PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Aaron”

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 Aaron, an Investment Analyst who loves to double fist soup and is looking for some good Tex-Mex.

Name: Aaron


Investment Analyst

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
54th & 6th Ave.

Favorite Kind of Food:
Tex-Mex. This is easily the worst part about being a Texan but living outside of Texas. I tried for a while to find great Tex-Mex in Manhattan and finally settled for Cancun (8th Ave just north of 55th), but I ate there only to get my fix.  Last month, though, I discovered something far better: Ah Chihuahua on East 53rd between 1st & 2nd. It’s quite a walk for me at lunchtime, but the food is worth it. Good guacamole, great cheese enchiladas, $6 or $7 lunch combos all served with rice & refried beans, complimentary chips & salsa, $3 margaritas between noon and 3pm (I hear they’re good, but I’ve not had one).

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Anything bland, primarily Middle Eastern.

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
Empanada Mama (53rd & 9th) – corn empanada with ground beef, dipped in the green hot sauce, with a side of plantain chips & guacamole. Not technically within the confines of “Midtown” but they deliver.

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: Pax, or other assorted soup-and-sandwich delis. So boring.

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: Kati Roll (now on 38 btw. 5+6th), the taco cart on 50th (btw. 6+7th), the famous Chicken & Rice Cart at 53rd & 6th (a cart with its own website!), the Hallo Berlin cart, and the Daisy May’s BBQ cart.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why?  Dallas – dozens of Tex-Mex and bbq choices in every direction

Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? Is there any better Tex-Mex in NYC than Ah Chihuahua (on East 53rd between 1st & 2nd)?

I’ve got to admit that Tex Mex is not really my thing.  I don’t mind it, and I’ll eat it- but to me, saying ”I Love Tex-Mex” is like asking ”Anybody know where I can get some American tasting Indian food?”  I know there are some Texans who read this blog who are going to disagree, so have at it.  And, after you are done telling me how stupid I am, recommend some good Tex Mex that will change my mind (and make Aaron happy). 

As always, if you want to be the next Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er, email me at


  • Middle Eastern food is bland but Tex Mex is fantastic, eh? Hmmm…what are your feelings on white bread and water?

  • what the heck is bland about Middle Eastern?

    If texmex is your thing check out :

  • How is Middle Eastern food bland?

  • Aaron – what about Burrito Box on 9th ave between 57th and 58th? I used to live nearby and would take out from there once a week, always busy, big burritos, pretty cheap, quality guacamole (though not the greatest chips in the world).

  • Lobo in Brooklyn does pretty good tex-mex. Maybe not good for Texas, but for up here it’s definitely good. They have locations in Cobble Hill and Park Slope.

  • La Paloma on 45th between 8th and 9th, closer to 9th has tasty take out burritos, tacos, taco salads. I usually get a beef taco salad (it is fist-sized, full of freshly fried meat, cheese, onions and peppers, topped with salsa and guac) with yellow rice and red beans, and a chorizo taco – comes to $9 or so.

  • Mi Nidito on Eighth Avenue around 52nd Street is also good for Tex-Mex – the only good nachos we’ve been able to find. I always get shredded beef chimichanga – spicy meat and gooey cheese inside, topped with sour cream and guac. All orders come with free chips and salsa. This sounds like what you’re looking for.

  • Well glad I’m not the only one who feels that Middle Eastern isn’t bland. That’s the worst judgement call I’ve ever heard when it comes to food. What kind of Middle Eastern food are you eating? If you mean it lacks Mexican spices.. well.. go figure. Head out to Astoria and hit up Mombar or Walima’s… there is nothing bland about it.

  • Middle eastern food bland?………this isnt a falafeling matter.

  • Agree with Wendy that Mi Nidito is pretty good. I don’t know if it’s truly “Tex-Mex” or just “Mex.”

  • There’s El Rio Grande at 38th and 3rd. The original owner lifted Ninfa’s entire menu (and recipes) so you have Houston favorites such as green sauce and tacos al carbon. They also know how to make proper nachos (individually and not a pile of chips buried under meat, beans and cheese).

  • I took his “bland” comment to mean “badly made Middle Eastern.” Having had some really awful cheap falafel and gyros, I can understand what he means.

  • gryos are greek not middle eastern

  • Turkish actually ‘Doner’, called Gyro in Greece.

    Point of much discussion and angst

    Have a place in Pathos ,Cyprus. Ive seen Greek/Turk Cypriots fight over it!!

  • Maybe he meant Middle Eastern foods vs. Southeast Asian/Indian? All the Afghani food I’ve ever eaten tasted like watered-down Indian. No offense.

  • have to disagree with the El Rio Grande recommendation! i think that their food is awful and so is their service. Last time I went we waited about 20 minutes for a table (we even had a reservation) and they overcharged me $5 for my meal. Rip-off! Although their margaritas are really good (if you’re into that during lunch break)

  • Not sure how Greek or Afgani food is middle eastern?

    Lisa – I 2nd the preference for individual nachos – so much better than a pile of gooey half-cooked toppings.

  • Zarela’s on 2nd has some pretty good tex-mex… Killer margaritas (which is what I’m usually there for) – and it’s even considered midtown east, if I’m not mistaken.

  • I’m not a Rio Grande lover either…I’d say Rodeo Bar on 3rd and 27th(?) is better, plus you can get Shiner Bock there. It ain’t midtown really….but its good.

    Just to add to the whole Gyro / Donner thing…I’ve had what was called Schwarma, Gyro and Donner and generally Donner was the ground up kind (like a big meatball), Schwarma was usually the chunks of meat kind and Gyro has been both kinds equally often.

    Plus, I’ve never had a ‘bland’ falafel or gyro (or donner or schwarma for that matter)… even the bad ones.

  • Maybe he meant anything “non-spicy” (ie: Middle Eastern)… I wouldn’t say it’s BLAND… but it’s definitely not tex-mex.

Leave a Reply

You must log in or register to post a comment.