Milant Gourmet Deli
Some places you just know are going to be good. It may be rare, but it happens. I trekked over to Milant, a tiny deli on 39th St. btw. 3rd & Lex. after getting a tip from a Midtown Lunch’er named Corey. I’m not usually a big sandwich guy, and I almost never write about “delis”, but when I walked into this tiny take-out only place, something said to me “This is going to be good.” Don’t let the name fool you though. Milant is tiny, and sort of dumpy, but I think that’s part of its charm. Take the same place and dress it up in fancy Midtown duds, and it probably wouldn’t be as good.
I don’t know if it was the crowd (there were about 5 or 6 people cramped in there waiting for their sandwiches), the price ($5 to $6.50 for some pretty sweet sounding sandwiches), the free soup (you get a free cup of soup) or the fridges full of nice cheeses and assorted pates- but I was not leaving this place empty handed. Corey had told me to get the #13. No explanation, or description… just an ”Order the #13. It rocks.” When I saw it on the menu, I knew I had found a winner.
The #13, more food porn and a +/-, after the jump…
The #13. Chicken Cutlet, fresh mozzarella, pesto sauce and sun dried tomato on French bread. How could it be bad! Can you get the same sandwich at a million places in Midtown? Probably. But is it only $6.25? Doubtful. Do they give you free soup? Probably not. Do you walk into the place and think “This is going to be good?”. Definitely not. You only get all that at a place like Milant.
Milant is a strange little place. Your initial thought is that it is Italian (all good delis are, right?), but it is definitely not Italian. The cheeses and pates in the fridge, combined with the fancy looking chocolates in the window mean it could be French- but the guys running the place don’t seem French to me. There are vegetarian sandwiches with hummus, baba ganouj and falafel. That’s not French or Italian. What a strange little place. I guess that is part of its charm.
There were 15 other combination sandwiches on the menu, and not a single one looked bad. My friend ordered the #15- crabmeat cake with fresh tomato, lettuce, & mayo on french bread ($6.50). The crabmeat cake was not your typical crabcake (it was almost like a crab, vegetable and potato pancake) but the sandwich was really good. Some of the other menu highlights… #3. Country style pate with roasted red pepper, cornichons and Dijon mustard on fresh baked bread. #5. Genoa salami with fresh mozzarella and roasted red peppers on sourdough. #8. Tuna with apple and fresh dill on rye with lettuce and tomato.
They also have gourmet cold salads, garden salads, vegetarian sandwiches, appetizers and a few gourmet entrees like Eggplant Parm and Lasagna. And then of course there is the free soup! Every sandwich comes with a small cup of soup. There is always Chicken and Vegetable, and the second choice changes every day. Monday is Lentil, Tuesday is Chicken Wild Rice, Wednesday is Split Pea, Thursday is Three Bean & Friday is Chicken Noodle. Naturally the chicken and vegetable is a little watery- but the flavor is good, and it’s hard to complain about something you get for free. In the summer months they serve a Gazpacho (which I am very excited to try!)
Sandwiches are not rare in Midtown- but sandwiches with ingredients like these, that cost between $5 and $6.50 are. If you read the blog regularly, you know that sandwiches and salads are not really my thing. I have always felt that the generic, one on every block, Midtown delis/salad bars are in existence because Midtown eaters are lazy, and aren’t willing to walk the extra block for something good. (Every once in awhile you find a good or interesting one, but they are few and far between) It’s nice to have a place like Milant, where I can get a sandwich, and not feel like a Midtown Lunch sell out.
- Delicious sandwich combinations for $5 to $6.50
- You get free soup!
- The sandwiches on french bread are surprisingly big for the price
- The intangible plus. You walk in, look at the menu and just know that it is going to be good. It’s one of the few Midtown cases where you feel like you get more than what you paid for.
- The place is tiny, and it is take out only
- The free soup is not the greatest ever (but it’s home-made, and free- so you can’t argue about that)
Milant Gourmet Deli, 158 E. 39th St. (btw. Lex & 3rd), 212-682-0111