Five Guys, Mee Noodles, Wondee Siam II and Joe's Shanghai

In search of some cheaper lunch options near work, I found my way to Five Guys, Mee Noodles, Wondee Siam II and Joe's Shanghai recently.

Five Guys

The burgers are pretty well known, but I guess I didn't know enough about them when I ordered my regular cheeseburger and found myself biting into a double decker. The burger, despite being cooked "well done" by order of the owner, wasn't dry and had some flavor to it. Not the best burger - not even a contender - but good nonetheless and is a better option, in my opinion, than the overrated burger at burger joint at Le Parker Meridien.

Mee Noodles

I had the pan-fried "meat" dumplings in clear soup ($4.80) and was pleasantly surprised at how far a five-spot can go (plus tip of course). The dumplings were porky and sort of what you'd expect - except you get quite a few (6) and they are on the larger side. The soup itself was quite good on a cold day and not as salty as I'd feared. Decent enough for a return visit.

Wondee Siam II

To get my Thai fix, I visited the 9th Ave. outpost of Wondee Siam. I'm infatuated by Sripraphai's version of Penang Curry and have yet to find one elsewhere that is as good or better. Unfortunately, Wondee's doesn't come close either, but I do like their version - especially because of the pineapple that's added to the dish. It gives it a very different flavor and cuts the heat (of which was fairly minor) nicely. Service was pretty bad and the decor is hideous, but I'd likely do take out again from here instead of Pam Real Thai, another local option.

Joe's Shanghai

I'll never forget the first time I had the famous soup dumplings at the Pell Street location. They were truly a unique experience at the time and, having been a few years, were due another go. So I walked over to the midtown branch and found myself in another ratty looking room with fairly brusque but not necessarily mean, service. I placed my order: crab and pork soup buns and an order of the pan-fried, pork dumplings (and an order of the spicy shredded beef to go for dinner later that night). The soup buns were as good as I remember them - though more expensive and of fewer numbers per order (6 compared to 8). The pork dumplings were actually not good at all and my dinner later that night was simply passable if maybe a little too tough.


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