Steam Tablin’ from University Place Gourmet (116 University Place, 212-243-3139)
One of the things we noticed about University Place is that the management appears to sell things on the steam table which are also available for packaged purchase elsewhere, such as the vegetarian dumplings and meat substitutes.
That said, UP’s picks actually aren’t too bad, especially for a non-Chinatown setup. The sweet and sour pork was leathery, sure, but the tofu selections were respectable.
Though the barbecue pick veered on being too sweet, a strong mesquite motif added nuance.
The vaguely teriyaki one wasn’t memorable, but that can be a very good thing with deli steam table samplings, which tend to be so bad that they burn a lasting, awful impression on your tastebuds and brain.
And the mysterious veg strips — which we’ve def had at some point, though purchased in a container from a health food store or another grocery — were OK.
So yes…nothing was resoundingly good, but everything was edible.