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


  • I thought all NYC “mexican food” was really Tex-Mex. The better question: is there any authentic Mexican food in NYC? And by NYC I mean, parts of NYC I actually go to, like Manhattan and brownstone Brooklyn. I’m rarely in Jackson Heights, Sunset Park or Washington Heights.

  • yeah, i’m kinda late to the game but just wanted to reiterate, nothing bland about middle eastern delights, aaron. hello, za’atar?!

  • There’s never peace in the Middle East.

  • Or Newark.

  • Geography lesson for mattt: Washington Heights is IN Manhattan.

    There’s a taco truck on 96th St that’s supposed to be pretty authentic, it was a finalist in the vendy awards. And don’t worry mattt, it’s still the Upper West Side up there, not Harlem.

  • The best food in Rodeo Bar is the free peanuts.

    My experience w/ Zarela is that the mole dishes are generally tasty, the Cochinita Pibil is good, but the barbacoa is quite bland. There are fajitas on the menu, but I don’t know what else about the place makes it Tex-Mex.

  • Matt, just outside midtown you can go to Tulcingo del Valle on 10th around 47th street. At Tulcingo you can get good Pueblan Mexican food. Go with the mole or the chicken pipian.

    Almost none of the ‘mexican’ food in NY is tex-mex. It’s more like Americanized tex-mex. Most of the places you’re thinking of wouldn’t stay open for a month in Texas.

  • Hummus? Tabbouleh? Tahini? Stuffed grape leaves? To me these are not “stimulating or invigorating” and therefore–according to Webster’s–are bland. As Margot said, my “bland” = “not spicy.”

    I heartily agree with the homesicktexan recommendation. I read it every week.

    Thanks for the recommendations on Burrito Box, Lobo (been meaning to go there for months), Mi Nidito, and Rodeo Bar.

    I’ll take a pass on Rio Grande (been there, too expensive/fancy) and Zarela’s (which is Mex-Mex not Tex-Mex).

    I’m most excited about trying Rodeo Bar, not only for their alleged Shiner but also for their awesome menu descriptions on menupages. Inane, email me if you want to come with me–my treat.

  • WE could shoot some wetbacks to make you feel at home.

  • I’m a homesick Texan…but I’m going to Texas next week. Tex-Mex, chicken fried steak, collard greens, creamed corn, BBQ, Viet food, here I come!! I’ve been down that road before, searching for Tex-Mex, but I failed miserably. There’s Mexican Cafe in Park Slope that I read up on. Never tried it, but from the menu, it’s cheap, and got good reviews.

    The tex-mex here doesn’t have any kick to it. By kick, I don’t mean pour half a bottle of hot sauce onto my plate of food, but…where’s the cumin, coriander, cloves, etc?

  • Don’t get your hopes too high about the Shiner, Aaron. Unless something’s changed in both the Rodeo’s menu and, more importantly, Shiner’s distribution, you can’t get it anywhere in New York. Trust me, I’ve driven cases up from D.C. before.

  • Only had the margaritas at Rodeo… and the peanuts of course… Aaron be careful with your offers – you might rack up a huge bill with these hungry folks

  • Fat Mikey, I shared your caution about the alleged Shiner at Rodeo Bar. However, I’m happy to report that the allegations are true. I ate there last night (just couldn’t wait) and had two bottles of Shiner Bock. They’re not listed on the menu and they’re $7 each, but that’s cheaper than a drive to Maryland.

    Thanks for your caution too, Margot, but after having experienced Rodeo Bar for myself, I really do owe Inane a meal.

    Is there a moderator for these comments? Can we please remove Mr. McBagel’s post?

  • DRed: Thanks for the suggestion, but I live in Brooklyn now, so 10th ave is a bit out of the way.

    And yes I realize most of the Tex-Mex here is Americanized, but this is NY, and it’s what we’ve got.

  • Matt, try fast and frest deli in Boerum Hill. It’s on Hoyt st., just off Atlantic Ave. Doesn’t look like much, but the tacos and tortas are authentic and delicious. They also do pretty good tamales on the weekends.

  • Rio Grande=grossness. Last time I was there, I sat by a window and had a nice view of several (several=more than two) rats scampering around their patio. At least I’ve never seen any rats at my Midtown Lunch favorites, even if I know they’re there :)

  • wait a minute, am I the only one who thinks he’s cute?

  • Ld – if you think so take him up on his offer for food at rodeo bar! aww yeah midtown lunch lovin’

  • To mattt:
    Try Mexico Lindo on 2nd ave at 25th St in the Kips Bay area.
    It’s family-run and not chi-chi at all…none of that “tableside $20 guac” that you find at Rosa or Dos caminos.
    Best molé poblano I’ve had in NY.

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