It's So Difficult to Get a Decent Lunch Around Here!

Where's the "Easy Button" When You Need One? HELP!
Readers, I could use your help.


The Ones to AVOID:
Sometimes, it just seems like there's nowhere worth exploring when it comes to NYC's Midtown - near Grand Central area.
For instance, lately, I have tried out Madison Bistro -which, sorry, but that place is suck-ola-ville. I've been there three times now, with a variety of business guests... They all agreed that it was "somewhat edible" but "not worthy to return." Seriously a unanimous decision among several people. So I can't just blame myself for being picky about my locales... other people are agreeing with my overall feeling that there are some places that are just sheer bad and need to be avoided.
There's also the over-priced and always a line out the door at lunchtime for Piccolo Cafe. I just don't get that place at all. Again, I gave it three separate tries. It's just too expensive for lunch and really not all that great.
For a quick bite, I also tried 4food -which had OVER my 3-strikes-and-you're-out-rule, but now it's a definite not gonna' happen again place. Too many choices and they always F up my order, no matter if it's delivery or take-out. That's unacceptable. I've been offered so many refunds and coupons for future orders, it's just a shame that they can't get it right. Too complicated of a menu and certainly WAY overpriced... (sad sigh) But I was willing to PAY for the healthier option... oh well. Cross them off the Madison Avenue list of possibilities.
Salute' is only recommended if you wish to bid farewell to your cash and enjoy feeling like you've been ripped off. I've already wasted time with a blog post on this and the infamous chicken log fiasco.


Potentials:
There's Dig Inn (which was formerly called something like The Pump)... WHO is naming this place? OMG!  But the food is (seemingly) better for you and has organic, healthier choices along with a seasonal menu. So it's a maybe check this out, but I always feel bad for whomever came up with the ridiculous, poor name choice. GET a BRAND manager and figure that sh!t out, please. Thanks.
db Bistro Moderne has always been a solid place for a higher-end luncheon, but a bit of a walk from GCS. But it's also a Daniel Boulud restaurant, so it has to live up to an expectation and is worth an extra walk to get there. It's always been perfect although if you're going to try lunch or a pre-theatre seating, get a reservation first. The place fills up quickly and is hard to get seated if you're not on the list.
Somewhat better, but not always perfect is La Fonda del Sol. It can be on or off, but worth a try for a business meeting that includes a quick bite to eat.

Do you have a suggestion? I work around the area and have had a hard time making lunch plans with co-workers...

Rafina is NOT Refined

While posting some quick reviews on Yelp, I noticed that a Greek restaurant, Rafina, was doing well and had some amazing reviews.
All I could think was, "WTF?" For a place that is empty at least 5 nights a week, HOW can people rave about them? So in all fairness, I wrote about my skepticism and my own experiences.

Here is what I wrote:
The restaurant owner MUST be paying for reviews on this place. It is BEYOND bad. The fish is NOT fresh (believe me, I know this as a FACT) and it is over-priced for portions and quality.
They have a COOK, **not** a chef. This makes a BIG difference. Nothing on the menu is inventive or even worth eating. More importantly, the prices are just WAY over the limit for less than mediocre cuisine.
While I DO like the location because nothing else is in the area, it's not worth my time or money. It's a shame, because the right business model would really get this place going and making money.
Right now, they don't even have a lunch service or a decent menu for the evening.
The reviews here [on Yelp] are VERY sketchy.
I've been here. It's my neighborhood. I WANT Rafina to succeed. But they barely have customers in this place. It's a matter of time until they shut the doors if the owner doesn't get with the program and change the cook to a chef and offer decent, REASONABLY priced meal options -for both lunch and dinner. Brunch would be nice, too... but again, I have no expectations.
Maybe the next owner of the space will have a solid business plan. 


Interestingly enough, the owner contacted me via email and was very irate. After his rant and negative tone expressed towards me and my truthful critique, he demanded that I remove my review from Yelp!

Uh, dude. Really?

I'm not about to go back on my word. I know the fish is frozen. I've seen it AND I've tasted it. Rafina has a mediocre cook and charge chef prices. The Loukanika Laconia sausages are too salty and lack flavor, the Saganaki cheese dish is another salt-lick and the feta is out of the fridge, just slammed on a plate. Oh yes, and there's the Keftedakia...meatballs that taste like sawdust, swimming in oil. Sorry, folks, that's just a couple of items off the appetizer list! The main courses are just as atrocious.

I think this place MUST have some sort of gambling ring going on, because I can't see how they can keep their doors open. The place is empty until Friday or Saturday nights... then you might see some bodies due to the live music that they offer, but other than that, you can watch the tumbleweeds roll through there night after night.

Again, it's a shame. I'd LOVE for this place to offer good food at good prices. Really. The waitstaff is fine - no complaints. But then again, when there's NO ONE ELSE IN THE RESTAURANT when you're there, it's easy to get good service.

I let the owner know that I would be happy to write a new review if he gets a decent chef and a good menu. However, I won't be spending any of my time or money at the less than refined Rafina any time soon. And the current review on Yelp: STAYS.

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