Hot Lunch

Leña Latin Grill stays fresh

A light lunch does not have to be an ascetic one.

To that end, we would like to introduce you to the oversize wood-fired grill at Midtown's Leña Latin Grill. That's where chef Ronny Abenhaim prepares perfectly charred hunks of chicken, steak and fish–such as tilapia and cod–to order, each destined for a robustly flavored meal.

Do not be deterred by the stylized branding. Instead, pick your protein (tofu is also available), then follow the step-by-step menu and choose among a salad ($7.50 to $9.50), tortilla wrap ($7 to $9) or a plate ($9 to $13), which comes with two sides such as coconut rice and perfectly crisp yucca fries.

A simple house vinaigrette (rice wine vinegar, shallots, good olive oil) accompanies all orders, but can be boosted with a range of lively sauces, including chimichurri and a tangy barbecue. Fresh tropical juices ($3.95) are prepared each morning: Passion fruit, watermelon, tamarind and blackberry are the summer's greatest hits.

This is Midtown, so time is of the essence: Blissfully, the wait for an order is usually between 7 and 15 minutes, depending on cooking time.

Leña Latin Grill, 34 W. 35th St. (between Fifth and Sixth aves.); 646-274-1995 or lenanyc.com