Archive for January 2008

At Lunch Now: Indonesian Leftovers

Lunch at my desk today with leftovers from my dinner last night at Bali Nusa on 9th Ave. btw. 45+46th (just outside of Midtown Lunch boundaries).  I don’t care what anybody says about this place (it has its detractors), their Mee Goreng (listed as Bakmi Goreng on the menu) is almost as good as any version I had in Bali (almost.)  They also deliver…

Bali Nusa, 651 9th Ave. (btw. 45+46th), 212-974-1875

A Few Improvements to Midtown Lunch

Just wanted to quickly point out two improvements recently made to Midtown Lunch.  First, some of you may have noticed that for the past month the site has been running incredibly slow, especially during lunch time (I can’t imagine why).  It appears as if Midtown Lunch has grown too big for our britches (ironic how it’s happening to me personally as well), so last weekend “I” (meaning my incredibly helpful brother) moved the site to a new server, and it appears to have fixed the problem.  The RSS feed is still the same, but some people had old feeds that are not working anymore, so if that is the case with you, replace your feed address with this link.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, feel free to ignore, or read more about rss feeds here.

More importantly, Midtown Lunch *finally* has a map!  You’ll notice it on the top of the right hand sidebar.  Click on it, and you will be taken to our improved “Map & Restaurant Index” page.  Now, you can zoom in on the area you work in Midtown and see all of the places in your area that have been written about on Midtown Lunch, plus the ones I’m planning on writing about soon.  (There’s only so much stomach to go around).

Please feel free to email any problems, issues, suggestions or complaints to  And of course thanks for reading the site, contributing your opinions in the comments, and telling your friends.  Here’s to continued growth, resulting in the failure of our new server!

There Will Be Beer (Good news from H.B. Express)

Original Hallo Berlin on 51st & 9thWhen I posted earlier in the week about the new Hallo Berlin Express set to open on 9th Ave. btw. 50+51st, there was concern over whether or not they would serve beer.  Well, I finally got to speak to Rolf & Wolfgang, who run the famous cart on 54th & 5th, and they told me there would in fact be beer served in plastic cups.  They expect to be open by the end of February, beginning of March, and the menu will include everything they serve at the cart, plus more- including (but not limited to) potato pancakes and a schnitzel sandwich.   How do you say, “I will be there on opening day” in German?

Midtown Links (Midweek Champagne & Pork Roast Edition)

Wall Street Journal… Welcome to Midtown. Need lunch?


So the news broke on Weds, and was confirmed yesterday that Rupert Murdoch plans on moving the Wall St. Journal from their Downtown offices to the News Corp. building on 6th Ave. & 48th St., smack dab in the middle of Midtown.  Well, let me be the first to say welcome!  We’re actually neighbors (I work in the McGraw Hill Building across the street), and there are plenty of great lunch options within walking distance of our block.

According to the NY Observer, you guys are leaving behind PJ Clarke’s.  Well don’t you worry, the original one is here in Midtown- although 3rd Ave. is a pretty long walk away. 

Some much closer options, after the jump… Read more »

Openings, Closings & More Closings (ahem, I mean “renovations”)

It’s the beginning of the new year, which traditionally means a lot of change in the eating landscape.  Leases run out, new places move in, and many use it as a time for “holiday cleaning”.  First the openings…

Yummy Sushi in Rockefeller Center has opened a second location in the Food Court at the bottom of the building on 3rd Ave. & 53rd St.  It joins Fusion Grills, Gourmet 53 and of course- the piano player!  I believe it replaced a different sushi place, owned by the same people who own Menchanko-Tei.

In the soon to be opening category…

Ignore the construction, the “food court” in the basement of the building on 3rd Ave. btw. 49+50th is still open- and the new sign confirms the rumor we mentioned a few weeks agoPamapano Taqueria & Pump Energy will be getting a new neighbor soon.  Clearly not deterred by the defections of two of their prime Midtown locations, a new Sophie’s Cuban will be opening soon.  The fliers on the storefront make mention of a “Grand Opening Celebration”, which can only mean one thing.  Free food day!  Once a date is firmed up, I’ll let you know.

Closings, plus closings masquerading as “renovations”, after the jump… Read more »

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Swan”

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. Today it’s Swan, a Market Planning Manager (I have no idea what that means), and proprietor of “Lifestyle of a Yuppie“.  She spends her lunchtime pushing over old ladies for free samples at the Delta 360 Lounge,  but dreams of one day lunch’ing in Japan…

Name: Swan


Market Planning Manager (and blogger)

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
Midtown West

Favorite Kind of Food:
Free food! Just kidding. =) Italian and Japanese dishes, even better when there’s a mix of the two… a la Basta Pasta.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Fast food chains. Americanized Chinese food. Anything that I can make.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: Salads and fatty tuna over rice from Chiyoda(41st btw. Mad+5th), Pizza Bianca from Sullivan Street Bakery (47th btw. 10+11th or at Dean & Deluca), Sapporo’sShio Ramen (49th btw. 6+7th), Tacos from Pampano Taqueria (3rd btw. 49+50th), Dim Sum and/or Wonton Noodles from Fuji Bakery (the food is mediocre but it’s cheap, authentic Chinese food without going downtown) on 35th btw. 7+8th. My new favorites are the spicy chicken and chorizo empanadas from Empanada Mama (on 9th Ave. btw. 51+52nd).

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: Whole Foods (Columbus Circle), Norimaki (35th btw. 7+8th), Osaka (8th Ave. btw. 36+37th), the salad bar in Penn Station. There’s not much going on in the industrial wasteland that is Midtown West.

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: The Tamale Lady in front of the Mexican Embassy. Thanks a million!!!! I force co-workers and friends to walk 5 blocks cross town with me, in the freezing cold no less, for my weekly tamale craving.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Tokyo. It’s a metropolis that obviously has Japanese food. I noticed Italian food was quite popular there when I visited a few years ago. Not that it matters much but Michelin named Tokyo as the World’s Culinary Capital. Given the high cost of living there, the bulk of my salary would probably be allocated towards lunch money.

I’m sorry.  Did I hear you right?  Under “Foods I Don’t Like” did you dare to put Chinese food?  Sure, you clarified that it’s “Americanized Chinese Food” that you don’t like- but in my mind no kind of Chinese food should ever be discriminated against.  Sure, I prefer “authentic” Chinese food (I probably ate Dim Sum every weekend for all of 2000-2001 when I lived in Boston), but there should be a special place in everyone’s heart for General Tso’s Chicken, Beef & Broccoli and fortune cookies (not to mention Panda Express).

The greatest book ever written on the subject, after the jump… Read more »

At Lunch Now: Sakae Sushi is Open! (sort of) **Updated**

The conveyor belts have been fired up and are officially turning at
Sakae Sushi on 43rd St btw. Lex+3rd. There’s plenty of sushi making the
journey around the restaurant, but no hot food yet, because the gas is
not on. But the computers are working, so there is still plenty of fun
to be had…

***WEDNESDAY 1/29 Update:   The PR person for Sakae Sushi wanted me to pass along the info that as of last night, the full menu is now available***

Related Post: Sakae Sushi’s Conveyor Belt, Computers & The Full Menu

AQ Cafe is Best Deal for Chef Obsessed Midtowners

There once was a time when it was very difficult for chefs to make big money.  And while being a professional chef is still a tough racket, the opportunities for cashing out are much wider.  Following the leads of Todd English and Bobby Flay, more names are lining up to open up gigantor restaurants in Vegas, which with a built in clientele basically just serve to print money.  On the other end of the spectrum some chefs are going downscale, opening up chains of faster, cheaper food- perfect for lunch.

The most famous in Midtown is ‘wichcraft, Tom Colicchio’s upscale sandwich shop which opened its first location in Bryant Park a few years ago- and now has 4 stores in Midtown (with a 5th coming soon to Herald Square).  David Burke also has Burke in a Box in Bloomingdales, which is best described as “cheaper”, but not exactly cheap.  And of course there is Matt Kenney’s FreeFoods NYC.  (The latter pair, both too pricey to be considered Midtown Lunch’es.)  But by far, the best deal in Midtown for chef obsessed eaters is AQ Cafe, a downscale cafe in the Scandinavian House from Aquavit’s Marcus Samuelsson.  And the best part is, it falls in the Midtown Lunch price range.

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

Midtown Links (Paper Comes Down at Sakae Edition)