PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Steve”

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 Steve a guy who wishes that Midtown were a little more like New Orleans.  (Don’t we all…)

Name: Steve

Age: 22

Occupation: Paralegal on my way to law school in the fall. (I hope)

Where in Midtown do you Work?: MetLife Building — 44th and Park

Favorite Kind of Food: Cajun/Creole (The only type of food where every bite of a single dish tastes different than the bite before it and progressively becomes more delicious), Indian, Shawarma, Mexican (my favorite comes out of trucks along the Southern border of the US), Sushi, Butternut Squash (so delicious), bread pudding, tongue

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Grilled eggplant (eggplant is the only food I prefer fried over grilled), Whitefish salad, pineapple, licorice, pickles that aren’t as sour as it gets

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: Taam Tov (on 47th btw. 5+6th): lamb kabob and chicken kabob over rice with an appetizer that I’m utterly unable to pronounce. It is kind of like a meat pie. Authentic Bukharian food served by a friendly and helpful staff. Newsstand Indian (aka Khodiar Lunch Services on 6th Ave. btw. 38+39th): I choose a different chaat every time and never ask any questions about contents. 60th St. Taco Cart (aka El Rey del Sabor on 3rd Ave. & 60th St.): This cart saved my life. When I first came to Midtown I thought Qdoba and Chipotle were the only places that would service my burrito cravings. I’d probably have relocated long ago if my triumphant awakening in the form of a ML post never came to be. It is of the utmost importance to have a reliable burrito establishment that is actually good. Kim’s Aunt Kitchen Cart (on 46th & 6th): the Flounder Platter is unbelievable! I was so skeptical at first, but after trying it a few weeks ago I can truly say that this is about as good a meal as you can get for $6. Even though I’m not huge on fried foods, this really hit the spot. It doesn’t hurt that the lo mein is plentiful and addicting. Also, contrary to some reports I’ve read, no fishiness to speak of in taste or smell. I’m a recent convert, so maybe the quality has improved.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? Naples 45 (on 45th Park+Mad): It is 23 seconds from my elevator bank and truly outstanding. I find myself eating lunch from 1-2 and then stopping into Naples for a slice on the way back to my desk simply because, at $1.90 including tax, I can’t justify not taking advantage. Cucina & Co: Another MetLife building spot. I’ve only entered a few times for a bagel in the morning, but many coworkers seem to retrieve lunch from this place regularly. Not awful, but as unadventurous as it gets in terms of finding a meal.

Place(s) you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? $0.99 Fresh Pizza (43rd btw Lex and 3rd): I’ll never get tired of consuming lunch for under $3.00. Also, compared to most pizza in this area, not half bad. Naples 45 is my favorite, though, and it is right downstairs! Moshe’s Falafel (on 46th & 6th): While I eat here fairly frequently, I always leave with a guilty conscience because I know there is better. I’ve read the rave reviews and simply don’t get it. Some people even say, “This is how falafel is SUPPOSED to taste.” I’ve eaten falafel in Israel and can confirm that such a statement is absurd. The fact is that Moshe’s is good, cheap and filling. Nothing more, nothing less. I prefer the falafel from Kosher Deluxe (on the same block) for the taste — especially with the inclusion of the salad bar, but it is slightly more expensive. When I feel like lunching for $5, I go to Moshe’s. My vote for best falafel in the city, by the way, goes to Urban Pita on Houston St. Indian Fast Food Cart — I truly enjoy summer days watching a concert outside the neighboring building and eating from a styrofoam container filled with Indian food. A+ for concept, but don’t expect the greatest quality. It’s Indian food out of a truck and for an addict like me it is irresistible. Crisp (on 3rd Ave. btw. 43+44th)-  Yes, the Mexican is tasty. However, there is something about the custom made cardboard sandwich holders that turns me off. Good food shouldn’t require gimmicks and if it is truly outstanding I won’t mind dripping green jalepeno sauce on my newly dry-cleaned shirt.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? New Orleans, LA. Hands down. I was lucky enough to live in New Orleans for the four years preceding my move to NYC and am still experiencing withdrawal symptoms over the loss of Crabby Jack’s in my life. For $11 (slightly above Midtown Lunch price range) I would enjoy blackened gulf fish in a delicious hollandaise sauce with salad, mac n’ cheese (complete with jalapenos) and bread. The taste is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced at any restaurant in New York. It makes sense, since Crabby Jacks is a lunch stand run by the owner of the legendary Jacques-Imo’s. Also, an afternoon excursion to Cooter Brown’s for a pint of Abita Amber and the freshest oysters was always an option, as was posting up at the levee and throwing a crawfish boil with good friends. NOLA lunch unites amazing food and amazing times, which is why meals there are so enjoyable. Every moment in this city feels like the ending of Stairway to Heaven – epic. If anyone is heading to 2nd weekend of Jazzfest, you can find me with a hurricane in hand on line for some warm bread pudding. Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler!

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? Does anyone else wonder why in a city as diverse and populated as New York there are so many corporate food chains? Is anyone surprised that people actually patronize them? It honestly blows my mind and leaves me very confused. Seriously, who is eating Subway instead of wandering to 46th and 6th to see what’s cookin’???

Agreed. 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


  • My coworkers are those chain people! It constantly blows my mind! Plus they are all hip young ladies who live in Brooklyn, but given a choice where would the eat lunch? Subway, Burger King, Cosi if they’re feeling fancing. About the closest we can come to making each other happy is ordering from Guy and Gallard, and that’s just wrong. Also they have stopped asking me where to eat b/c I’m always like “oh I read about this awesome Peruvian Chicken place that is totally cheap!” and that is not a satisfactory answer.

  • @Sarah

    Do you got their number ?

  • This is Steve, the profiled Midtown Lunch’er. I was so busy today that this is my first time seeing this post! Anyway, thank you all for the kind comments and I’m glad that there finally seems to be some consensus around here. Great to check out comments and actually find some love!

  • BORING!!! Steve did not mention one place in Midtown not described on this site – way to rehash what is available on the website. And how can anyone be against half sour pickles? If they’re done right they still retain the smell and consistency of a fresh cucumber with hints of garlic and salty deliciousness.

  • I agree with 5:23. Half sours are the ONLY Pickle worth eating. The “fresh cucumber” crunch is as important to the pickle experience as are the subtle flavors the pickle picks up in the pickling process.

  • He has good taste!

  • I went to Tulane with Steve in the Big Easy and it was a great experience. Now I work with him here in Metlife (thanks steve for setting that up) and I have to say I look forward to lunch because of his expertise. We do have carts that we frequent, but pretty often he will mention a new place and he has a great track record with choosing the good places and settling any suspicions I might have had on the walk. As for the other metlifer making comments here, keep in mind that these places are not that far. It does not take a 15 block walk to find delicious foods at great prices. We usually eat in GCT food court with food we buy around midtown. We’re back to the building with plenty of time to eat slowly. And if two dudes fresh out of 4 straight years of living in New Orleans – with weather that never fell below 40 degrees at the worst of times, and with 8 solid months of summer – can make the chilly walk to ensure we get the feeling that our lunch was worth the price and the duration of our lunch hour, then so should you my friend! I really feel better about chowing down after a good Manhattan-speed power walk. Steve, kudos on the great profile. I wish I had planned better, I’d be at Jazzfest too.

  • oh yeah, and if you’re into gyros, kabobs, lamb and chicken platters etc, go to the cart on 45th and 6th, right outside the Pink store and near the National Debt Clock. I don’t know the name of it, but I like how everything is made to order and the kitchen side of the cart faces the customer (on the same side that you order from) so you can watch the cook work the magic. It is run by a nice man about 40ish and his wife. The food is delicious and the gyro is 4 dollars. For lamb. It really is a great deal. the platters are just a dollar more. Most surprisingly, I’ve never felt sick/too full/regretful after eating this cart’s food.

  • 10:22 = shill?

  • Steve, put your lime back in your tonic water and grab a straw. It’s gonna be a long night.

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