In general, I'm looking for places 6 blocks or less from work, which is on 39th between 7th and 8th. I admit to going to Cafe Metro, Village 38 and Europa Cafe more than I'd like...they're just so convenient. Sit-down places not preferred, sometimes I can't take a full hour for lunch. But places with seating without table service are great.
I will go to K-Town to meet a friend, have managed to squeeze a trip up to Menchanko-Tei in about 1hr 15min, and today I plan to try Ariana 13 blocks away because my boss is out of town. But in general, I need places relatively close and bit cheaper.
To start off, I can offer two places that I really enjoy: Asian Cafe on 38th between 7th and 8th (closer to 8th) and a tiny Mexican lunch counter, uh...Nueva something on 37th between 7th and 8th. Asian Cafe for giant bowls of noodle soups (choose ramen, udon or...the other one) for only $3.50, choose toppings, I usually get pork chop and udon. I can never finish the whole bowl. Small place, Chinese-run, better for takeout. The Mexican place is really interesting to me, being in the freight entrance of a building with menu pasted on the inside of the door. Just a small counter in the back. Offers heaping servings of stews (lamb, chicken) over rice and beans for $4 or $5 depending on size. They have specials...last week I had a delicious chicken mole for $7 and a pork tamale for $1.50...tamale was very filling, more than half the mole/rice/beans (plus corn tortillas) in my fridge leftover.