PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Dave Cook”

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 Dave Cook, the proprietor of Eating in Translation, who has amassed what is probably the largest collection of cheap eats food porn, from all 5 boroughs, in existence.  It also happens to be one of my favorite food blogs (naturally). 

Name: Dave Cook


Food writer/photojournalist (

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
I’m a recent emigrant from West 57th St., near Sixth Ave. But these days, when I’m not out and about (which is most of the time), I work from my apartment in Morningside Heights.

Favorite Kind of Food:
All those amazing hand-crafted choices in Singapore’s food courts, or maybe red-sauce Italian

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Corporate-seminar rubber chicken

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: Housemade ham lard (preferably spread on something crusty) from Koglin Royal Hams in the Grand Central Market. Ramen in “sesame paste hot soup” from Sapporo(on 49th btw. 6+7th). The Mercedes (aka bratwurst on a bun, with all the fixin’s) from the Hallo Berlin Juicy Food Stand (on 54th St. & 5th).  Kam ja tang (pork bone soup) with a tableful of panchan at Kunjip (32nd btw. 5+6th). Octopus salad, and maybe a tamarindo, from Margon (46th btw. 6+7th).  Lo mein with meat sauce “Peking style” from Bo’s Bar-B-Q and Noodle Shop (8th Ave. & 55th).

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often:  Mangia, the upscale, fully tricked-out salad bar and cafe with very charming takeout shopping bags, on West 57th.

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: The tamale lady in front of the Mexican embassy, on 39th near Park Ave.  (Do any other Midtown embassies draw that kind of crowd?)

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Newww…York is where I’d rather stay; since I work on my own schedule, that and an unlimited MetroCard puts me in reach of more fascinating food than I can possibly eat. For that matter, since I’m more of a grazer than a three-meals-a-day kind of guy, in a way I’m on permanent lunchtime.

Anything else you’d like to ask, or share with, the Midtown Lunch readers? Have you ever considered that Zlata Praha (28-48 31st St., in Astoria), which has a huge, $6.95 Tuesday-through-Friday lunch special, is just a 15-minute ride from Midtown on the N or W?

Funny you should mention that. On Friday I took the Subway down to 34th St. for some rotisserie chicken that I’ll be posting about soon- and while on the F train, pondered how easy and quick it would be to go one extra stop and hit up the Shake Shack.  Now that they’re accepting phone orders, I think it could easily be done in under an hour.  

My one go-to Subway lunch, after the jump…

I love food courts, and one of the few in Midtown is right at the 34th St. exit of the BDFV line.  Chicken Bar, Arby’s, Bourbon Chicken and the obligatory cheap chinese food, and cheap teriyaki grill. (Both with free samples of course). All we need is a Chick-Fil-A and a Baja Fresh and it would be the greatest place in all of New York City.

Anybody else rock the Subway lunches? It may have to become a regular feature of Midtown Lunch, and I’m open for suggestions. Post them as comments 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


  • A couple coworkers and i take the train down to chinatown every now and again. Usually takes more than an hour though, so we only do it on Fridays when things are slow (and the bosses aren’t around)

  • I’ve eaten at Zlata Praha for lunch, and I don’t think it’s worth the 15 minute back to my neighborhood for lunch. The dumplings, sure they’re good, but I think there’s much better finds in the city (or elsewhere in Astoria) for the same price.

  • My subway lunch is Waldy’s Pizza on 6th Ave b/t 27th and 28th. Call ahead and your pizza will be ready to go when you get there. I usually get a small pizza, house salad and a dough end. I realize it’s not really far enough to justify the subway, but it’s nearly impossible to get back and forth across Herald Sq on a lunch hour without totally ruining my day.

  • how cool! i just met dave this weekend :)
    glad to see astoria mentioned even though it falls out of the “midtown” region

  • One would have to order in group for the shack run because their website says, “$25 minimum for call-in orders, and a credit card number is required.”

    Grand St is 4 to 5 stops away on the B/D line depending on where you are in midtown. Right when you get out there’s a Vietnamese restaurant there. And if you walk to Eldridge, hang a left, then you’ll hit Dumpling House. For the midtown lunch $10 limit, you could get 40 dumplings….

  • Bo’s Bar-B-Q and Noodle Shop is no longer there. My stomach will continue to long for Peking style lo mein with meat sauce. Can anyone suggest good Chinese around 57th & 8th Ave? Something better than Mee Noodle Shop?

  • Teen Wolf- I discovered that last night when I walked by there looking for some Bo’s noodle action! Bummer… although I actually really like Mee Noodle.

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