The bankers and financial planners in the tightly packed area around 47th Street and Park Avenue have two choices for good lunch: Wait on line at often less-than-stellar carts that line Park, or head one avenue east for some of the best cheap international food in the city.
Hatsuhana Park No-frills and hidden down an alley, this sushi joint is overshadowed by its glitzier 48th Street brother. But they share the same fish distributor, and the sushi here is just as fresh — which is to say, exceptionally so. The nine-compartment “Box of Dreams” contains a different mix of cooked and raw delights every time, ranging from generous slabs of bright-red tuna to sweet barbecued eel. In an alley underneath 237 Park Ave., nr. 46th St.; 212-661-3400.
Maharaja The menu says Maharaja, but the awning over this comfy Indian dive reads “Hurry & Tasty Curry.” Six to eight dollars will get you anything from the steam plate, but it’s better to go for the tender curry-soaked lamb and garlicky roasted eggplant. 133 E. 45th St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-533-3663.
Pampano Taqueria Soft house-made corn tortillas star in the Crystal Pavilion food court. The chicken is bland, so fill your tacos with succulent and stringy strips of pulled pork or the Mexican-style shrimp topped with onions and cilantro instead. Call in your order — this kind of care takes time — and meet a friend under the atrium skylight. 805 Third Ave., nr. 50th St.; 212-651-5257.
Menchanko-Tei Yes, you should order the namesake Menchanko from this authentic Japanese ramen bar: The slightly thicker-than-normal noodles come perfectly al dente in a salty broth that is surprisingly light and has a nice seafood flavor that isn’t too fishy. The place is packed by half past noon, so go alone for a seat at the bar. 131 E. 46th St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-986-6805.
Oms/b Short for Omusubi, this tiny storefront serves up delicate rice balls stuffed or topped with a variety of Japanese delicacies. Get the Set A (any three rice balls with soup), but make the most of your $7.50 by choosing the “big money” balls, topped with green-sea-salt-dusted shrimp tempura or eel. Seating is limited. 156 E. 45th St., nr. Third Ave.; 212-922-9788.
Oriental Noodle Shop Ignore the generic Chinese at this converted diner and go for the Chinatown-style sweet-roasted red pork or crispy-skinned roast duck over rice. There’s an old-school counter in the front and sweet-custard-filled buns in a glass case toward the back. 135 E. 45th St., nr Lexington Ave.; 212-697-2353.
Jiannetto’s Pizza Truck Built right in the truck, this pizza oven turns out square, thin-crusted Sicilian slices that don’t come with cheese but are slathered in a rich red sauce. Just hurry back to your office before it gets soggy. 47th St., between Park Ave. and Madison Ave.; 917-287-7241.
Golden Krust Kiosk The Jerk Chicken Patty is the way to go at this tiny outpost of the Caribbean food chain, with its moist bits of chicken smothered in curry and allspice. Grand Central Terminal Food Court; 646-487-2003.