former SENY editor, and frequent author of our NYC restaurant reviews Carey Jones. We'll take a few of your questions each week and give you the New York restaurant advice you're looking for. Email [email protected] with the subject line Ask the Critic to submit your question!

Lunch Near Penn Station

Hi Carey,

I work in the Penn Station area, so I was wondering if you had any suggestions for good lunch takeout spots around here, preferably not chains, and within a 10 minute walk. I like trying food trucks, but not many come to this area. So far my favorite that I've found is Best Bagel & Coffee, but I'd like to try some new places so I'm not eating the same food all the time.

Oh, how we at Serious Eats sympathize! Our offices were, for years, located at 27th and 8th, among the more food-blighted corners of Manhattan. We worked at a food website and would routinely get Subway sandwiches for lunch. Those were dark times, my friend.

But the landscape has improved considerably since then, and there have always been diamonds in the rough. Salumeria Biellese is among them—one of the best salumi shops in the city, though you'd never know it from the outside. Get an Italian hero, or get one of their daily sandwich specials, or just pick up sliced cold cuts for an afternoon snack. (Salami is a normal afternoon snack, right?) Or there's Pizza Suprema, with excellent classic New York slices and an equally excellent "upside down pizza," a Sicilian slice that's crust, cheese, sauce instead of crust, sauce, cheese.

NY Pizza Suprema: Grandma Pizza

Depending on where in the Penn Station area you are, there's more to be found in a ten-minute walk. If you can get to 28th and Broadway, you've got several options: the oddball (but generally awesome) sandwiches at No. 7 Sub; the creative salads at Sweetgreen, which is so much better than your average chopped salad bar it feels unfair to compare them. There's the Kati Roll Company, serving Indian sandwich wraps (we like the vegetarian fillings the best here), and HIT Deli & Korean Food—serving Korean food and sandwiches from what looks like a bodega. (And if you're on the east side of Penn Station, you're really not far from Koreatown and all the edible riches therein.) Go Go Curry should also be a short walk; it specializes in thick, gloppy Japanese curry, pure comfort food and a great winter lunch. Get the pork katsu and load on the toppings.

And while we understand the desire to avoid the usual chain suspects, the Penn Station area has decent ones—a Pret a Manger and Chipotle among them, either of which I'd have killed for back in my day of Penn Station lunching.

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