Madeline Cafe’s New Korean BBQ Steak Sandwich
I was planning on eating at the newly opened Lan Sheng yesterday (on 39th btw. B’way+6th), but found myself drawn instead into Madeline’s- the very good catering company/lunch spot on the same block that I wrote about last April. I won’t lie, a specials sign touting a steak sandwich probably wouldn’t have registered a reaction; but a “Korean BBQ Steak Sandwich” and I’m in. (What can I say, it’s not just Asian soups I’m addicted to. It’s Asian everything.)
At $6.50, the sandwich is just like everything else at Madeline’s- slightly cheaper than you would expect. In Midtown, where overcharging is considered part of the accepted economic landscape, it’s refreshing to find a place that makes you feel like you’re getting a good deal without sacrificing quality. It’s why I love Madeline’s so much, over other similar places, serving the same kind of food.
It’s always going to be a crap shoot ordering ethnic food at a generic deli/catering company specializing in American fare, but I was pleasantly surprised. The beef was nice tender slices of bulgogi, sauteed with mushrooms, peppers and onions, and served on a nicely toasted ciabatta roll. Think of it as a hot steak sandwich, with a slightly sweet Korean bbq flavor, and you won’t be disappointed. Ask for it spicy, and the guy cooking the bulgogi on the mini electric griddle behind the counter will give the meat a nice squirt of sriracha. It makes for a pleasant burn that builds as you make your way through the sandwich. You can add cheese (I think mozzarella) for 50 cents, but the Italian style mushrooms, onions and peppers were as a far as I wanted to stray from traditional bulgogi.
With Koreatown only 7 blocks away, a bulgogi sandwich from a catering company could have easily ended up being a tough sell- and I’ve been burned by bulgogi sandwich in the past. But Madeline’s nails it with this one, and I would definitely go back for another (and another.)