A few weeks before Christmas I “discovered” Little Collins on 55th and Lexington, right near my CVS, post office and Barnes and Noble, and other places I frequent weekly. Somehow I had never noticed the small, unassuming café, until I searched for a good place to get a cappuccino on Yelp. Working on the cusp of Midtown and the Upper East Side means that there aren’t many good places to enjoy lunch, unless you don’t mind dropping $20 for a cheeseburger (fries not included). So when I finally found Little Collins, where you can get a big, absolutely scrumptious sandwich for $10, my work life was transformed.
This place is still so “undiscovered,” for now at least, that I just had to add it to Urban Spoon. A few weeks after I found it, blog reviews started popping up and Immaculate Infatuation started posting almost daily Instagram pictures from the café. Last night, my friend who works nearby asked me if I’d been, since it’s now one of his favorite spots. Although it opened a little over a year ago now, I have to admit that I’m bummed that I didn’t get my post up before all this buzz started. I do feel like I “found” it before all these other people, which really isn’t fair because if it’s been open for over a year it must have a dedicated clientele that has eaten there since long before me. So although it’s late and after everyone has started talking about it, I still want to spread the love so in this post I will share with you a couple great lunch items I enjoyed at Little Collins.
Little Collins is named after a street in Melbourne, Australia. It has a “chic, industrial interior” and “no-nonsense menu,” which to me translates to simple yet delicious. The only obviously Australian item on the menu I saw was Vegemite, but then again, I’m not really familiar with Australian as a cuisine so maybe I overlooked something. The first time I went in I had a cappuccino and a bacon corn chowder to go. They were both absolutely delicious, and I was hooked. The next time I went was with my sister mid-December. We shared a few items; the first was the smoked brisket sandwich with “house slaw” and horseradish mayo. This sandwich is made on the softest bread with just the right amount of crispy crust. The meat was super tender, with a little kick from the horseradish and some crunch from the slaw. Looking at the sandwich when it came out, I thought I would save half for later since it was huge, but I couldn’t stop eating it and polished it off.
My sister ordered a fruity iced tea and the roasted chicken and squash salad with lentils, arugula, yogurt, and sumac. Sometimes I feel like buying salads in New York is a rip off, since they charge you a ton and you end up with a small pile of limp lettuce. This salad however was a true meal, with the great balance of vegetables and protein, as well as multiple textures and flavors that you don’t find together often. We both loved it.
Lastly, because we’re gluttonous and indecisive, we shared a bowl of soup; now I can’t remember what kind it was but it had a tomato base and lots of vegetables. This is the kind of dish I would usually yawn at, but Little Collins manages to elevate the most mundane lunch food into something truly special that you just want to keep going back for again and again. Next time I think I’ll try the turkey confit sandwich or maybe the cauliflower schnitzel. There are too many good options! If you’re nearby, I suggest you go there right away.
Open: Monday – Friday 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 9:00 am.m – 4:00 p.m.
Address: 667 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10022 Phone: (212) 308-1969