Mon-Fri, 10:30am-9pm; Sat-Sun, closed
4, 5, 6, 7, S at Grand Central-42nd St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Nooi won’t be confused for anything more than fast food; the space is lamentably well-lit, and its perky color scheme vaguely recalls a certain pair of golden arches, but this French pasta chain does brisk business with the midtown lunch crowd. Dressed in one of twelve sauces and packed in bright-purple takeout containers, the al dente fusilli or penne are cooked fresh throughout the day and served piping hot—and even the multigrain option strikes an unusually good balance of soft and chewy. Each pasta comes with a choice of two add-ins from the cheese, veggie, and spice categories. Basic renditions, like the “Fresca” (tomato, olive oil, basil), are particularly satisfying topped with cheese. For something more substantial, go with the thick, Parmesan- and swine-inflected Baconara sauce that (not unpleasantly) weighs down its bowtie vehicle. And for a departure from Italian flavors, an Indian option with a curry cream sauce is also available.Recommended Dishes
Tomato fresca, $5.25; baconara, $5.85; Bollywood, $5.95