Oms/b Rice Balls & Le Pain Quotidien’s Sandwich

This is basically two short reviews lumped into one. I guess it makes sense, since I don’t want to mix two inexpensive places for something that is on the moderate price bracket (as in Otto, which will be the follow-up posting).

The first one up is Oms/b. I ate there around 9:30 AM just because I didn’t get the chance to eat breakfast. So this, in my case would be my breakfast and lunch, per se. I ordered their “Breakfast Set” which contains two rice balls, pickles and a cup of miso soup for the cost of $4.75. I picked the grilled salmon (photo below, on the left) and a salmon roe rice ball (on the right). (I happen to like salmon a lot.) They were made fresh, the woman who took my order made them in front of me. The pickles are the bright yellow chunks that you see in front of the rice balls. They aren’t spherical shaped at all but they’re still called “balls.” Anyways…

Photogenic rice balls, don’t you think?

Cup o’ miso soup

The miso soup tasted ok. It wasn’t as salty as many other places I’ve eaten that over-salted their soup. It had flecks of scallions (or green onions depending upon where you’re from), a few small cubes of firm tofu and a few shreds of mushroom.

The grilled salmon rice ball was chewy (from the nori, also known as seaweed, and the rice). The rice was sticky but more like sushi rice. It was salty since the description of this particular rice ball indicated that it’s a salty fish. So, no surprise here. There was a good amount of salmon in there too, so it was satisfying to eat. The salmon roe rice ball was tasty as well. The roe gave it a buttery, creamy flavor and texture to the chewy rice and the slightly salty nori.

It’s not a bad place for a quick lunch since it took about a minute or less for them to make these rice balls and it’s relatively inexpensive. There are other sets for lunch that have the option for more rice balls and a choice of an appetizer but still it can be made under $10.

Next up, Le Pain Quotidien. I ate at the location nearest to my campus, located at 7th Avenue near 58th Street. I tried their brownie (really fudgey and delicious) and croissant before. So, it’s not my first time here. I just chose to eat in here for once and try their sandwiches. I was seated in their communal table amongst the other diners there. There were other tables available, but I didn’t really care where I sat.
After perusing the menu for a good while, since I’m indecisive about what the heck I want to eat, I end up ordering a cup of cafe au lait (since many diners are ordering that; cost $2.95) and a chicken curry salad sandwich ($9.75).

More like a bowl instead of cup of au lait.

The sandwich platter

It took about 5 minutes for my cafe au lait to show up. It seems really odd for a cup of coffee and steamed milk to take that long to make. It tasted a bit too milky for me. The coffee flavor was quite diluted or muted by the milk. It’s not awful but it’s fine.

The sandwich platter was another 10 minutes wait. By the time it came to me, I was somewhat surprise to see the spread: a stone cheese board that serves as the platter, filled with my curry chicken salad open-faced sandwiches (or tartines, they call it), two slices of mango and cantaloupe and a mini mesclun salad and a chunk of tomato. The tiny bowl in the center is cranberry chutney. The sandwich s were delicious by itself but it tasted even better with the chutney. A small flaw was the bread. It was sliced a bit too thin to support the topping or the filling of the tartines that if one just picks it up by the edge, the toppings will fall off. The salad and fruit were nice accompaniment.

I would eat here often but it is a bit too pricey to eat this everyday for lunch.

Also, I went for a cup of City Bakery’s hot chocolate ($4.50). I like their thick, ganache-like, creamy hot chocolate. Just to let you know, their annual Hot Chocolate Festival didn’t start yet.

Just look how thick that is…

156 East 45th Street (between Lexington & 3rd Ave.)
New York, NY

Le Pain Quotidien (various locations)
922 7th Avenue
New York, NY

City Bakery
3 West 18th Street
New York, NY


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.