Today I met Ashanti for lunch at a place called Spoon on West 20th Street. She works nearby and goes there almost every day.
Like Grey Dog, the menu is coffee/sandwich/salad centered, which made my heart sink when I first walked in (see that post for why), but one glimpse of the goodies behind the glass at the front counter perked me back up.
We each started out with a strong drink (iced coffee for Ashanti, and verbena mint tea for me) and two squares of gruyere pizza with oven dried tomatoes and herbs. The pizza was amazing even though it was “cold pizza” a.k.a. served room temperature. You know, I don’t really have a problem with cold pizza. It reminds me of my first coed sleepover, and how it helped me recover from the trauma of watching my sister kiss a boy for the first time playing spin the bottle. Comfort food!
Ashanti and I had a lot to talk about, and by the time we devoured our pizza, plus a delectable green tea pot de creme with peanut tuile we’d picked out on impulse, we realized–30 minutes into our lunch date–that we’d not yet had a proper meal. So Ashanti went back to the line to order us up something meaty.
Meanwhile, I admired the steel blue, cream and robin’s egg accented interior of the place, softly lit with low hanging frosted glass fixtures and mirrors. All of the tables were vintage, and at the center of each one was a Mason jar filled with fresh white and lavender mums. Considering that the prices here are comparable to most quickie [read dreary] Manhattan lunch spots…$8 sandwiches, $4 soups…I’d say these are some pretty nice perks.
Ashanti returned with a tray of herb roasted chicken, mashed potatoes & cabbage, and a slice each of roasted acorn squash, portobello mushroom and braised leek, for us to share. The chicken was perfectly seasoned and juicy, like a home roasted chicken, and the vegetables were a hearty enough (for lunch) accompaniment.
On our way out, I saw Audrea’s sister, Melissa. She had walked all the way over from her job on Lexington just to get their roasted portobello sandwich.
I think Spoon’s focus on fresh, local ingredients has a lot to do with their popularity right now, but basically, the food just tastes good.
17 West 20th Street, between 5th & 6th Avenues