PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Rosie”

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 Rosie, an IT Director for a non-profit, looking for a place to relax in Herald Square.

Name: Rosie


Nonprofit IT Director

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
Herald Square

Favorite Kind of Food:
Japanese, French, Southern Food/Comfort Food. Sometimes it’s a combination of those (Japanese comfort food for example). I think I’m partial to Japanese in particular because of the great food discoveries I’ve enjoyed while exploring that cuisine. Doing so kind of opened the door to a lot of heightened flavors and textures that I don’t think I’d been aware of before and it translated right back into other cuisines once I started paying attention. As for the French and Southern/Comfort, I grew up with those at home and so they’re kind of second nature to love.

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
Uninspired food. I’m drawing a blank thinking of a particular cuisine I actively dislike. I do, however, harbor a strong bias against boring food. If I can tell that it’s been treated like an afterthought or the cook/chef could care less then I’ve really got a problem with that. By contrast, you usually can tell you’ve hit on something good when the people take pride in the food they’re offering.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
Chiyoda Sushi on 41st btw. 5th+Madison (been enjoying their negitoro-don lately) and Woo Ri Jip on 32nd btw. 5+6th (love the variety and I’m about to win something with my point card). On the rare occasion that I can make it that far I love dropping in to Oms/b as well. Artisanal is another favorite which is just a little too far away most days.

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often:
Mandoo Bar on 32nd between 5th and 6th is a mainstay. I often take new colleagues there. The menu is short and sweet, the prices are very reasonable and the atmosphere is rather comfortable as well. It’s a simple introduction to K-Town for those who don’t know a lot about Korean food but are interested to find out. And now there’s Pinkberry across the street for dessert afterwards if you’re feeling indulgent.

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: I only just discovered Midtown Lunch so I haven’t gotten a chance to test out any of the new places I’ve found yet but Sakae Sushi (on 43rd btw. Lex+3rd) is right up there on my list. I used to live in Japan and conveyor-belt sushi (aka kaiten-zushi) is near and dear to my heart. Sushi East on 3rd between 26th and 27th is just too far to be a viable lunchtime destination so I’m kind of excited about Sakae.  (I’m pretty excited too.  The word is, it’s opening this month but I’ll believe it when I see it.  -zach

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? San Francisco. I went there for work this summer and the Ferry Terminal Market was a lunchtime paradise. They don’t mess around there. Freshly shucked raw oysters, Vietnamese noodle dishes to go, roast duck sandwiches, crab po boys… it was terrific. I also got the sense that the purveyors themselves were real food people. They appreciated customers who they could tell were passionate about food too.

Anything you’d like to ask the midtown lunch readers???:  Anyone know of any hidden gem cafes in the 30s or low 40s, preferably within striking distance of Herald Square? The best one I’ve been able to find so far is Cafe Keko on Madison and 30th. Every once in a while I need to take a break in a quiet place, not necessarily for lunch, but pretty much every cafe near where I work is noisy, has uncomfortable seating or is called Starbucks.

Aside from Koreatown, which you seem pretty well versed in, I’m not much of a Herald Square expert.  I’ll turn this one over to the Midtown Lunch faithful.  Got a suggestion for Rosie?  Leave a comment below. 

And as always, if you want to be the next Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er, or you’d like to nominate somebody in your office, email me at


  • So are you saying Sakae Sushi has opened?

  • Artisinal? Do they have any hidden gems on the menu? Or just the normal high roller grub?

  • anyone know a place in k-town that serves san-nak-ji?

  • Is that like Do-gon-a-stik?

  • I can reccomend Han Bat on 35th and if you go up a bit further you have Big Bowl Noodles on 6th and 36th?

    Avoid Jimmy’s coffee shop as I have seen too many carpenter ants crawling around

  • Quiet cafe type of place: Occasionally I use the CUNY library on 5th and 35th and have gone to the Moonstruck Diner on Madison & 38th (there’s also one on 3rd at 31st). I’ll get something to eat (salad or an omelette), spread out my books – usually in a comfy booth, and have never been rushed out. The coffee is decent and the staff friendly but not intrusive. It’s not totally quiet, but the noise is a lot more manageable than Starbucks for me.

  • i’d rather have do-gon-a-stik than mcbagel-on-a-bagel

  • Nicely done on the profile, but Herald Square is not in Midtown.

  • Sakae Sushi is NOT open yet, although you’d think it was from their website – walked by @ Lunch Time & peeked in the window – From what I saw, it’ll be a month at least I would guess.

  • I’d rather have do-gon-a-stik than a fucking Zen Burger…

  • I also work around the area and I feel your pain… not much, i must say. I also like Chiyoda and its neighbors (Zaiya, and this other Jap market place I forgot the name of). All on the same street. Otherwise, Toyoma Sushi on 36 b/w 5th and 6th is a very solid Jap lunch place. Quieter too. AQ Cafe on 38/Park if you want something different – Scandanavian Cuisine; casual place. I also like Pho32, Vietnamese/Korean place on 32nd.

  • You know, American Burger on 32nd and 6th Ave. makes a great burger, IMO. They also have the best pickles — I always get a lot of extra pickles.

    The place is grotty, but the burgers are really excellent. Zach, if this counts as Midtown, you should review it…

  • Hi folks! Thanks for all the suggestions.

    Annette, I’ve been curious about that AQ Cafe — is it nice? Been meaning to go there. I try to stay away from Jimmy’s. They used to automatically put the tip in the bill for parties of even just 2 people (!).

    SMDNY, what’s the story with the CUNY library? Can anyone just drop in? That’s right by my office and sounds ideal. I’m also a fan of Moonstruck. Hadn’t thought of going there for a quiet writing session but that does strike me as a place where that would be possible now that you mention it. Thanks!

    Rafi, yeah, it’s high roller food all right so no cheap eats but their steak tartare rocks. Cheese isn’t bad either. Better to go when someone else is paying, of course :)

    Curious about this san-nak-ji… and whenever Sakae opens I’ll be sure to go up there. Been meaning to hit up the new Zaiya at Kinokuniya on 42nd by Bryant Park too.

  • Rosie – I’m a CUNY student, so I can use it. Sometimes they check IDs, sometimes they don’t. It is a great place to work if you can sneak in. Good luck!

  • As a former roommate, I can vouch for Rosie’s true foodie status :). Thanks for sharing the link! To the clever genius (sarcasm) who made that do-gon-a-stik crack, if you’re going to cling on to a tired old Asian food stereotype, you could at least attempt something more original and intelligent. Anyway, I look forward to reading more of this blog!

  • Ok.


  • Rosie: Yes, AQ Cafe is very nice. If you’re into it, my Swedish friend vouch for the herring appetizer which he claims to be just like home. If you’re not into it, their sandwiches are very good as well.

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