54 E. 1st St.; 212-677-6221
There are all kinds of lunches to eat in this town: business lunches, power lunches, ladies-who-lunch lunches, five-minute feeding-frenzy-at-your-desk lunches, Gordon Gekko no-lunch lunches. And there’s no shortage of places to endure these mirthless meals. But where do we go when we actually want to enjoy lunch? We go to Prune, Gabrielle Hamilton’s ode to her own eclectic appetites. You already know that Prune is a great place for dinner, and that its brunch is justly famous. But Hamilton’s lunch, instituted quietly last fall, is a little-known secret, not to mention your best shot at getting a table and a taste of her soulful, idiosyncratic cooking (a mother of two young children, Hamilton has assigned herself the more manageable midday shift). The afternoon light is lovely, the vibe much mellower than at brunch, and the menu just as quirky and compelling. There is a lavishly constructed “egg on a roll” and a vegetable du jour, which recently turned out to be simply steamed miniature Romanesco cauliflowers served with a tiny pitcher of olive oil. Hamilton’s potato salad is Sichuan-inspired, her “sous chef” salad composed at whim. And her bacon-and-marmalade on pumpernickel sandwich is the best (if not the only) BMP in town.