It's a challenge for the young designers and Silicon Alley gearheads who work their magic around here to find something beyond pizza or deli food for lunch particularly in the environs near the Fashion Institute of Technology and the flower district, practically a culinary wasteland. Still, in the micro-micro-neighborhood surrounding Seventh Avenue and 22nd Street, there are options running the gamut from Japanese and European street food to regional Italian and Persian fare.
Fillip's The menu at this moderate-to-expensive French-American bistro centers around the Union Square Greenmarket. Make a good impression and recommend the Flying Pig Farms pork belly with Granny Smith apples or the crispy duck breast with Vermont baby-carrot confit. 202 Seventh Ave., nr. 22nd St.; 212-242-4787.
RUB Split several of the exceptional meats on offer here with a friend. Much has been said about the succulent, smoky ribs and toothsome pork. But don't forget the burnt ends: decadent chunks of deckle, the fatty end of the brisket. Other standouts include a Reuben made with house-cured pastrami and the house-smoked bacon chunks. 208 W. 23rd St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-524-4300.
Le Zie No average pasta mill, this Venetian trattoria specializes in items like macaroni and cheese infused with black truffles. One antipasto includes speck, mortadella, prosciutto, coppa, salami, and lard with grilled polenta seemingly every type of salumi known to man. The hand-rolled ricotta pasta with fava beans, artichoke, and asparagus, meanwhile, redeems the worn concept of pasta primavera. 172 Seventh Ave., nr. 20th St.; 212-206-8686.
Tebaya Nagoya-style chicken wings marinated in a secret black-pepper sauce are the specialty at this shoebox-size eatery, but the sesame-seed-coated wings, twice-fried and highly addictive, might be even better. Unless you're as handy at dispensing these with chopsticks as the regulars, you'll need to resort to fingers and teeth reason enough to go alone. (To be fair, the karaage, or fried chicken, and chicken-teriyaki sandwiches are also tasty.) 144 W. 19th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-924-3335.
FB Gudt Food Grab a stool at this sleek spot for hot dogs with a European pedigree. They offer a staggering 22 varieties ranging from the farm dog, a smoked-chicken frank topped with corn relish, to the Great Dane, which comes adorned with rmoulade, roasted onions, and cucumber slices. Follow up your wurst with some of the best beignets (hot sugar-dusted doughnuts) around, making sure to dip them in caramel or one of the six other sauces. 269 W. 23rd St., nr. Eighth Ave.; 646-486-4441.
Better Burger With its free-range turkey and beef burgers and veggie options, this smartly turned-out shop offers healthier, tastier alternatives to Mickey D's. But if you're feeling overindulgent, there's always the Big One, their half-pound char-grilled organic beef burger. 178 Eighth Ave., nr. 19th St.; 212-989-6688.
Great Burrito Pass up the pizza at this hole-in-the-wall and go for the delicious down-home Mexican fare: meaty tacos, overstuffed tortas, and authentic enchiladas. Your best bets are the taco al pastor gyro-cooked roast pork with a crunchy reddish-brown exterior and a hearty torta jammed with carne asada, guacamole, and refried beans. For the adventurous, we recommend the lengua, or beef tongue. Bonus: There are tamarind and grapefruit Mexican sodas to wash it all down. 100 W. 23rd St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-243-0022.