Where to get lunch in Lower Midtown East

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  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Mondello

    Mondello

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Carl's Steaks

    Carl's Steaks

  • Photograph: Jay Muhlin

    Artisanal

    Artisanal

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Mondello

Mondello

Quick bite: Mondello
Mondello looks like a generic pizzeria, but there's a real gem hidden on the menu: a hefty chicken parmigiana sandwich ($7.25) packed with fresh, plump breaded cutlets, gooey mozzarella, a sprinkling of Parmesan and—the winning touch—a slathering of tangy, salty-sweet sauce flecked with sausage. Plus, the gravy is thick enough that it doesn't turn the sandwich into a soggy mess by the time you get back to the office. 3 E 37th St at Fifth Ave (212-684-2411)

Delivery: Carl's Steaks
A homesick Philly native can find salvation in Carl's serious cheesesteaks. Thin slices of sirloin are griddled to order and served with grilled onions, Cheez Whiz, provolone, American cheese, sweet or hot peppers, mushrooms or even pizza sauce. Prices start at $6.45 for a steak without cheese and go up to $8.50 for a whopper called the Works, which—you guessed it—has it all. Delivery time is usually a manageable half hour, and the thick, soft hero keeps everything in place until your sammie arrives. 507 Third Ave between 34th and 35th Sts (212-696-5336, carlssteaks.com)

Business lunch: Artisanal
Spread out your reports at this airy brasserie's big tables and start wooing your colleagues before the warm cheese puffs arrive. Curd connoisseur Terrance Brennan has made this place famous for its highly curated cheese flights, but he also calls attention to quality fromage in quiches, gratins and grilled sandwiches such as the croque-madame ($18). The perfectly toasted Bayonne-ham-and-aged-Gruyre combo is topped with yet another layer of cheese and a sunny-side-up egg—creating a creamy, crunchy blend of textures that will win over any suit. 2 Park Ave at 32nd St (212-725-8585, artisanalbistro.com)

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