Archive for January 2009

Midtown Links (The “Dan Dan Noodles” Edition)

Midtown Happy Hour: Get Your Haggis On at St. Andrews

If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so I thought maybe it was time to introduce a happy hour column to the site. Every week, our Happy Hour Correspondent “Mamacita” will post about a different bar in Midtown that fits the Midtown Lunch mentality: unhealthy food, not lame (unless it’s lame in a cool way), and most importantly… cheap- although in this case, the “chaep” part seems to be ignored. Thankfully she ate some haggis to make up for that.

Midtown Happy Hour: St. Andrews

In a late celebration of Robert Burns Day (the birthday of the national poet of Scotland) we headed out this week to the only Scottish bar in NYC, St Andrews, to commemorate the holiday with some haggis. Now St. Andrews is a rather upscale bar and restaurant, especially if you consider the places I’ve reviewed before. There is casual seating in the front, a long bar stretching along the right wall and a formal dinning in the back room. In keeping with its namesake, golf paraphernalia is festooned upon the walls.

The Scotch list is long and covers a wide range of single malts categorized by region from Islay, Lowland, Speyside, and Campbeltown and all points in between. Also present are many Scottish draught beers and even some from Ireland and England (hey, we can all get along right?). If that was not enough they also have approximately 100 different bottled beers including a few American, German and Belgian. St. Andrews is also home of the kilted bartenders. In due respect to Zach, I did not check if said kilts were worn regimental. I’m sure he is delighted not to have that pic in his inbox!

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At Lunch Now: Schnipper’s Runs Out of Sloppy Joe’s

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen (on 41st and 8th Ave. in the NYT Building) is officially open, and it’s already pretty crowded. Early reports are mixed, and they seem pretty disorganized- but what do you expect on day one? Its only fair to give them a few weeks to work out the kinks.

Most importantly I spotted two ladies partaking in the sloppy joe/mac and cheese combo- and despite looking like brown slop topped with yellow slop in a paper container (no bread), they both said it was
really good! Also looked small for $7 but to be honest I’m not sure how much of this stuff the body could take anyway. Unfortunately by the time I got in line to order (around 1:30pm), they were sold out of Sloppy Joe!  Terrible.  I ended up going to Go Go Curry for their new fish special.

Anybody else sample the Schnipper’s today? Feel free to comment below.

Brits Love Brick Lane Curry; Indians Not So Much

Seeing as how half my wife’s family is from Birmingham (England) I have come to learn about the phenomenom that is balti.  I always thought it just tasted like a dumbed down version of Indian food invented for the white man’s palate (think: chicken tikka masala), but apparently it’s a Pakistani food that was brought to England and adapted for the white man’s palate. Who knew? I still haven’t been to Brick Lane Curry House (on 53rd btw. 2+3rd), but according to one commenter, if balti is what you are looking for, this place is the way to go.  (I guess this should have been obvious to me, with a name like “Brick Lane” but it wasn’t.  So shaddup!)

“For what it’s worth, what I like about Brick Lane has nothing to do with how spicy they make their vindaloo (and IMHO they are the only ones that make it the appropriate hotness in town)… They make it british style! In other words, you can plop down and get a delicious Chicken Balti! Who else in town makes a balti?? And before that have some onion baji. Do they sell pilau rice? I dunno. But if you’ve spend any time eating curry in England these guys are the real deal in my worthless opinion. Now I’ll have a guinness.”

Wondering how it stacks up when you put it in front of mixed crowd?  This office did the ultimate test, and Lunch’er Joe R filed this report:

“Never eaten from here before.  Just had a bad weekend and there were a number of us who needed to be in the office.  We ordered $350+ worth of takeout from here….about 12 people.  We put it all out so that anyone could take what they wanted. Among the diners, one person who sampled the food was from India.  The other person was a consultant from England.  Both went through the menu and had told us what to order.”

The verdict from both is after the jump.

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Dessert Truck is Back… But No Longer Staying in One Place


It appears as if the Dessert Truck has returned from their “winter break” but with one major change… they will no longer be in the same space every day. According to their website they “have new locations and hours” which will get posted to the site when they park wherever it is they are going to be. According to their website they still plan on being out Monday through Friday from Noon to 3pm, and on Wednesday it looks like they were in Midtown from Noon to 3pm at Lexington & 55th, but there is no mention of where they were yesterday and according to Blondie and Brownie returned to the same spot on Thursday.

I have to say this is kind of a bummer… one of the things I loved about the Dessert Truck is you always knew where to find them (unlike Rickshaw and the Wafels & Dinges Truck). And considering how much time they spent building up their spot on 52nd and Park, it’s kind of surprising they would give that up. That being said, it doesn’t change how kickass their desserts are… and if I have to go to different spots to score them, I’ll do what has to be done. Hopefully they’ll fire up their dormant twitter account to make it a little easier for us…

Homefront Deli is Closed Again: "Any news about when Homefront Deli (on 41st btw. Mad+Park) will reopen? I passed by on Tuesday and they had a sign that they were closed for emergency repairs. What's up with that?" Call to the place confirms... they don't have any gas, but will reopen on Monday. I guess they never ended up selling the place. (Somebody should tell them about the Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge when they reopen!)

Free Food Fail: Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen is Open?

Sent to the ML Inbox at 2pm: “Schnippers in the NY times building is giving away all items for free.  Place is mobbed.”  Call to the restaurant and confirmed… ”It wasn’t a promotion, we were testing the kitchen out” by giving away free food to anyone who walked in.  It lasted until 2pm. That’s interesting… the owner didn’t mention anything to me two days ago when he sent over the menu.  Why would they want to deny Midtown Lunch readers the opportunity to “test out the kitchen”.  Don’t they know how angry we get when we are denied free food?!?  Anybody luck into this one today?  How was it?

Also confirmed over the phone: Schnipper’s will officially be open to the public tomorrow (Friday) at 11 a.m.

Ask Midtown Lunch: What Burger Should I Eat Today?

Cheeseburger & Fries @ the Blarney Stone, Midtown NYC
The Blarney Stone’s Burger & Fries

This email was sent to the old ML Inbox before the bad news about Five Guys, but it’s still a good question (especially if you’re craving a burger today, and were thinking about hitting up Five Guys).

“I haven’t had a burger since the summer (eating healthier; not salads or crap like that, just chicken instead of beef). I got a ridiculous craving yesterday, but it was miserable outside. I’m trying to decide which great burger I am going to unleash myself on. I’ve narrowed it down to Blarney Stone, City Burger (the black label is so intriguing) and Five Guys. I know you list Five Guys as your Midtown pick, but I just want to be sure that it’s a better option considering I’m both a steak (Black Label burger) and onion ring fanatic. I’ve been to AHT, but they give too many options. Any advice? Sincerely, dougiec”

This is a tough one Doug. My favorite is Five Guys, but I admit it’s a specific kind of burger for a specific kind of burger craving. None of this is new territory… but let’s weigh your options after the jump. After all, you can never have too much burger talk.

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Five Guys Midtown Will Be Closed 4 to 6 Weeks

More terrible news coming out of last week’s fire in the building above Menchanko Tei and Five Guys on 55th btw. 5+6th. Everything in Five Guys has water damage (computers, etc.) and they expect to be closed at least a month, but probably more like 6 weeks. Apparently the fire was directly above Five Guys and they were the hardest hit. (Menchanko Tei said last Thursday that they hoped to only be closed for a week.)

The West Village Five Guys Burgers & Fries says that they will happily deliver up to Midtown, but it would have to be a big order (at least 20 burgers) and you would have to offset the cost of a cab as well. Friday burger office party anybody?

New Topping Alert: Fish Fillet at Go Go Curry


Hello!  So, it looks like this is a month old- but it’s new to me!  Now the only question is, am I going for lunch at Go Go Curry (on 38th btw. 7+8th) today or tomorrow…  has anybody tried it yet?

Go Go Curry Hits a Japanese Kare Grand Slam