Archive for April 2008

Midtown Links (Midweek GTA4 Edition)

Carl’s Cheesesteak is a Greasy Mess (And I Mean That in the Best Possible Way)

The other day, I was standing in the tiny sandwich shop that is Carl’s Steaks, when I happened to look up at their wall of accolades and spotted the words “grease bomb” in one of the posted articles. With oil gushing out of every bite of the cheesesteak (with whiz) that I was devouring at the time, it was hard to disagree. But unlike health conscious (or squemish) doves, who may find negativity in any kind of “bomb”, when it comes to food, I’m more of a hawk. To me you add the word bomb to any kind of food, and it’s going to be good. Add it to the word “grease” and you’ve got a nuclear weapon of deliciousness.

There has been much talk of “Philly” Cheesesteaks on this site, and Carl’s on 3rd Ave. btw. 34+35th always comes up when the topic is raised. Feisty Foodie mentioned it in March of 2007, when I posted about the steak and cheese at City 75 (51st btw. 5+6th) and two commenters brought it up when I wrote about Magdy’s Philly Cheese Steak Cart 8 months later (Park & 46th). Even one commenter listed it as his 2nd favorite meat in Midtown, on the Shameless Carnivore’s profile. This is no hidden jem (apparently it was named “2007′s Best Sandwich in NYC by AOL City Guide, and is also available at Yankee Stadium), and yet I still hadn’t made the journey to this cheesesteak mecca (probably due to the fact that it was about as far away from my office on 48th & 6th that you could possibly get, and still be in Midtown Lunch’ing boundaries.) That finally changed this past week.

“Grease bomb” porn, in all its glory, after the jump… Read more »

31 CENT ICE CREAM IS AS GOOD AS FREE, RIGHT?: Fresh off B&J's free cone day, Baskin Robbins answers with 31cent cones tonight from 5-10pm (Bastards!  It's not even during lunchtime... What's that?  It's to benefit America's Firefighters?  Oh.  Forget that part about bastards.)  The Ironic Mullet has a list of all the Midtown locations for your post work, pre dinner cone...

Rong Bao Shuttered, DOH Helps Milant

Walked by a couple of shuttered establishments yesterday…

Super cheap Chinese steam table, Rong Bao Fast Food, on 38th btw. 7+8th, was mysteriously closed yesterday.  Not sure if this is permanent, but if it is, it’s no big surprise.  Given the choice between Rong Bao, and the newly renovated Ying Du directly across the street (formerly the 38th St. Restaurant and Bakery), I’d always go to Y.D.

How the DOH is pushing more business to the best sandwich shop in Midtown, after the jump… Read more »

NEW CART ALERT: From the Midtown Lunch Inbox... "There is a new mysterious foodcart right beside the roti cart on 46th and 6th Ave. The menu that looks like it was drawn while blindfolded, and there were a pile of people standing in front of the cart, so i couldn't make out all of the items being offered, but OXTAIL certainly caught my eye. I'd gather that the food is southern comfort/carribean." Anybody been yet? Hopefully it won't disappear like so many other new carts do after being discoverd!

At Lunch Now: Free Cone Wait Time

As reported yesterday, today is free cone day at Ben & Jerry’s. At the
8th Ave location, the wait time at 12:15 was 10 mins. Have you gotten
your free cone yet? Post the time of day, and how long you had to wait

PROFILED: Midtown Lunch’er “Clayton”

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown.  Todays Lunch’er is Clayton, a Public Relations Specialist who was nominated by his co-worker Kelly:

Clayton is a serious lover of food, has a great sense of humor, and often entertains the office on culinary topics. I think he’d make a great profile for you. He’s half Texan, half New Yorker, so as you can imagine, he’s got a style all his own. -Kelly

Judging by the photo, I’d say you are definitely right Kelly. And judging by the profile, I’d say this guy knows his way around a few pubs…

Name: Clayton


Public Relations Specialist

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
49th & Madison Ave.

Favorite Kind of Food:
Dry Rub/Texas BBQ or Tex-Mex

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
Korean Kimchee Stew… that was a hell of a 4 a.m. mistake

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: Steak Burrito Alambre at Pampano Taqueria (3rd Ave. btw. 49+50th). Cheeseburger or a Grilled Cheese from Burger Heaven (been eating there since I was 3). The Chef’s Salad at Eamonn’s (45th btw. Mad+5th). Sashimi Platter from Sushiden (Two Locations in Midtown). And, St. Andrew’s for a few fingers of scotch with a plate of Haggis (44th btw. 6+7th).

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: Pret A Manger, it’s literally in our building (sigh)

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch (if any)? Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? If not Manhattan (the restaurant capital of the world), I’d have to say Rome, Italy. I can’t even begin to think of the number of cafés and simply fun places to eat. Loads of palazzos make for plenty of space to dine outside if you want. I’d never get tired of exploring the mix of modern and traditional Venetian, Bolognese, Florentine, and Milanese cuisine pouring into the city. And let’s not forget that all of those lovely Roman women have to eat lunch too.

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers?: Where’s the best Guacamole in Midtown?  Sure Dos Caminos is good… but there’s got to be a better hole-in-the-wall joint I where I can get my fix

With Cinco de Mayo less than a week away, you gotta get the guacamole question in, right?  This is a tough one.  It seems crazy, but I don’t usually order guac at any of those high end Mexican places, where they make the guac in front of you.  Something about spending $12 for chips and guacamole just bugs me. (Of course once the margaritas start flowing, I end up splurging, but who remembers what anything tastes like after that.)  If I’m going to splurge for Mexican food, I’d leave the Dos Caminos of the world behind, and go to some place really special, like Toloache (50th btw. Bway+8th) or Hell’s Kitchen (9th Ave. btw. 46+47th).  Toloache has got a crazy guac list, but I haven’t tried any of them. As for cheap places, I’ll turn this one over to the Midtown Lunch’ers.  Got a recommendation for Clayton?  Feel free to post it in the comments.

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

2nd Waffle Truck Gears Up Right on the Heels of “Wafflegate”

If you love food sold from trucks (and quite frankly, why wouldn’t you?), then you probably have heard of, or seen, the Wafels & Dinges Truck.  Dispensing 2 kind of waffles (brussels & liege), and all sort of toppings (dinges), the bright yellow truck has taken the city by storm, parking in the Flatiron District in the morning (Park btw. 26+27th), and by NYU in the afternoons.  Sadly there has been no waffel action for Midtown, and we have had to look on in jealousy.  But that’s all about to change…  

Midtown Lunch has learned that Augustin’s Waffles, a New Jersey company that specializes in liege waffles from Belgium, will be starting up their own Waffle Truck in the next 4 to 5 weeks.  You may recognize that name from last week’s “Wafflegate”, the scandal that hit the blogs when Eater discovered that pre made Augustin’s Waffles were being passed off as homemade, by Waffles & Dinges, at the Fort Greene Flea Market.

As they make the transition from supplier to competitor, Augustin’s Waffles are actually already available in Midtown… Read more »

Free Food Alert: Tuesday is Free Cone Day!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is another Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day! Lines are long, but they usually move fast, and free ice cream is always worth it. There are 3 participating locations in Midtown to get your free scoop:


  • Rockefeller Center Concourse, Enter at 6th btw. 49+50th (and go downstairs)
  • 8th Ave. btw. 42+43rd
  • Macy’s, 34th btw. B’way+7th (4th Floor)

Like Everything Good, Nanking Gets “Ruined” By Midtown

Alright, I will admit, right off the bat that I don’t actually know if Nanking was any good to begin with. I have never been to any of the other locations of this Chinese/Thai/Mughlai hybrid, but one of my co-workers swears by the Jackson Heights one, and convinced me that based on their Chili Chicken alone, the new Midtown outpost of the restaurant, on Broadway btw. 50+51st, was at least worth checking out. Skeptical of any Asian restaurant that combines multiple countries under one roof (has anybody really ever done this successfully???), I can’t say I was gung ho about trying Nanking. In fact I could have easily argued that it clearly wasn’t a Midtown Lunch.

  1. It’s a sit down restaurant, and I think a true Midtown Lunch shouldn’t have to be ordered from a waiter. I have, and will be known to make exceptions for some sit down restaurants, but usually when I do, the place either has to be an exceptional value (i.e. all you can eat buffets), or they have to be serving something that you can’t really get anywhere else in Midtown (for under $10 of course).
  2. It isn’t that cheap.  At the Jackson Heights Nanking everything on the menu is under $10. Not surprisingly the new location has “Midtown’ified” their menu, with chicken entrees being around $14, and the duck, lamb and seafood entrees eclipsing the $20 mark.  They do offer a $10 lunch special, but it’s not quick, and to top it off there are plenty of other better Chinese & Thai food restaurants in Midtown (take out and sit down) that are cheaper.
  3. Did I mention the part about how they serve Chinese and Thai food. *Sigh* (They dropped the Mughlai Indian food that they serve at the Jackson Heights location.)

So maybe it’s not a true Midtown Lunch, but that doesn’t mean there is no reason to eat there… Read more »