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WTF?!?!?! from (Grand) Lunch Box Buffet (243 Grand Street, 646-541-0205)
Well. After the critical clusterfuck that was yesterday’s Year of the Takeout , Fork in the Road decided to be proactive and make sure to avoid Wednesday’s error in foraging for Chinese fast food.
So FitR, ever so organized (that’s why the blog gets updated at this hour … it’s organization — def not procrastination), wandered into a place somewhere on the Lower East Side that totally wasn’t the Cantonese-inspired hangout hoped for.
But at this establishment, a Chinese buffet without any patrons besides this writer, you could get a to-go only deal for $4.
So it sounded just perf.
But it wound up being just weird — in a kinda-sorta good way.
The cashier skedaddled between the cash register and steam-table line, where she ladled food into the foam container at your request.
Now, this woman did not skimp, and encouraged you to pile on as much as the box would hold.
FitR could ID about half of the dishes (a type of breaded, fried chicken chunk à la General Tso’s, veggie chow fun, etc. …), so this writer picked the ones that looked the most batshit.
One item — the spongy, brown mass that looked a lot like organ meat — turned out to be a smoky soy protein. The sweet, vinegar-soaked bamboo shoots and slightly salty lizard-tail-like stems surprised and delighted. The seaweed had a distinct brininess, and the cherished chewiness of al dente noodles.
Grand Lunch Box Buffet wasn’t just good among dining assembly lines — it was just good, and should get major kudos for fact that the food felt fresh and tasty at an off hour.