Destination: Lunch

Every day for the last x years, I’ve brought my lunch to work.  Not just to save money, but because it’s not worth the small fortune to eat the mediocre crap in midtown, not even in my own cafeteria.  My lunches are healthier, I’ve fine tuned them to my taste, for pennies.  But I need to live a little this summer.  So on summer Fridays, I’m going out for lunch.  Not near my office, destination lunches.  Or lunches that are normally to crowded and annoying for dinner.  Or lunches that are great deals.

My first summer Friday lunch plan was to go to Totto Ramen on my way out of town.  I love Yakitori Totto, so their ramen  offshoot must be good.  Located on 52nd Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, it’s around the corner from an old, now defunct workplace, but not so conveniently located to me now.  The alley-sized restaurant seemed to be everyone’s favorite lunch place with a half an hour wait, which I did not have with a train to catch.

I ended up at Danji, a few doors down, which I had remembered was reviewed favorably in New York Magazine.  The $14 lunch special made it all the better.  Diminutive and tastefully minimal, the look of the restaurant aptly reflected the modern Korean cuisine – bright and clean.  The lunch special of the day, pulled pork, was served on an immaculate tray, daintily served alongside a bowl of rich brisket soup and two mounds of pickles, each with their own personalities.  The pulled pork itself, laid languishingly on a bed of rice, blanketed in a spicy dynamite-like mayo/cream sauce and a showering of tempura batter bits and scallions, a dreamboat of flavors.  Despite the disappointment of my thwarted plan, Danji more than made up for it.

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