More Strange Garment District Chinese Pops Up at Sushi Osaka
Whether or not you think the Garment District is an amazing area for lunch or not can probably be determined by a single factor: whether or not you love “strange” Chinese food. And by strange, of course I mean real Chinese food- made for actual Chinese people who work in high 30s on the West side of Midtown. At these places the General Tso’s, Beef and Broccoli, and egg rolls have been replaced by fried pork chops, various types of offal, salt and pepper shrimp with their heads still on, and at least 3 or 4 vegetable options (no American broccoli though.) My favorite of these places is Ying Du (on 37th btw. 7+8th), but there is also Fuji Bakery (on 35th btw. 7+8th), and the Lunch Box Buffet (on 34th btw. 7+8th) which is the least strange of the three and features the most excellent Fay Da Bakery.
On Friday, I noticed a sign in the window of Sushi Osaka (on 8th Ave. btw. 36+37th) touting a new “Lunch Special” featuring 3 Chinese items over rice for $5. Apparently another one of these “strange” Chinese spots has now opened in the back of this sushi restaurant.
Sushi Osaka has some Japanese lunch specials of their own, and there might be people in the front ordering those for take out. But if you want the Chinese food, just bypass that whole front section, and walk straight to the back of the restaurant where the steam table is set up.
There you’ll find a pretty familiar sight, if you’ve ever been to Ying Du or the now closed Rong Bao across the street on 38th btw. 7+8th. The steam table has somewhere around 25-30 options, and you get to pick 3 over rice for just $5.
They even had pig’s ears! (At least that’s what they looked like to me…) Although this being my first time, I kind of went the boring route:
The Americanized General Tso’s chicken looking stuff, some crispy fried meat of some sort, and a sauteed beef dish. No veggies (which normally is commendable, but a big mistake at a place like this- if you want to eat how the locals eat.) Also, I think by choosing three meats I got short changed. Looking around, I noticed everybody else’s plates were piled with more food. I’m guessing they give you more depending on what you choose. Whatever. For $5 it was a deal. They also give you free tea and hot soup dishwater. Not as good as Ying Du, but good enough, and far less crowded.
The lady behind the counter said they used to be somewhere around the corner, leading me to wonder if these were the people who used to own Rong Bao (across from Ying Du.) The communication barrier proved to be too much, but in the end- who cares where they came from. 3 items over rice for $5 hidden in the back of a sushi restaurant on 8th Ave. You’re either the kind of person who has to try this or not. I think you know which side I fall on.
Sushi Osaka, 535 8th Ave (btw. 36+37th), 212-629-9708