Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Land that Lunch Forgot

Up until a year and a half ago my place of employment was located in the Flat Iron district of Manhattan where foraging for lunch offered practically the full pallet of world cuisine. There were rows of Indian places 3 blocks to the east, a good hole in the wall Mexican place 2 streets over, and gourmet deli’s as far as the eye could see. I was also able to pop out at lunch to mail a package or go to the bank and after work I had easy access to shopping, bars, and night life. And then we moved to Dumbo.

This is the part of the post where I bait the people over at the Dumbo NYC to call me out as a hater which will probably result in a rain of rotten organic free-range fruit, used cloth diapers and Puerto Rican nannies being chucked at me from the windows of posh high rises on my morning truck from the dingiest subway station in NYC to the relative shelter of my office. Luckily writing for Alpha Astoria has given me plenty of experience as the enemy of an entire neighborhood.

Dumbo kind of sucks.

Oh sure, they tell you it’s the new SoHo with the wall to wall artist studios and cobblestones but what they neglect to mention is that Dumbo has next to zero shopping (unless you make millions of dollars), no post office, the neighborhood just got a drug store this week and there are fewer lunch options than taxi’s (I hope you weren’t hungry or looking for a ride out of this wasteland).

Out of the twin necessities of saving money and calories I am mostly a bring my lunch kind of girl but every Friday I grant myself the indulgence of a leisurely sit down lunch. When working in Manhattan this weekly outing was a much anticipated ode to noshing but now, stuck in Dumbo, I and my coworkers are left with very few sit down options none of which are up to our snobby Manhattan honed standards.

The worst lunch offender is Bubby’s. At face value Bubby’s seems like a harmless diner but if you look closer you’ll see that it’s actually the source of all mid afternoon sadness. The Dumbo Bubby’s outpost (I know nothing of the Manhattan version) is housed in a huge space that could probably seat upwards of 100 people but I have never seen more than 15 patrons in attendance at one time. You’d think the low customer turn out would at least result in attentive wait staff and quick order turn around but for reasons that remain a mystery it is impossible to get out of lunch in less than 90 minutes. Bubby’s: Dumbo is obviously struggling to make a buck as evidenced by their frequently revamped (and reduced) menu and hours. Time was they offered breakfast all day and 15 different sandwiches – these days they’re pretty much down to burgers and grilled cheese. When we first moved to Dumbo I would swoon over the mini sides of baked mac and cheese but even this small comfort was stolen from me when about a year ago a coworker discovered a crunchy cockroach center baked into his portion.

The other two most obvious choices for sit down lunch are Superfine and Water Street both of which rival Bubby’s for the much coveted slowest distribution of edible products award. Other than the lack of speediness both institutions generally meet the demands of Friday lunch though neither has a particularly interesting menu and the fries at SuperFine are awful enough to result in a veto virtually every week. Which leaves us with Rice and Miso both of which (especially Miso) would be completely acceptable lunch options say once every month or two – but how many Fridays in a row can I choke down the same meal?

I imagine that my non NY readers are laughing at this post. After all, I’ve listed FIVE options (and haven’t even touched upon the take out only joints), in most places this would likely be considered an adequate variety. BUT THIS IS NEW YORK! Where is my source for Thai or Mexican or Indian? Why doesn’t any place in the neighborhood sell magazines (or vodka, or candles)?!?

Go ahead, get with the bashing me in the comments – here’s to hoping I make to work safely tomorrow morning.


Anonymous said...

Wow there is a place in New York City called Dumbo. Come on that right there needs bashing. They couldn't come up with a better name and you think they would have good food options?


Lisa said...

Oh I loved Bubby's. But cockroach mac and cheese? How did that story not get passed around a little more? Yikes

steve smith said...

you forgot to mention pedros, which is awesome, and jimi's... pedro's cuban sandwich is top notch!