Lunch is a tricky equation: Do we have time for a chef-y sit-down meal? If not, will we be forced to endure yet another udon bowl?

Now there is a new lunch counter inside a Beverly Hills office building courtyard that's the best of both worlds: the Larder at Maple Drive. It's the work of chef Suzanne Goin and partner Caroline Styne of Lucques and AOC. Like those spots, the Larder focuses on quality ingredients but without the white tablecloths and time commitment.

Like the duo's previous Larder (at Tavern in Brentwood), here are generous sandwiches, like the Maple Drive (meat loaf, Russian dressing and butter lettuce; $14) or skinny baguette sandwiches called ficelles (including ham, butter and radish; $8). A mix-and-match menu has big portions--we took half ours home: juicy grilled hangar steak accompanied by roasted vegetables with dandelion and olive, and farro and black rice with pine nuts and currants ($16). Earlier in the day, there are breakfast options, too.

You can take out or eat in 20 courtyard seats, though delivery is forthcoming. And here's an insider tip: Every Friday at 3 p.m., desserts like date-molasses cookies and carrot-cake cupcakes are half off--because who likes to start the weekend hungry?

The Larder at Maple Drive, 345 N. Maple Dr., Suite 100; 310-248-3779

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