Archive for December 2007

Midtown Links (Last Post of the Year Edition)

A Complete Look Back at 2007 in Midtown Lunch’ing (The More Than Just Food Porn Edition)

Yesterday, I gave you the food porn look back at 2007 in Midtown Lunch’ing. Today it’s links to some of my favorite stories of the year. A lot of places came and went this year, and if I had to sum it all up, I think I would say it was the Year of the Bulgogi.  (Oh yeah… and a few burger places opened up too.  Could 2008 be the year of the Bulgogi burger?)

We used to have to trek all the way down to 32nd street for our Korean fix, but now there is tons of take out Korean food being sold in the back of delis, out of carts, and even out of a converted bagel place. The day that Korean deli owners realized that people wanted to eat their home cooking, was a great day for Midtown Lunch’ing. Here’s to that trend continuing in 2008!

But in the end, as much as things changed, they mostly they stayed the same. We finally got our Banh Mi, but at a substantial Midtown sandwich mark-up. There are more burgers, but we lost our only take out Thai place when Yum Thai got the DOH. My hope for 2008 is the same as 2007. More cheap Thai food. More cheap Vietnamese food. But enough about the future… let’s take a look back at the year that was:

1.18.07 – The Bulgogi Cart on 49th btw. 5+6th makes its first appearance, and then promptly disappeared. (It resurfaced again on the 22nd, and has been there ever since.)

2.5.07 – I discovered fried chicken and waffles in Midtown at Ressie May’s Soul to Go on 8th Ave.btw. 39+40th.

2.14.07 – Midtown Lunch is accused of being a sexist blog after the Valentine’s day post recommends that guys take their girlfriends to Oms/b and women take their men to Hawaiian Tropic Zone.

2.20.07 – Popeyes returns to Midtown just before Fat Tuesday . You know my feeling on most chains, but Popeyes may serve the best fried chicken in Midtown.

3.5.07 – Cheap sushi favorite Kiroii Hana on 56th btw. 5+6th closes .

3.7.07 – The Midtown Lunch Guide to Beating the All You Can Eat Chinese Buffet gets posted to the site. Representing almost 30 years of careful Chinese buffet study, it is a personal manifesto- and my gift to the world.

The rest of 2007, after the jump… Read more »

2007 Lunching in One Gigantic Photo

Well, with only 3 Midtown Lunch’ing days left in 2007 (weekends and holidays don’t count, since I’m not at work), it’s time for my favorite post of the year. Some of you may find it awe inspiring, while others might be shocked. Some will find it mouth watering, and my wife just thinks it’s revolting (but secretly I know she’s proud). I find it all of those things. It’s fun to look back at everything you ate for lunch in an entire year. Fun and terrifying.

Midtown Lunch 2007, as one gigantic photo, after the jump… Read more »

At Lunch Now: In N Out Burger

Holidays on the west coast mean one thing. XMas Eve day lunch at In N
Out Burger. How could I not?

If you’re at work today, sorry. Hopefully looking at my double double
with cheese will put a smile on your face, but I’m guessing it probably

Merry Christmas from Midtown Lunch!

Midtown Links (Jamaican Black Cake Edition)

Matt Kenney of FreeFoods NYC Answers the Big Organic Questions


When Midtown Lunch covered the opening of Matt Kenney’s FreeFoods NYC, the reaction was decidedly mixed.  Firmly against generic Midtown delis, we all found it hard to embrace a concept that took this model and made it *more* expensive.  Sure, the food is of a much higher quality, and for people into organic food- it is one of the few decent options in Midtown.  It also helps if you don’t mind spending $15 on a take out lunch.

I am often a quantity over quality eater (my love of buffets is evidence of that), but ideally you’d like to find some sort of middle ground, and ‘you get what you pay for’ is a concept I can totally appreciate.  That being said, comments came in complaining about the portions at FreeFoods NYC, and there were even a few who complained about the “organic whenever possible” mantra.

The one thing I can say, prices aside- FreeFoods has the nicest looking by the pound buffet in the entire of city of New York.  It only has a few items, but each one looks absolutely delicious- and I’ve been tempted on more than one occasion to just give in and fork over the $20 weighing my food would cost me at a place like this.  It might be time for a Midtown Lunch buffet by the lb. challenge…

Matt Kenney sat down with Gothamist this week and answered questions about FreeFoods NYC, organic food, sustainable business practices, and the raw food movement.  There’s also a pumpkin soup recipe for those who can’t bring themselves to fork over $5+ for a tiny 12oz cup of soup…

Bits & Pieces (Openings, Closings, Plywood & Unpaid Bills Edition)

  • Sakae Sushi (43rd btw. Lex+3rd), the conveyor belt sushi place from Singapore that was hoping to be open by the end of the year- looks nowhere close to being open (as you can tell from the photo taken above on Monday).  I’m still super excited…

  • Zen Burger (Lex btw. 44+45th) is saying they will open on January 3rd.


Sohpie’s Cuban News, another Hing Won/Hop Won spinoff, and 2nd Ave. Deli stuff, after the jump… Read more »

Hing Won Has a Twin Sister, Serving Best Cheap Chinese Food to Midtown East

When it comes to take out, cheap chinese food there is no question in my mind that Hing Won is the king of Midtown.  On 48th btw. 5+6th, the quickness that they serve up authentic, Chinatown style dishes to hordes of Midtown Lunchers is mind boggling.  It can be pretty intimidating for the uninitiated, so they even have a steam table on the left side of the counter, for those addicted to sesame chicken (and afraid of ordering off a menu that is half in Chinese).

Walking around on the East side on Monday, I discovered something exciting.  On 45th btw. Lex+3rd, there is a Hing Won East.  It’s called Hop Won, and by looking at the takeout menu- you would never be able to tell the difference between the two places.  The even have the double sided ordering counter.  Right side is the steam table, left side is the real stuff!  With Menchanko Tei and Maharaja right next door, this is becoming a pretty formidable block.

My (not surprising to anybody who has eaten at Hing Won with me) lunch, after the jump… Read more »

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Lindsay”

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 Lindsay, a legal assistant, who has terrible cholesterol, but takes pictures of himself eating bacon.  Ahhh, the perfect Midtown Lunch’er.

Name: Lindsay


Legal Assistant

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
50th & 8th

Favorite Kind of Food:
I suppose Japanese or crazy fusion foods with unusual flavors (for a mind blowing and unusual set of bodega sandwiches, for example, try Sunny & Annie’s on Ave B and 5th), but I’ll eat pretty much anything. I recently found out that my mother blessed me with terrible cholesterol and high blood pressure and that I should avoid foods that exacerbate those things. After some agonizing, I realized that those foods now taste better because it’s a transgressive act. For example, last night I had a burger at BRGR, and it was pretty darn delicious because of the guilt alone. Thanks, Mom.

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
South African — honestly most of the meat there tastes like paper (as does the beef at Better Burger). I’m not too huge on English food either, but I think that’s sort of its perverse selling point. Also any menu written in papyrus font immediately turns me off to its food.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
The burekas, or the fava beans with hummus at Gazala’s Place (9th Ave. btw. 48+49th); most anything at Pam Real Thai (their Thai iced teas/coffees are also very reasonably priced) (49th & 9th); I’ve got an irrational soft spot for Island Burger (but eat in, don’t order: the burgers soak through the buns otherwise)(9th Ave. btw. 51+52nd). Also it’s hard to beat a lot of the street meat carts in the 49th/6th area; that stuff is just absurdly tasty. And I adore Bouchon’s ‘wiches, particularly the roast beef (Time Warner Center, Columbus Circle).

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often:
Our own cafeteria, sadly; it’s subsidized heavily so it’s easy to be lazy and stay in. I also eat at Chipotle far too often for all the obvious reasons (sorry ML).  (Dude… if I were you, I’d be at Piece of Chicken (45th btw. 8+9th) every single day!  The day I took the photos for the place, I think I was sitting in the courtyard outside your building.  -zach)

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: Kati Roll and the Daisy May’s BBQ cart; Margon; pretty much any Mexican restaurant I’ve ever eaten at.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? I don’t know any place that matches Manhattan for its convenience and variety, so I’m going to have to say right here. More specifically the Lower East Side, although areas of Brooklyn and Queens have pretty strong arguments going for them, too.

Anything you’d like to ask the midtown lunch readers???: I’m still looking for a great Malaysian place…

A great Malaysian place in Midtown, or in general?  Because in Midtown, you are pretty out of luck.  Did a search for Malaysian on Menupages and nothing comes up anywhere in Midtown.  It looks like the closest you are going to get is Penang on 72nd btw. Columbus+Amsterdam.  They have an $8 lunch special, and they do deliver- down to 53rd St. (westside only).  So close, yet so far.  

Penang’s very popular Mango Chicken, after the jump…  Read more »

Labeleca? La Bellezza? Either way, they make a damn good Chicken Parm

And so the quest to find the best chicken parm sub in Midtown rambles on.  First, there was Tuscany Catering, the little hidden catering place/take out counter on 55th btw. 5+6th.  I was down with it, but my boss (the resident chicken parm expert) wasn‘t impressed- and a few commenters noted that it was just average.  The train moved on to 45th St., where we hit up Little Italy Pizza.  The bread was good, but the chicken was not up to par, unlike across the street at Park Italian- where the chicken is good, but the bread was weak the day we were there (apparently, their 1st string bread is much better than their 2nd string bread, and maybe we got the back up bread?).

Commenter Margot mentioned La Bellezza on 49th btw. Lex+3rd, and since then, I have gotten a few more recommendations over email.  Then, two weeks ago, Profiled Midtown Lunch’er “David” mentioned the Chicken Parm from a La Bellezza on 40th & 7th.  Same place?  Different place?  What is going on here?  I set out to discover some answers… and by that, I mean I used this as an excuse to eat Chicken Parm subs for lunch in one week.

What I discovered, and some chicken parm sub porn- after the jump… Read more »