Archive for January 2008

A Food Event Midtown Lunch’ers Can Totally Get Behind…

Finally, we cheap-eats hounds have a tasting event we can call our own!  Counter Culture columnist, hidden food gem guru and Midtown Lunch hero Robert Sietsema from the Village Voice, has hand picked a ton of eclectic restaurants from all 5 boroughs, for a new tasting event called Choice Eats.  Sponsored by the Village Voice, it all goes down on March 11th at the Puck Building downtown, and costs an unbelievably cheap $25 in advance for the opportunity to sample food from over 30 different ethnic restaurants.

Margon(Midtown Lunch Readers’ Poll Choice for Best Latin Food) will be in attendance, as will honorary Midtown Lunch, Tiffin Wallah (if only it was a few blocks farther North).  Plus, I’m pretty sure Albert’s Mofongo House, located in Inwood, is connected in some way to the International Food House Buffet on 35th btw. 7+8th.

A complete list of participating restaurants, after the jump… Read more »

Strike Rotisserie Chicken Gold at Tio Pio West

In the pantheon of great foods, rotisserie chicken has got to be towards the top, somewhere just below fried chicken and above every other kind of chicken imaginable. You may say the secret ingredient is the chicken fat waterfall, created by rotating chickens stacked one on top of another. Now that’s some Chinese water torture I can get into.

Golden brown skin is the key to what makes rotisserie chicken so great, but once you add super cheap prices, Latin style side dishes, and Peruvian aji (green sauce), you’ve got a real winner. Sound good? Well then head to Tio Pio West (the original is in Brooklyn) on 36th btw. 5+6th, where $7.50 will buy you half a chicken, rice, beans, and plantains. Oh, and not to mention a fairly big cup of aji.

What I got and a +/1 after the jump… Read more »

Free Food Alert: Upscale Asian & Italian Food at the Delta Lounge

Apparently the Delta Sky 360 lounge, which opened on 57th & 6th Ave. in October to “showcase Delta’s award winning in flight experience”, is still open (who knew!)… and in honor of Restaurant Week (which is going on this week, and next) they will be giving away free food samples today and tomorrow, from Noon to 2pm, courtesy of some pretty well known restaurants.

Today will feature samples of (Mario Batali’s Sous Chef on Iron Chef) Anne Burrell’s Ricotta Sformato with Artichoke Caponata, Crostino with Chicken Liver Pate and Balsamic Onions, and Truffled Deviled Eggs from Centro Vinoteca, plus Basa Rolls and Claypot Chicken from Mai House, an upscale Vietnamese restaurant in Tribeca.

Tomorrow, they will be giving out an assortment of sushi from Asian fusion palace Ruby Foo’s (a Midtown expense account staple), plus Fattoush Salad and Balsamic Glazed Short Ribs from Amalia.

I’m not one to shill for the man, but when free food is involved, all bets are off. There are also places to sit, which is great this time of year for anyone who wants to grab some street food- but not go back to eat their desk…

UPDATE: The chefs themselves are making the food as part of a live demonstration, so you may have to wait for food depending on when you show up… but there are free sodas.  Yea!

Midtown Links (The Farewell to Tuscan Square Edition)

BREAKING NEWS: Hallo Berlin To Add 3rd Manhattan Oupost

Big news hit the Midtown Lunch Inbox this morning, courtesy of Lunch’er Emily who forwarded along this photo, taken on 9th Ave. (btw. 50+51st), of the window of what I believe used to be Keni Pizza.  Apparently Hallo Berlin will be adding H.B. Express to their empire, which currently includes a beer garden on 10th Ave. (btw. 44+45th), and of course the famous cart on 54th & 5th (which won Best Cart in our Midtown Lunch readers poll earlier in the Month).

A call to the number on the sign yielded no extra information, just a voicemail message from (what could only be) Wolfgang or Rolf, urging you to leave a message or send a fax.  One can only assume that it will be similar to the take out counter they have at the front of the beer garden on 10th Ave.

Strangely enough, the Hallo Berlin Cart wasn’t in its regular spot on 53rd 54th & 5th today, just after Noon.  I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one…

Lunch’er Jasmine Reports: Baked Potato King


For anybody who has ever been to England, it isn’t that hard to imagine baked potatoes being sold from a cart.  Jacket potatoes, as they’re known there, are pretty commonplace in the UK- but who knew we had one right here in Midtown?   The “Baked Potato King” has been on the corner of 39th & Broadway forever, and it felt like quite the coincidence that I saw it for the first time the week after I got back from London.  I’m not a huge baked potato fan (sliced and fried is my preferred method of eating spuds), so I haven’t rushed over to try it- but luckily for those who are, Midtown Lunch’er Jasmine filed this report, complete with photos:

The Potato King sits on 39th St just west of Broadway, and the guy manning it is nice.  You could tell he had a lot of regulars, as he seemed to know everyone in front of and behind me in line.  All of the potatoes are $4.00 except for the two at the bottom of the menu which are listed at $3.99.  I’m not sue what that’s about.

The potatoes are kept in a stand up oven with several shelves, sans foil or anything to keep moisture in, which left them a tad dry.  You can pick regular or sweet potato and he’ll poke at them first to find the softest one.  He doesn’t use gloves to pick them up so caution if you’re an “eat the skin” type of person.  It gets thrown into a little styrofoam container, sliced down the center and smushed to make a pit in the middle.  The ”mixed vegetables” were the frozen green bean/corn/lima bean mix that is common at the supermarket.  The mushrooms are canned, and the broccoli is also frozen. 

The lowdown on the cheese (clearly the most important ingredient), plus the bad news about Jasmine’s potato… after the jump. 

Read more »

At Lunch Now: Sakae Sushi Still Closed

Not surprisingly the conveyor belts are still dormant at Sakae Sushi on
43rd btw Lex+3rd, which did not open as promised, for dinner on Friday.
They are holding private, invite only functions right now, and will
possibly be open to the public by the end of the week. As soon as I
know, you’ll know…

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… Read more »

Midtown Links (The Fried Pork Sandwich Edition)

Snapshots: Bento, Berlin & (of course) Chinese Food

Need some inspiration for lunch?  Check out the Midtown Lunch Flickr Photo Group.  Here are some of my favorites from the past few weeks…

Chicken Donburi Bento w/ Miso Soup & Octopus
Taken at Naruto Sushi (49th btw. Mad+5th) by Seraphim1970

Roast Pork & Roast Duck from Ying Du (fmr. the 38th St. Restaurant and Bakery) on 38th btw. 7+8th. Posted by FoodinMouth

Roast chicken from a deli, snausages and more chinese food, after the jump… Read more »