Archive for October 2007

Obligatory Halloween Post: Scariest Midtown Lunch

Scary is a very relative term.  I’ve eaten alot of things since I started this blog that some would classify as scary.  A lot of people seemed geniunely frightened by my “Most Offal Midtown Lunches” list, and I’m sure a lot of those same people would be scared to eat octopus salad or anything off a cart.   There was also that Banana Sushi Roll from Bagelfeller- which coincidentally enough, I heard was going to be used in “Saw 4″, but it was just too horrific.

Well the other day, I saw a sign for something that even I wouldn’t eat… Read more »

Zen Burger Takes the Madness to a Whole New Level


Just when you thought the burger-mania couldn’t get any crazier in Midtown…  the Five Guys on 55th btw. 5+6th is opening on Friday , the Goodburger on 45th btw. 5+6th is opening in mid-November, and Pop Burger is on the way.  Now, the good people at Zen Palate have decided to get in on the action, and why not- vegetarians probably feel left out of the NYC lunch’ing fad that just keeps on giving.

Above is the plywood for the first ”Zen Burger”- opening soon on Lexington between 45+46th.  They plan on serving a whole menu of “healthy” fast food, all of it meat free. This will include meatless chicken and fish sandwiches, patty melts, hot dogs, chicken tenders, shrimp, and 10 (that’s right- 10) different kinds of burgers- all of which promise to “look, feel and taste of meat without the detrimental effects that meat causes to one’s health and the environment”. 

The interviewing finished up yesterday, interviewing is happening next week, so it should be opening soon… thanks to tipster Rafi for the info- and as always if you have any news, info or recommendations, email them to

Today is the last day to enjoy the Jamaican Dutchy (for a little while) & the original House of Pita (forever)

Midtown is about to lose an O.G. lunch destination…

House of Pita has lost the lease to their original location- the window space on 48th btw. 5+6th.  You can still enjoy their delicious falafels & burekas (plus more) at the newer full service location on 46th btw. 5+6th,  but today is the last day to get your fix out of the window.  It was one of my first Midtown Lunches, and I will miss it (the window, that is).

The Jamaican Dutchy Cart on 51st & 7th will also be closed starting tomorrow.  More on that, after the jump… Read more »

It’s Free Taco Day, Thanks to Jacoby Ellsbury…

Posted to Flickr by Fabulman

Don’t forget that today is the day to cash in courtesy of Taco Bell & Jacoby Ellsbury, the Boston Red Sox player who stole a base during the World Series, earning everybody in the U.S. a free seasoned beef taco.  

This promotion will test the “How far is Zach willing to walk for free food” question.  Normally, the answer is “As far as it takes”, but even I’m a little skeptical of this one.  Do I really want to walk 15 minutes for something that a) costs less than a dollar, and b) I probably wouldn’t even touch on my hungriest day.  Now, if it was a Free Chicken Gordita Surpreme, then we’d be talking…

Free tacos are available from 2-5pm, making it the perfect afternoon snack (under the “If it costs less than $1, it’s a snack” rule.)   Here are the Midtown locations of Taco Bell:

  • 525 8th Ave (btw. 36+37th), (212) 216-0997
  • 875 Avenue of the Americas (at 31st St.), (212) 947-0859  I could have swore there was a Taco Bell/KFC near Koreatown… did it close?  Is it not there anymore?
  • 713 829 3rd Ave. (btw. 50+51st), (212) 758-5900 (sorry!)

A word of warning… the 8th Ave. location is under the impression that the promotion is from 3-5pm, so you may want to show up a little later for that one, or call ahead to see if they’ve smartened up!

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Sarah”

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. This week it’s Sarah, a part time Midtown Lunch’er who gets to eat in one of my favorite neighborhoods half of the week…

Name: Sarah


Full time student and part time assister of creativity

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
  I go to school at Parsons: Union Square campus (13th and 5th) and work part time at 59th and Madison.  But last year I worked full time at 59th and Madison, so I am familiar with the area

Favorite Kind of Food:
Mediterranean style (grilled meat, veggies, salad, olive oil and fresh bread), and Korean bbq

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
Indian food, organ meats, olives, capers, mushrooms and flour tortillas (prefer corn)

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
Mangia on 57th btw. 5+6th, for the pesto chicken salad with arugula, parm and fresh bread. I could eat that every day.

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often:
When i worked full time in Midtown, it was Mangia. We would also occasionally go to this tiny Italian cheese shop at 62nd and Lexington, aptly named Cheese on 62nd. They sold cheese and Italian grocery items, but they also made these totally tasty sandwiches. Nowadays I bring my own, because I’m a student.  (For other lunch’ers, there is also a Mangia on 48th btw. Mad+5th -zach).

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: Hallo Berlin cart.  As a Chicago native and of German descent I love, love, love sausage, kraut and onions.  That and the Treats Truck, although I have only spotted her twice…  (The Treats Truck is on 38th & 5th Ave. today & Thursday- and Kim told me yesterday that she is hoping that there will be a spot open in the Northern part of Midtown over the winter, due to hibernating Ice Cream Trucks.  I’ll keep you up to date… or check -zach)

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why?  Probably Chicago.  I love the hot dog shops.  Give me a dog (Chicago style) with cheese fries and a diet coke and I’ll be happy.  Probably a good thing I dont live there, that can’t be good for you.  Union Square, fortunately, is a close second because it’s a short walk to the east or west and if I’m feeling lazy, I can get healthy and good food at the Whole Foods.

Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? Any suggestions for a great lunch around Union Square?  Anywhere, but prefer a cheap student budget lunch option…

I’m so jealous…  next to Chinatown, Union Square would probably be my number 2 dream job location for lunch’ing purposes in Manhattan.  Where I would eat every day, if I worked in Union Square- after the jump… Read more »

Kikku… Trying to prove there is such a thing as good, cheap sushi in Midtown

Searching for good, cheap sushi in Midtown has always been a difficult proposition.  It is not hard to find since every single deli now has a sushi bar.  But how cheap is too cheap?  At some point, when raw fish costs too little, you have to wonder whether eating this food that makes no financial sense for the people selling it, is going to make you sick (or taste just plain terrible).  Now, some people can’t or won’t eat cheap sushi, and I can totally appreciate that mentality.  After a meal at Sushi Seki or Soto, it’s easy to understand why there is a group of people (usually with a ton of money) who would never eat cheap sushi.  I’m not one of those people.  I can appreciate both ends of the sushi spectrum- in the same way I can enjoy a fast food hamburger while still appreciating the greatness of a steak from Peter Luger’s.  Similar ingredients, of very different quality, with different preparations.

In the end, it’s all about balance.  The goal- finding something that is not so cheap it’s just gross, but not too good, because then it ends up being too expensive for Midtown Lunch’ing.  I’m pretty excited for the new conveyor belt sushi place opening at the end of the year, but I know in my heart that filling up at Sakae Sushi for under $10 is going to be a very difficult task.  In the end, I can’t seem to find an end all be all for cheap sushi.  There are some delis with decent sushi counters (Cafe Duke is ok, as is Variety Cafe on 48th btw. 5+6th), but none that I would wholeheartedly recommend.  Yummy Sushi in rock center is pretty bad.  Kiiroi Hana, a restaurant that served to go sushi on the sidewalk of 56th St. was pretty good, but it closed.  In the end, even good pre-packaged sushi is still pre-packaged, and your best bet is to find a sit down place with a really good lunch special

My favorite, hands down, used to be Wu Kong on 46th, a Chinese/Japanese combo, but it closed over a year ago- leaving me searching for a replacement.  Taki Sushi on 48th btw. 5+6th is pretty good, but when I wrote about that place I got a ton of people who recomended Kikku on 55th btw. 5+6th, claiming that it is the best cheap sushi in Midtown.

I finally made it down there last week.  What we ordered, and a +/- after the jump… Read more »

Midtown Links (Mozzarella Edition!)

At Lunch Now: Five Guys Opening in One Week

Vows have been made. Strong words were used. Things like “guaranteed”
and “I promise” were spoken aloud.

Five Guys Midtown on 55th btw 5+6th will open next Friday, one week from
today. I will see you there. If it’s not open, I will be the fat guy,
sobbing quietly on the curb in front of the store…

Emeril, Giada, Govind, Cat Cora, Pichet and more serve up lunch for under $10 in Midtown!

Yesterday, Midtown Lunch became Chef central with the opening of Bon Appetit’s “Pop Up Cafe” in the old Hard Rock Cafe space on 57th btw. 7+8th.  Open from 11am to 3pm, the Cafe is essentially a gussied up Cafe Metro, serving up fancy sandwiches, soups & salads created by famous chefs like Govind Armstrong (Table 8), Cat Cora (Iron Chef), Giada De Laurentiis (Food Network), and Emeril, plus desserts from Will Goldfarb (Picnick) and Pichet Ong (P*ong).

Everyday there will also be demonstrations from the Chefs, plus free samplings of wine, Ice Cream from Haagen Dazs and chocolate from Ghirardelli to make you not care that you just spent $9 for a sandwich!  I don’t normally like paying so much for this kind of lunch- but what can I say?  I’m a whore for celebrity chefs…

Fancy salad, sandwich and soup porn, PLUS a schedule of events (and photo of my free ice cream!)- after the jump… Read more »

The Steam Table at East Ocean is by the Chinese, for the Chinese

There are two kinds of Chinese steam table places in Midtown.  The kind that’s made for people who like “Americanized” Chinese food (i.e. Yips).  And the kind that’s made for Chinese people, who live in America.  (Hing Won on 48th btw. 5+6th does both really well, making it my favorite cheap Chinese food in Midtown.)  Awhile back, I wrote about the 38th St. Restaurant & Bakery, one of these “authentic” Chinese places, opened for workers in the Garment District (and any adventurous white people who work in the Southeastern corner of Midtown). 

But what if you are in the opposite corner of Midtown?  Well, I found your place.  For those of you working in the Northeast corner of Midtown, there is East Ocean on 55th btw. Lex+3rd.  On the outside it looks like your average Midtown cheap Chinese place… but at lunchtime they put a steam-table that is not quite for everyone.  Let’s put it this way, if you’re looking for Chinese food, where you have to ask what each item is (and General Tso’s chicken is a rarity), than this is your new favorite place.

What they’ve got, and a +/- after the jump… Read more »