PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Sarah DiGregorio” & Choice Eats Tix Giveaway

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. We’re just one week away from Choice Eats 2009- the Village Voice’s annual food event featuring restaurants hand picked by VV food writers Robert Sietsema & Sarah DiGregorio. Last year we profiled Mr. Sietsema, and gave away tickets to the event (which was awesome, btw) and this year we’re super excited to welcome Sarah DiGregorio. Obviously their offices aren’t in Midtown, but Sarah discriminates against no neighborhood- and eats in Midtown all the time. In fact, she is the one who discovered the spicy off the menu Indian sandwich with doritos at that now shuttered Blimpie on 45th Street. Not surprisingly, Choice Eats is completely sold out this year- but we have got a pair of tickets to give away to one lucky Midtown Lunch’er. Details are at the end of the profile…

Name: Sarah

Age: 29

Occupation: Food Writer (and head blogger for Village Voice’s Fork in the Road)

Where do you Work?: Village Voice, Cooper Square

Favorite Kind of Food: Curry Laksa

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Bubble tea

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: I love Sukhadia’s Gokul (on 45th btw. 5+6th) for bhel puri and vada pav and I like Azuri Cafe‘s falafel pocket (on 50th & 10th). It’s a little more expensive, but there’s nothing like Tout Va Bien (on 51st & 8th) for old-school French dishes like calf’s liver Lyonnaise (sauteed with lots of caramelized onions) and country-style pate. I like to sit at the bar and people-watch–the restaurant has been open and owned by the same family since 1949, and it’s still a French sailor hangout.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? I always end up at Cafe Zaiya, because it’s right across the street from my office (there’s one in midtown, too). I get the onigiri stuffed with spicy cod roe, a bento box, or a bowl of Japanese shrimp curry. There’s always something interesting to try and then half-regret it, like a spicy tuna bread bowl-bun, or a fried noodle hero.

Place(s) you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? Khodiar Express/Taj Delhi Chat (on 6th Ave. btw. 37+38th)–but I haven’t been there since they added falafel! (Which apparently they don’t have anymore anyway.) And I think I first heard about Danku (on 57th & 6th) on MTL–and shared your disappointment that it’s not very good.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? I would move to Singapore and eat at the hawker centers everyday. I would gorge on Hainanese chicken and rice, curry laksa, nasi lamak, curry me, char kway teow, roti paratha and fish head curry, and I would be very, very happy.

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? Where is the best Indian buffet in midtown?

Good question… well I’ve always said that my favorite all you can eat Indian buffet in Midtown is Spice Fusion (on 8th Ave. btw. 47+48th), but just yesterday I tried Darbar Grill (on 55th btw. Lex+3rd) and it is definitely in contention (full report coming soon). Of course these two buffets are $11… we don’t pay any attention to all the $14+ Indian buffets in Midtown!

So, on to the contest! To enter to win the tickets, just post a comment below with either a) your favorite Indian buffet in Midtown, or b) your favorite dish from one of the participating Choice Eats restaurants. It’s that easy! The winner will be chosen randomly, and will get 1 pair of tickets to Choice Eats, happening Tuesday March 31st at the 69th Armory (on 26th & Lex) from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Tickets are all sold out, so if you didn’t buy any this is your only way in! (Don’t forget to put your email address in the email field so we have a way of contacting you. Don’t worry, it won’t be posted to the site.)

And as always if you want to be next weeks’ Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nomninate), email me at



  • Tough choices here, but the Lasagna Fatta in Casa from Max is easily my favorite (not saying “the best”, so no need argue) lasagna I’ve ever had.

  • I love the lamb-rib kebabs at Cheburachnaya. They’re more fat than meat, and fire-kissed lamb fat is where it’s at.

  • Spice Fusion is definitely the best Midtown Indian buffet I’ve been to.

  • Gotta love the Cuban Sandwich and Mamey or Morir Sonando from Margon!

  • Damn, that is cool that they included Barbao in their list – and I 100% agree that the “daikon duck hash—it’s outrageously good” it is. So officially, for my entry here the daikon duck hash from Barbao.

  • Another vote for Spice Fusion. It’s better than Utsav and the price is so right!

  • The Smoke Joint, brooklyn wings: sweet & spicy!!!

  • Pork Belly at Fette Sau

  • Very exited to see Tortilleria Nixtamal, from waaay out there Corona, rubbing elbows with Manhattan and Brooklyn manistays at CE.

  • Spice Fusion is the only way to go! Hits the spot every time.

  • Out of the boundary but the Veggie Indian Buffet in Curry Hill on 28th Tiffin Wallah is awesome and like $8

  • I’m voting for Nicky’s Vietnamese on 2nd Ave. Their classic is a perfect choice any day.

  • The Kadhai Paneer Masala @ Tiffin Wallah is the most ridiculously delicious vegetarian Indian dish I’ve had in NYC.

  • I don’t eat Indian food, so can’t comment on the buffets and have barely tried any of the restaurants on the list, but used to love the swordfish kababs at Agnanti when I lived in Astoria.

  • Egg salad on rye at Eisenbergs.

  • Spice fusion is legit

  • The reasons I should be chosen are 3-fold:
    1) I went last year and got shut out at the front of the line after waiting ~2 hours.
    2) I don’t get a lunch break
    3) The only place on the list I’ve been to is Radegast (and I ate there so long ago I don’t even remember what I had).
    Pity me. Give me tickets. I’ll eat my weight’s worth.

  • Café Glechik, the baked mushrooms in cream sauce with cheese on top and of course their pelmeni “moscow” with sour cream.

  • Mooncake foods, steak sandwich. mmm…

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