Let’s face it: most everything in NYC is on the pricey side.
However, today I would like to recommend a place I found that isn’t perfect but seems to offer a nice balance between frugality and food. And it is conveniently located near Bryant Park, Grand Central Station, and the big Schwarzman Library…not to mention a lot of shops and office spaces.
Essen 40th Street is a high-ceiling, roomy cafe that offers a wide variety of edibles from soups to salad bowls to sushi. You can get your meal made right in front of you, buy a packaged product, or indulge in one of the big hot/cold buffets. The reason I think it has good “eating economics” is because the portion sizes are actually proportionate to what you’re paying (in most cases).
The eatery also offers free Wi-Fi to its guests and has a nice seating level at the top of a small staircase. I still may not know what artisan means, but if it has anything to do with good food and sunny atmospheres, count me in.
This Essen (“FAST SLOW FOOD”) location is on Madison Ave between 40th and 41st streets.