PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Justin”

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown.  Being that Broadway pretty much occupies much of the Western boundaries of Midtown, it’s surprising that it has taken this long to get someone who works at a theater.  Meet Justin, a theatre manager who claims to live right on the edge of excess… 

Name: Justin


Theatre Manager

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
Jujamcyn Theaters – 44th b/w 7th & 8th

Favorite Kind of Food:
Food at the margin of excess. The best local cooking plays with the limits of what is reasonably tasty and even edible: deep-fried, fat-laden, sugar-filled excess. Good pizza, good fried chicken, “Thai-style” spicy yums, good sugary baked goods are New York cuisine at its best.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Too much of a good thing. At the margins of excess, it is really easy to go too far and screw things up. Greasy pizza, flaccid, sketchy shawarma, Japanese curry that kicks around your system for a few days: these are few of my least favorite things. There’s only so much glaze a donut can take.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: (West side, represent! These places may be “out-of-range” by Midtown Lunch standards, but the first two offer delivery)
- Wondee Siam I (9th & 52nd) – Yum Kor Moo Yang (BBQ Pork Yum)
- Island Burger (9th & 51st)- Capo San Lucas Salad (with the chicken)
- 99 Cent Fresh Pizza aka “dollar pizza” (9th & 40th) – Slice of pizza

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: Green Symphony (43rd b/w 7th & 8th) – “Healthy” buffet-style joint with soups, sandwiches and a design-your-own-salad station. This place is definitely a step above the buffet places I got used to downtown, but it’s inconsistent and pricey. We go here 2x+ a week.

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: Five Guys NYC. I had no idea.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? I like John Burdett’s descriptions of the street food culture on Soi Cowboy in Bangkok.

I’ve never read any of John Burdett’s books (Bangkok 8, Bangkok Haunts), and I’m pretty sure Soi Cowboy is known more for its prostitution (and gross tourists) than its good eats- but I too am a fan of the street food of Thailand.  In fact hearing the word soi can only remind me of Kaow Soi, a Chiang Mai curry noodle soup, with no relation to the street in Bangkok (soi just means ‘side street’), one of the best things I had while visiting Thailand a year ago.  A photo after the jump…


I think this is the second time I’ve posted this photo… but oh well.  Some things are worth returning to.  I have found Kaow Soi in a few Thai restaurants in NYC, but not surprisingly, none have lived up to the version eaten at the Chiang Mai night market. 

9th Ave. is hands down the best place in Manhattan for Thai food (Pam Real Thai, Wondee Siam, Yum Yum Bangkok, and more)- but it’s a little outside of Midtown Lunch’ing range, and with Yum Thai (on 44th btw. 6+B’way) gone, there is no longer a strictly fast food/take out Thai food option in Midtown.  If anybody knows of a place (especially one with Kaow Soi), the comment lines are now open…

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


  • For good sugary baked goods, ‘Wichcraft’s brioche cinnamon roll is delicious, but only worth buying in the morning, when it’s still warm.

  • Nice (honest)Junkfood leanings.

    Hair by Edward Scissorhands?

  • Can I have his number? Justin, I’m an Aries, a vegetarian/yoga enthusiast (these things go hand in hand on this site, right?) and I enjoy long walks on the beach, pina coladas…. donuts…

  • As a general rule, be careful with vegetarians.

    As a new MidtownLunch rule, be careful that the vegetarian isn’t Angela.

  • Justin, try the duck salad at Wondee. It’s tasty!

  • Is there anyone that doesn’t like to walk on a beach? Saying you like it is like saying you’re a live human being, no?

    Looks like Midtownlunch’s first reader date may ensue. Don’t forget to invite Zach to the wedding!

  • See!!! a noshow on a stackburger and ive been dumped by sarah..

    ………..can i have angela’s #?……….we could double date with peter lusk and kathy.

  • I don’t really like walking on the beach – I’m from Wisconsin, I don’t know, it just doesn’t do it for me ;)

  • Rudy, I still love you, but I can’t bear to be stood up by a married man.

    DDR, this one’s for you baby:

    crap! so off topic! that song is kind of about food……

  • Rudy, I think peter lusk is already dating calling you out. maybe you can double douche down with them…

  • Thanks for the link, Sarah.

    CKC – I stand corrected!

  • wasn’t thinking pina coladas…..more a couple bottles of cristal maybe one grey goose and a suite
    @ the London hotel. :)

  • Also Charlston Heston went mad when he walked on the beach….in planet of the apes….

  • I second the recommendation for Wondee Siam’s duck salad! Actually, it’s pretty good at all the thai places over on 9th.

    For sugary baked goods, I’ve been hitting the Le Pain Quotidien on 40th b/t 5th and 6th. The madeleine cake is the cheapest and richest thing you can get there.

  • Treats Truck best sugary amazingness around !

  • I read one of those burdett novels and they most certainly didn’t make me hungry… That said, all time best breakfast of my life was an omelette stand by my friend’s apartment in Bankok. This 110 year old woman cooked them up with all kinds of weird veggies, crazy hot chilies and a side of noodles (yes for breakfast). I think it was 30 cents.

  • I may be mis-identifying the location of Burdett’s street food fantasia. Much of his story takes place in and around Soi Cowboy, and I defaulted to that. I agree the books are a little gruesome, but hey, the food.

  • Sripraphai has Khao Soi and it’s pretty good. Thai Market and Charm Thai, both on the upper west side, both have it too but i haven’t tried their versions.

  • I have had Khao Soi at Thai Market and Sripraphai. I have also had it in Bangkok and nothing beats the one in Chiang Mai. Check out this NY blog on Khao Soi:

  • sfslinky, thanks for posting my Khao Soi site.

    Yes, definitely Sripraphai and Thai Market have good versions, but those are both far from Midtown. Pam Real on 49th st and 9th ave, which you mentioned, is great all around Thai and has excellent Khao Soi and Chili Thai on 712 9th Ave and 48th is great on both counts with some relation to Sripraphai supposedly. Both do bustling take out business and also have seating.

    Regional Thai down on 208 7th Ave and 22nd st is bit out of the way, but that’s OK, cause it ain’t so great, at least in the Khao Soi deptartment anyway.

    Those are the closest ones to Midtown that I can think of. Hope that satisfies your cravings. Mmmm, makes me hungry just thinking about the food in Bangkok! Did you see this recent NY Times article on street food there?

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