A Guinean chef stocks this good-looking steam table, enticing many West African guys who work at the garment businesses nearby. Since it's priced by the pound, weight-conscious customers may care to know that in the sampler at top, the potato-leaf sauce is light on bones, both fish and goat; the kidneys, also goat, I believe, contain no bones at all ($2.50, at $5.99 per pound).
Also shown: a sliced-open Scotch egg and two more meaty sauces. The paler was a sauce arachide, with a peanut base. The darker had an almost lush vegetal fragrance; I didn't catch the name.
B&D Halal Restaurant 163B West 29th St. (Sixth-Seventh Aves.), Manhattan 212-268-7602
The survey website www.14to42.net asserts that this sign "very likely belonged to the Holiday Coffee Shop, located here from 1959 to 1972." The different colors of lettering suggest a "soda lounge," which has a clubby ring — and, nowadays, an alcoholic one, as in "whiskey soda" or "scotch and soda." My guess, though, is that this was the sign maker's innocent shorthand for "soda fountain," which at any decent size wouldn't fit.
Surviving painted "lunch soda lounge" sign 23 West 35th St. (Fifth-Sixth Aves.)
This bustling 24-hour Korean has a reputation for turning tables quickly, so I was pleasantly surprised to share my table with no fewer than eight panchan, the little free dishes that precede and accompany your meal. They included kimchi, of course, but also sweet potato, bean sprouts, two varieties of greens, some sort of small dried fish, and what may have been pickled apple. Add a bowl of purple rice, and my lunch special — kam ja tang ($9.95), meaty pork bones, potatoes, and greens piled in a spicy soup — turned into my big meal of the day.