Archive for January 2007

A Weird Week for Midtown Carts, Chowhound Edition of Midtown Links and the end of the week wrap up…

Well, I know it’s only been a day- but I’m really disappointed no one has found my mysterious disappearing $1 Bulgogi Sandwich cart.  Please keep a look out for it.  I really do need to find this cart.  One thing yesterday’s post did do is get everyone into reporting about carts.  Here was one comment about a new French Cart from “Teen Wolf”:

“Parked at the SE corner of 54th St and Broadway is a large truck selling French food for cheap! $4 gets you a croque monsieur and a soda. You get your choice of turkey or ham pressed with melted cheese. For a dollar more you can get it with a fried egg on top (croque madame). I didn’t get a chance to try it myself, but the guy in the truck said this was his 3rd day and he plans on staying there. He mentioned that the parking laws were a little problematic though.”

(If you are interested in knowing what one of those things looks like, follow the links above to pics from roboppy, who spent the past three months in France.)  Definitely going to check that cart out.  There was also comments about two popular carts that have been missing for weeks.

 

 

On January 5th, Jim asked this question:

Does anyone know what happened to the Indian Fast Food cart? For the past two days I’ve looked for it at its usual Park and 53rd location, but it wasn’t there. Please tell me this is just a temporary absence.

But apparently it’s not temporary because yesterday Peggy posted this:

It’s been almost two weeks now and still no cart. I’m getting worried. 

I’m worried too. That cart wasn’t the best Indian food in Midtown, but it was certainly the cheapest.

 

According to chathamsq the Teriyaki Cart on 50th St. has disappeared as well:

Anyone have a post-mortem on Happy Teriyaki BBQ Cart (50th btw 6 & 7)? Their presence was spotty in late Nov & early Dec; haven’t seen them at all since mid-Dec. Was hoping they’d relocated but haven’t seen them anywhere.

If anybody has any info about either of these missing carts, email zach@midtownlunch.com or post it as a comment.

Midtown Links about stuff you definitely want to know about, PLUS a preview of next week- after the jump.

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REWARD for info leading to Disappearing Korean Bulgogi Sandwich Cart!!! (Please help me…)

 

People, I need your help.  And you know I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important.  Last Friday I received my favorite kind of email… a tip from a Midtown Lunch’er named Johanna:

“Noticed a new-looking Korean food cart on the south side of 49th west of 6th this morning on my way to work — thought you might want to know.  They seem to offer traditional food (bulgogi) along with more regular-sounding sandwiches……odd.” 

Sounded amazing.  And four of my favorite words… “Korean”, “cart”, “bulgogi” and “odd”.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited for lunch that day.  When 1pm rolled around, I went outside, and the cart was nowhere to be found!  I was sure that Johanna had gotten the street wrong, so I walked up to 50th and down to 48th looking for the cart… but it was useless.  Same crappy soup carts and halal trucks that always line 49th. 

When I got back to work, I emailed Tipster Johanna and confirmed the exact location of the cart (which was definitely not there at lunch time).  I was very disheartened, and wondered why a reader would play such a dirty trick on me.  It’s not right to lie about Korean food from a cart, and get me all worked up into a frenzy.  But, later on that night my wife confirmed Johanna’s story.  She too had seen the cart setting up that morning!  And the story gets worse.  My wife said it had a sign saying “Bulgogi Sandwich $1″ and it even had pictures of these little pork bun looking things.  Now I was in total shock.  Not only did this magical disappearing cart have bulgogi, but it had it in sandwich form.  Ridiculous.  I have to find this cart.

Monday was a holiday, so Tuesday I went out to 49th St. (knowing the cart wouldn’t be there) and asked one of the halal guys if they had seen the cart.  He confirmed the existence of the cart and said that it had set up on Friday only to leave a few hours later when there was no business.  If you have seen this cart- or know of it’s whereabouts, please contact me immediately by posting a comment to this piece or emailing me at zach@midtownlunch.com  I don’t think I have to stress how important this is to me.  Odd Korean Cart shows up selling $1 “Bulgogi Sandwiches” (whatever the hell that is) in front of my office building only to disappear two hours later.  It’s like the Kaiser Soze of lunch carts.  This cart must be found.

Also, don’t confuse this missing cart with Kim’s Aunt Kitchen cart on 46th, which just started serving Bul Go Gi (but not in sandwich form).  Pictures of that cart (and the bulgogi I settled for on Friday, after I couldn’t find the new korean cart) after the jump…

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99¢ Fresh Pizza (Expands its Mini Empire!!!)

There are some things that are such an awesome deal they supercede quality.  In fact the occurance is so rare, that when you find the deal, you are so excited, you forget what the thing you’re eating even tastes like.  The under $10 buffet.  Steak & Eggs in Vegas.  Taco Bell in the old days.  And of course… 99 cent pizza.  Pizza is everywhere in New York.  Good pizza is everywhere in New York.  But you never see a slice below $2.  And in Midtown, the price is sometimes jacked up to a ridiculous $2.50 a slice.  Nevermind wanting toppings or a drink.  The pizza is good… but a lunch ends up costing you $7… for pizza.  Enter 99¢ Fresh Pizza to save the day!

Anyone who has ever been behind the Port Authority on 9th Avenue has seen the 99¢ pizza place.  Always open, and always a line- this window churns out cheese pizza slices like nobody’s business.  The slices are hot, fresh, and for 99 cents a real steal.  Living in Hell’s Kitchen, and shopping at the various markets down there I’ve partaken in the 99¢ pizza many times, usually as a post grocery shopping snack.  In fact it has spawned a snack or meal argument between my wife and I on numerous occasions.  My claim… “If something costs $1 (i.e. a slice of pizza), it is automatically a snack”.  Her claim… “You are a fat bastard.”

Well, on Monday I was excited to find out that 99¢ Fresh Pizza has expanded East, opening a new location next to Grand Central Terminal, on 43rd St. btw. 3rd & Lex.  Pics of the pie and the +/- after the jump.

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PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Kristy”

So it’s Tuesday… which means I turn over the site to a Midtown Lunch’er for their recommendations of places to eat in Midtown.  I don’t know even know what to say about this one.  Meet Kristy, a 22 year old who loves Pax, cookies, mozzarella sticks, the beach, and apparently the color pink.  (Editor’s Note: I don’t take or modify these pics.  This is how I get them, direct from the people who are being profiled.  No joke.)  Enjoy…

Name: Kristy

Age:
22

Occupation:
Session Assistant

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on 53rd and 3rd. 

Favorite Kind of Food:
Japanese & Mexican.  I’m also a big fan of fresh bread and cookies.  Surprisingly Pax has really good sandwich bread.

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
A salad gone wrong, or overpriced food (even the muffins are expensive at Cafe Europa)

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
This is a hard one.  For a late lunch/early evening buzz I head over to Blockheads on 3rd for $3.50 margaritas and a delicious burrito.  The crowd is younger and it’s mostly women and couples.  A nice escape from boys in their twenties looking to hit on a helpless blonde at a Friday happy hour.  The wraps are also good, and the place is so small it’s hard to be neglected.

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: 53rd St. Gourmet.  I go for the cookies and fruit cup.  The Cobb Salad is pretty decent too.

Place you discovered on MidtownLunch.com: Oms/b.  You are not kidding about this place.  Believe the hype.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why?  Chinatown, so I could eat Shanghai’s soupy dumplings every day of the week (on Mott St.)  I would also love to work in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, so I could go to SkinFlintz for a burger (served on an English muffin), Mona Lisa for delicious panini, and Magic David (For Hamilton Pkwy) for mozzarella sticks.

Anything else you’d like to say to or ask the Midtown Lunch readers? I’m waiting for the Sophie’s Cuban review!  I’ve heard their food is pretty authentic.  Also, where’s the review of PAX?  Their food does taste fresher.  I had a fresh mozzarella and chicken sandwich with arugula and it was surprisingly tasty!

 

Sorry Kristy… but I’m pretty sure you’ve blown up your Blockheads spot.  My prediction… this Friday, Blockheads will be packed with “boys in their twenties looking to hit on a helpless blonde at a Friday happy hour”.  Well done.

Also… Pax isn’t really my scene- but I do have some news on Sophie’s Cuban.  More on that, and some other up-coming reviews, after the jump.

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Ho Yip now Sun Yip?, Citarella Out, Midtown Links and the end of the week wrap up…

Seems like New Years is the time for turnover.  Just before the start of 2007, Aron’s & Rangole closed, followed immediately by the Citarella at the base of Rockefeller Center. 

 

They wasted no time in blacking out the windows.  Looks like there was never anything there.  No word on what happened or what will be moving in.  I’m not keeping my hopes up for anything good.  My money is on a boring chain… (Hopefully another Starbucks!!!  30 Rock only has two as of now…)

Closings are sort of exciting… it’s always great when new places open up in Midtown.  Aron’s has already been replaced by Taki Sushi… but some places have been closed awhile with no sign of being replaced.  45th st. seems especially dire, with empty windows at closed branches of Yoshinoya and Wu Kong (which has been closed for 6 months).  No word on what is going on with the space formerlly occupied by Rangole either.

Speaking of 45th St., I got a comment saying that Ho Yip had changed ownership, and was now called Sun Yip.  I went to check it out, and found the same old Ho Yip (except it was jammed packed like I’d never seen it before… and it wasn’t even after 2pm- when the buffet by the pound drops in price).

 

 

They must have been talking about the Ho Yip in Downtown.  If you have any tips about Lunch’ing in Midtown, including any openings or closings to report, please email me at zach@midtownlunch.com, post them as comments below, or post your own pictures to the Midtown Lunch Flickr Photo Group.  (Especially on the East side… it’s freaking cold out- and I’m not walking around randomly looking for places that have closed!) 

Midtown Links and the end of the week wrap up after the jump…

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Taki Sushi

Ever since Wu Kong closed on 46th btw. 5th & 6th, I’ve been searching for a cheap sit down Sushi restaurant with a good lunch special close to the office.  Sure, Wu Kong was one of those split Asian restaurants, half Japanese/half Chinese (always a bad sign), but the sushi was good, and for under $10 you got two rolls and a miso soup.  Their Chinese food specials were good too, they gave you free peanuts while you waited for your meal, and once, awhile back, my wife and I were convinced we saw Lindsay Lohan eating there (that means it had to be good!)  It wasn’t the best, but it was our place- and since it closed there has been a cheap lunch special sushi void in our lives.

Well, salvation has come in the New Year.  As reported on Monday, Taki Sushi has moved from their 2nd Ave. location into the spot formerly occupied by Aron’s on 48th btw. 5th & 6th.  The spot is on the 2nd floor of the building, overlooking 48th st. and has a cute and modest interior.  The lunch specials are not only cheaper than Wu Kong, I’m pretty sure they are the cheapest available for fresh made sushi in Midtown.  For $6.50 to $7.50 (depending on what rolls you order) you get two rolls, miso soup and salad.  The $6.50 rolls are all non-fish rolls (avocado, cucumber, spinach, natto, etc) and the $7.50 choices include Tuna, Salmon or Shrimp with Avocado or Cucumber, California Roll, Salmon Skin, Eel with Avocado or Cucumber, Yellowtail and Spicy roll with Tuna, Salmon or White Tuna.

If Sushi or Sashimi is your thing, they have very nice, generously portioned sushi lunch specials for a pretty decent price.  The Sushi lunch is $8.95, Sashimi Lunch is $9.95 and the Sushi/Sashimi combo lunch is $12.95.  The table next to ours ordered these and they looked better than average.  They also have various Udon Noodle soups ($6.50 apiece), Don Buri specials (sweet Japanese stews) and all the usual Teriyaki, Katsu, Tempura and Negimaki specials you would expect.  Everything comes with miso soup and a salad (except the soups, which only come with a salad).

What we ordered, and a +/- after the jump…

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Dervish Turkish Restaurant

I have to say I don’t normally eat at or write about places like this (and I don’t plan on starting a trend).  Dervish is a sit down restaurant, it’s over $10 and the decor is what you would describe as “nice”.  It could qualify for a “business lunch” and it’s not even a buffet… which means it’s not really Midtown Lunch material.  But, right before Christmas my boss said he wanted to take me and a co-worker out to a nice lunch as our holiday gift- so I figured I might as well bring the camera along for the hell of it.

Dervish is a Turkish restaurant on 47th between 6th & 7th with lunch and dinner specials that make it an obvious choice for tourists looking for something to eat before going to the Theater.  The lunch special is $14.95, and for that price you get your choice of an appetizer and an entree… a pretty good deal if you’re looking for this type of sit down meal.

For our appetizers I think we selected pretty well.  The Turkish Salad was nice with chunks of tomato, cucumber and onion tossed in a vinaigrette.  The hummus is a pretty standard choice- and was perfect for dipping the bread they bring out before the meal. But the real star was the egg roll looking bureks… stuffed with spinach and cheese these were pretty awesome.  I’ve never had a burek before- so I’m not sure how it compares with a less touristy Turkish restaurant… but these tasted pretty sweet to me.

Pics of my entree, and the +/- after the jump…

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PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Lior”

So it’s Tuesday… which means I turn over the site to a Midtown Lunch’er for their recommendations of places to eat in Midtown.  (I know I did one every day last week… but we gotta get back on schedule, right?)  Today, it’s Lior, a fast food hating Attorney who claims that New York City rules, yet submitted a picture of himself in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Nice…

Name: Lior

Age:
30

Occupation:
Attorney

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
Law Firm around the Rockefeller Center area

Favorite Kind of Food:
Chinese & Mexican

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
Fast food… mainly McDonald’s and KFC, and although I love Mexican food, Chipotle keeps disappointing me every time, all over again, without even a single exception.  No more chances to be given! (Yeah right…)  (Editor’s Note:  I’m actually attempting to not eat at Chipotle for an entire year… we’ll see how that goes.)

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
Well, that’s mostly a matter of budget.  If I am footing the bill, than Minar.  The meat and chicken combo with extra Naan and yogurt sauce- running to the crown slightly ahead of Burritoville’s BBQ burritos.  If it’s my boss’ expense account we’re dealing with, than probably nothing can beat the $50 steaks at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse or Del Frisco’s just across the street.

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: Hing Won on 48th btw. 5&6th.  Although we go there too often, the large variety of Chinese dishes and Szechwan soups enables us to re-select it all over again without getting bored.

Place you discovered on MidtownLunch.com: Kati Roll.  It’s undoubtedly a great Indian combination, but still a bit too fatty for my taste.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Midtown Hong Kong.  I hear amazing stories about the culinary wonders of the city, regardless of the specific location within the city, especially when it comes to unique Chinese and far east delights, which I like alot.

Anything else you’d like to say to or ask the Midtown Lunch readers? Although it’s sometimes fun to complain how there is not enough Korean places, or good Thai joints around upper Midtown, NYC is still most likely the best place in the world in terms of variety of excellent and moderately priced restaurants that can fit any taste and preference.  We are very lucky to be “lunch’ing” here.  NYC Rules.  Period.

 

Well said Lior.  Although I’m still questioning your choice of pictures…  are you sure you wouldn’t rather be eating lunch in San Fran?  They have a really good Chinatown…

Speaking of Chinese, your Profile reminded me I hadn’t been to Hing Won in awhile, so yesterday I decided to revisit it.  I know people have been asking me to branch out farther East, but considering the unknown gas issues plaguing Midtown yesterday, I decided to remain close to work.

What I got and how you can be the next Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er, after the jump…

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First Look: Taki Sushi

Aron’s, which I reported closed a few weeks ago, has already been replaced by “Taki Sushi”.  I snapped this photo while walking to lunch today on 48th st. btw. 5th & 6th:

 

 

For you East Side Midtown’ers, this is the same Taki Sushi that used to be on 2nd ave. between 48th & 49th.  Their lunch special is $6.50-$7.50 and includes your choice of two rolls, miso soup and salad.  Not bad at all… more on this place soon.

Midtown Lunch: Snapshots (with a few from Thailand snuck in…)

Just got back from Thailand, and while I was gone had a few nice looking pics posted to the Midtown Lunch Flickr photo group… like this one of a Tostada Salad from Burritoville posted by Bloozorez:

 

 

There is a danger of good photographers making crappy food look delicious! 

I also saw this one of chicken over rice from Kwik Meal from bionicgirl

 

 

For those who didn’t know there are actually 3 Kwik Meal Locations in Midtown.  The one on 45th on 6th that I wrote about, and then there is one on 45th & 5th (which I believe is actually called Kwik Gourmet) and another one on 46th & Madison. 

If you have pictures of Midtown Lunch you’d like to share, we’d love to see them.  Post them to the Midtown Lunch Flickr Photo Group or email them to zach@midtownlunch.com.

So, after 10 days of eating in Thailand, I can’t say I’m excited to be back to eating Midtown Lunches.  I thought our street food was good, but Thailand takes it to another level.  We probably had two “sit down” meals in 10 days.  Some of my favorite food pics from the trip- after the jump…

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