I discovered The Asian Cafe 273 West 38th Street 212 764-0555) quite by accident one day. Its only open for lunch and almost all of the customers are Chinese. Ignore the menu and get whatever the lunch specials are (friendly Miriana Li will recommend something). Youll get a most amazing home cooked meal (the other day It was a whole steamed fish) with a giant rice bowl topped with a thousand year old egg and various pickled salads (they tend to make fantastic sauces with the deep smokey flavor of dried porcini mushrooms) and a drink of the day (sometimes jasmine iced tea with orange and lemon slices) ALL FOR $5.50!!!!!
Its best to get there before 2pm as the specials run out later.
I hope you try it and enjoy it.