With finals approaching, the time is nigh for a regular eating schedule no longer to appear on your list of daily necessities. Rather than resort to whatever happens to be leftover in your fridge from two weeks ago, hit up some of the best delivery and takeout around.
So unobtrusive you may not know it exists, Saji’s might be the best takeout deal in Morningside Heights. It’s a tiny hole in the wall adjacent to Rack and Soul on 109th and Broadway, but its lunch and early bird specials (11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and 4:30-6 p.m., respectively) offer superb value for the money. The lunch specials are $5.99, and feature entirely respectable curries and rice bowls, and the sushi special is $6.99. The non-sushi meals come with a small iced tea and a Japanese salad. I generally opt for the gyudon (beef bowl), which is remarkably filling. The Chicken Karaage is also very satisfactory. The individual sushi rolls are well-priced, too, from $3 to $4. The only hitch is that delivery can take a ludicrously long time, so I usually pick up (saves on tip, too). Even if you do pick it up yourself, be sure to give them 15 to 20 minutes to have it ready. 212-749-1834.
If you want a quick, hearty, gourmet meal, Milano Market (2892 Broadway at 113th) is your best bet. This unassuming market-cum-deli has an impressive Zagat rating of 25 for its food, but if you’re not one to trust ratings, one bite of Milano’s prosciutto di Parma sandwich (with smoked mozzarella, roasted peppers, basil, and tomato, $10.25) or chicken parmigiana hero (with Romano cheese and homemade marinara, $9.25) should convince you. Milano has 73 signature sandwiches to choose from, but you can also create your own dream sandwich from their many available ingredients. Mustard and sun-dried tomato? Prosciutto with mayo? Go right ahead—the guys behind the counter won’t judge. While Milano is known for its sandwiches, its other foods shouldn’t be overlooked. Milano offers six different homemade soups in black cauldrons every day, a selection of antipasto and salads, pasta, and delicious side dishes priced by the pound. A small container of their pasta primavera ($4.49 per quarter pound) makes a perfect light lunch, or for a little luxury, try a cut of their juicy prime rib paired with a side of roasted rosemary potatoes and carrots ($3.99 per quarter pound). The prices at Milano are heftier than, say, at Hamilton Deli, but most items are still affordable for a college budget, and Milano never skimps on quality. 212-665-9500.
The fish is always fresh and the rolls are always packin’ at Saga Grill, the cozy Japanese-Vietnamese joint located between 122nd and 123rd streets on Amsterdam. The delivery comes reasonably quickly—and they seem to have an easy familiarity with Columbia dorms, even East Campus. If you’re looking for sushi lunch take-out, you can’t do any better than the $9.95 three-roll combo, and the Vietnamese lunch specials—think lemongrass, ginger honey, and coconut milk—are just as tasty and even lighter on your wallet. Plus, their spicy tuna (delightfully crunchy) is the best I’ve ever had. Other best bets are the Yam Yam Roll, Shrimp Summer Rolls, the Bun Xao, the Naruto Roll, and the Yan Wan Soup.
—C. Lauren Arnold