Lunch: Riot of Color at Green Symphony (Good-for-You Food In Midtown Alert!)

I am a little overwhelmed. Korean-style chicken and organic kale salad? Hawaiian-style turkey meatballs and potato samosas? All at the same hot/cold buffet, for only $7/lb? 

photoGreen Symphony, I am so glad I found you. (And all it took was a little desperation.)

Having reached threshold for the paltry healthful food options in Midtown southwest, I decided to open my search in a direction I haven’t really explored yet: North of 42nd Street.

To venture that way from the mid-30s is no joke. The Port Authority and the New York Times building/adjacent construction — which collectively sprawl over several blocks of Eighth Avenue — create a formidable passageway that is both heavily-trafficked, virtually devoid of comforts, and turns you out on the fringes of Times Square. Bleh.

photo(2)But Green Symphony is worth every jostle, every unpleasantness. In part because once you get through those doors, this modest little spot feels worlds away from that mess outside. Sunny, cozy, every nook used purposefully, serving fresh fruit smoothies, healthy sandwiches, some interesting hot Korean entree options and the aforementioned hot/cold buffet, Symphony Green may as well be in the East Village … or San Francisco. (Which makes me all the more grateful for its presence.)

photo(3)On my first, of what is sure to be many, visits, I had to go for the buffet, which had probably about eight hot-food options and about twice as many cold-food options. When eating at a buffet, I try to pick foods that are harmonious, which means I skipped the Mediterranean items and the creamy salad options in favor of light, fresh — and with a kick. Just look at this riot of color!

We have, clockwise from top right:

Soybean sprout salad (sprouts mixed in a tamarind sauce). A little acute in flavor, very acidic. But plays well off stickier, denser flavors, such as the chicken.

Caribbean style cole slaw (red cabbage, mango, onion, raisins, sherry vinegar and umeboshi vinegar). Sweet and refreshing. So much better than its oft-wronged American counterpart.

photo(5)Korean-style chicken (on top of organic brown rice). Chicken legs baked in a heavy Korean-style barbecue sauce. I loved how the rice soaked it up.

Organic kale salad (sesame oil, ginger, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds). So refreshing, with the ginger, sesame oil and lemon flavors … because sometimes all a girl wants is a serving of kale.

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