Hinata Ramen is Worth the Splurge

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It’s fair to say that Midtown is currently in the midst of a ramen bubble that shows no signs of slowing down. Only a few years ago, Ippudo’s opening was a huge deal, we ate at Totto ramen a bit too often, and heck, we even had a celebrity ramen reviewer. Nowadays, the opening of a ramen shop still elicits a reaction, but with the enthusiasm curtailed to a bare simmer.

But we still got excited when we heard about Hinata (159 E 55th St between Lexington and 3rd ave), because they seem to have Totto ramen directly in their cross hairs. The similarities on the menu are striking – both serve a paitan ramen that gets its legs from chickens, a vegetarian ramen, pork buns and the like. And both are cash only, although Hinata’s prices are generally $2-3 higher than Totto’s equivalent.
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Tuesday Earth Day Specials at Pizza by Cer Te: Today is Earth Day (who knew!?) and to celebrate Pizza by Cer Te is offering two different specials.  First off, it's a two for tuesday! Starting at Noon you can get two slices of Margherita pizza for just $2 (in store only).  And if that wasn't enough, all customers will receive a large 13” Eco-Friendly Tote with their order. Happy Earth Day indeed!

At Chicken House, a Banh Mi By Any Other Name Would be Just as Amazing

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I’m rarely envious of my coworker’s lunches, but the other day, I looked up and saw this scene on a co-workers desk and couldn’t help but inquire where he’d procured such a gloriously gourmand beast of a sandwich. It was from Chicken House as it turns out, and seemed like a far cry from the meager sandwich that Zach reviewed several years ago.

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Win A Pair of VIP Tickets to the Grand Gourmet

The annual Grand Gourmet is returning to Grand Central Station on Thursday, May 1. On that evening, hungry attendees will descend on Vanderbilt Hall to sample as many dishes from the neighboring restaurants, bars, and cafés as humanly possible. Returning favorites like Grand Central Oyster Bar and Tulsi will be side by side with new additions Shake Shack (new to the terminal) and Vitae. Proceeds from the event support a neighboring homeless shelter and leftover food will be donated to City Harvest. General admission tickets are $125, but once again we’re offering two VIP tickets (a $700 value). All you have to do is leave a comment about which restaurant you’re most interested in trying and why. The list of participating venues and tickets can be found here. We’ll choose a name at random on Thursday, April 24 at 3pm.

Flatiron Lunch: We Are Lucky to Have Johny’s Luncheonette

Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.

Sometimes we have to take a minute to count our blessings and be thankful. And this week, we are thankful for Johny’s Luncheonette. We are so lucky to have such an inviting and dependable place. Johny’s was featured in FL back in 2010, and recently, a friend of friend who works around the corner was extolling the virtues of Johny’s for everything, especially the omelettes.

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Video Break: Searching For The Best Egg Dishes in Midtown

When I was little, all the other kids got to load up their Easter baskets with colorful treasures, while I was stuck saying prayers over the seder plate. So this year, I go on my very first East egg hunt. Clay captured the entire thing on video as I searched for as many eggs as possible around Midtown.

Watch the hunt after the jump….

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Help Cinnamon Snail Get a New Truck on the Road

Last week, our favorite vegan truck Cinnamon Snail was shut down by the Department of Health. Not because there were any sanitary or safety concerns, but because they had not renewed their vehicle registration. Now they’re stuck waiting a long time to receive another permit from the DOH. So, in the interim, they decided to try and buy a new truck that is already permitted so that we can have our sandwiches and doughnuts. But it’s not cheap, so they started a Kickstarter campaign to help raise the funds. And there’s only 12 days left, so here’s a link to the Kickstarter page if you’re interested in contributing.

Smashingly Good Burgers From a National Chain

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Of all of the various Midtownlunch contributors and personalities, I am probably the most vocal in my outward contempt towards the chainification of New York’s restaurant scene. Not because I’m some flag waiving hippy that’s rallying against ‘the man’, but because I work in financial services and firmly believe that chain restaurants must sacrifice their integrity for the sake of profitability and appeasing shareholders. So it came as an utter surprise to me when I tried NYC’s first Smashburger – a chain over 250 locations strong – and came away as a changed man.
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The Rotisserie at Chicken Provence Might Haunt Your Dreams

Rotisserie chicken is not exactly a “hip” food, nor one that you often hear people gush about (not counting that one place on the Upper East Side.)  That second part changed for me last week when this tweet @Midtownlunch sent me to lunch at Chicken Provence—a newish French chicken takeout place—on 39th St. (btw Lex + 3rd). I got no less than five comments from people back at my office wondering what the amazing smell was. The good news was the chicken lived up to the aroma wafting from it.  Read more »

Celebrate Black Day at Son Ja Jang / Muk Eunji

If you’re a singleton and a fan of Korean food, you’ll want to drown your dating woes today with a hearty bowl of jjajangmyeon ($7.99) at Son Ja Jang in K-town (on 32nd btw. 5+6th)  in recognition of Black Day (April 14). It’s actually the same restaurant as Muk Eunji, although oddly there are two separate menus. Here, the noodles are made in-house, which makes this the only Korean restaurant with house made jjajangmyeon noodles that we know of in Manhattan, and then slathered in a rich gravy made from fermented soy beans and striated with chunks of pork. It’s served with a side of kimchi, danmuji (pickled radish), and raw onion that is meant to be dipped into a side of the same jjajang sauce or vinegar – all of which help to cut the richness of the sauce and noodles.

Nonetheless, it need not be Black Day nor do you have to be single to enjoy a hearty bowl of noodles at a Midtown lunch friendly price.

Muk Eun Ji, 34 West 32nd St. (btw. 5+6th), 212-736-0099