Archive for September 2008

First Look: The New AQ Kafe


The new AQ Kafe opened today on Broadway btw. 58th Street and Central Park, and as promised they were giving out free coffee to anybody willing to wait in the line and order it from the cashier.  I didn’t feel like waiting for coffee (free food, now that would have been a different story) but I did take a look at the menu. 

The menu was posted awhile back (without prices) and as expected everything is more expensive than it was at the original location.  Old favorites make a return, like the gravlax club (although it’s now $12) and the smorgasbord (which is now $13), but there are 3 sandwiches all for under $10 which sound pretty great to me- like the meatball on a potato roll with lingonberries.  And for those who were worried that the “Nordic Cuban” is gone, it’s not- they’re just calling it a “Ham & Cheese” sandwich now. 

Links to the menu, plus your first look inside, after the jump…  Read more »

Flickr is the Latest Frontier in Shilling

Clearly the shilling from the newly opened Empanada Joe’s (on 8th Ave. btw. 43+44th) knows no boundaries. I got the comment you see above on one of my flickr photos over the weekend. The shilling that happens in the comments of this site is well documented, and Eater makes a point of calling out all shillers on message boards, blogs, and listings websites… but this may be the first time I’ve seen it done in Flickr. Come on Joe. Give it a rest!

At Lunch Now: Rickshaw Dumpling Truck Take Two

The Rickshaw Dumpling Truck has set up shop on 57th & Park, and plans on being there until 3pm. There have already been some complaiints about the high prices (6 dumps for $6) but before you jump on that bandwagon,
understand how tough it is for these vendors. The Rickshaw Truck already got their first ticket ($100+) trying to park a little farther south this morning, and were threatened by a halal guy in their second spot. Let’s hope the third one is a charm.

In happier news, there will be a Treats Truck/Dumpling Truck double team tomorrow on 45th btw. 6+7th for those of you on the west side. Full dumpling report coming soon.

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Phil”

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 Phil, a musician who loves soup.

Name: Phil



Where in Midtown do you Work?:
48th & Broadway

Favorite Kind of Food:
Any good soup, grungy Chinese food, fancy sandwiches, Mediterranean/Israeli, diner food, anything really REALLY spicy, In-N-Out Burger (alas), breakfast, mac and cheese, pad thai…

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
Anything even remotely related to coconut, anything that has been in the same store/warehouse as a coconut, most Vietnamese food.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
The Outpost in the Viacom building on 44th and Broadway (all their soups are amazing), Chipotle burritos very occasionally (trying to avoid that pre-30 heart attack), that natural market on 54th and 8th (Powerbars and lentil soup), the teriyaki bar just above the M&M store on 48th and 7th (the soba is not terrible).

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? Belly Delly. Damn. Also, Hale & Hearty (wayyy too expensive, but the soups are not too bad).

Place(s) you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? Actually The Outpost. So cheap it makes me dizzy.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? 79th and Amsterdam, so I could eat at Shining Star Diner every day, interspersed (on paydays) with the mac and cheese from Fred’s. Wow. Alternatively, in Silverlake in LA, because of the Brite Spot.

Read more »

Sinigual Contemporary Mexican Is Now Open

Sinigual, the “Contemporary Mexican” restaurant on 41st and 3rd has officially opened. Not really a Midtown Lunch though… the menu is too expensive [pdf], and the place is owned by Chevy’s. I think I’ll stick with the taco cart on 60th and 3rd.

Gold Medalist Usain Bolt Visits the Jamaican Dutchy Cart!

Usain Bolt Visits the DutchyMiracles can happen people!  That which I said should come to pass, has come to pass.  I’m not claiming to be God, I’m just saying maybe God reads Midtown Lunch. Last Thursday, during his whirlwind tour of New York City, Jamaican Olympic gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt visited the Jamaican Dutchy Cart on 51st and 7th Ave.  He hung out for about 15 minutes, taking pictures and chatting with Dutchy employees and customers. It’s not entirely clear if my post last week had anything to do with the visit, but I don’t care either way- I’m just glad he went! Seeing the photo of such a famous athlete hanging out in front of one of our favorite Midtown Lunches just makes me smile. Of course my smile is nothing compared to the smile O’Neil, the owner of the Dutchy, has had on his face since Thursday. It’s hard to for us to understand how exciting this was for him… it would be like me getting to meet the fattest guy in the world.

If you want to see the signed photo yourself, I’m pretty sure it will be hanging permanently on the front of the cart.

Dessert Truck is Back

After a week of not being allowed to park in Midtown the Dessert Truck is back open for lunchtime business. Got this note from Chris the owner this morning: ”We’re back in business for our day spot (on Park Ave. & 52nd St.) We’ll be opening a bit later than usual but will be open til 5pm as usual.”  They’ve also added pumpkin custard to the menu. Definitely might have to check that out this week.

Biriyani Cart Multiplies To Keep Up With Demand


The Biriyani Cart was planning on unleashing a second cart on Midtown long before they were nominated for a Vendy Award, but after all the extra coverage they have decided to park the carts next to each other.  The second cart showed up for the first time this morning (you may recognize it as the “old” Biriyani cart) right next to the main cart on the SW corner of 46th Street and 6th Ave.  The cart on the left will be serving their standard chicken and lamb over rice plates, while the cart on the right plans on selling all the Indian food (kati rolls, biriyani, and chicken tikka masala.)  The owner Meru plans on keeping the carts side by side from now until the Vendy Awards to cope with the long lines… which will probably only get worse today after their coverage in the New York Daily News over the weekend.

32nd St. Wichcraft is Now Open

Danny from Food in Mouth sends along this info about the new ‘wichcraft location in Greeley Square: “32nd St. wichcraft is open now. They got employees in there and everything seems set up. They got a “cash only” sign up front.” Sure the sandwiches are small, and expensive- but if you order correctly, there is a way for to get out of wichcraft satisfied for under $10.

Related: Fat Man’s Gude to Eating At ‘wichcraft for Under $10

Free Coffee Alert: AQ Kafe Opening Tuesday, Shilling Has Started


Originally they thought it may open today, but it looks like tomorrow will be the big day for AQ Kafe, Marcus Samuelsson’s casual Scandinavian cafe (on Broadway and 58th St.) To celebrate the grand opening, they’ll be giving away free coffee all day long. So if there was any doubt as to whether or not they’d be going after FIKA Espresso Bar’s customers- this answers that. If you haven’t been following closely, the original version of AQ Cafe, located in the Scandinavian House on Park Ave., closed a few weeks ago, and was replaced by another Smorgaschef.

Surprisingly, even though the new location hasn’t opened yet, the shilling has already started…    Read more »