Archive for November 2009

Cer Te’s Off the Menu Leg of Lamb “Gyro” is the Perfect Pre-Thanksgiving Lunch

Tomorrow is quite possibly the biggest eating day of the year for most of us (well, biggest historically sanctioned eating day of the year).  And while some of you might starve yourselves, or “eat light” as it were, in the hours leading up to the big day I like to take a different approach.  It’s what I call “preparing for the onslaught”.  Your stomach can’t go from salad to gorgefest in a 24 hour period.  You’ve got to ease it in.  In past years I’ve recommended great Midtown turkey sandwiches, or hitting up an all you can eat buffet, but this year I’m going in a different direction.  Lamb.  And more specifically, an amazing off-the-menu lamb sandwich from Cer Te (on 55th btw. 5+6th) that is only available on Wednesdays.  Well, would you look at that!  Today is Wednesday…

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All the Trucks Are In Midtown Today

If you wanted to hit up a cart as your last lunch before Thanksgiving, all the old school carts will be out- and the most of the new school ones  are in Midtown today… Wafels & Dinges is on 52nd btw. 6+7th, Street Sweets is on 50th btw. 5+6th, Cupcake Stop Truck is on 47th and 3rd, Rickshaw is on 57th & 8th, NYC Cravings will be on 53rd and Lex (with their $5 Thanksgiving week special), the Treats Truck will be on 45th and 6th, and the Schnitzel Truck is just out of bounds on Park btw. 26+27th.  Of course things can always change so you might want to check the ML Twitter Tracker before heading out.

Barros Luco Adds Steak Dog to Menu

Check out the latest from Barros Luco, the Chilean fast food sandwich and hot dog place on 52nd btw. 1+2nd…  The BL Ace ($4.50): thin slices of steak served on a homemade hot dog bun and topped with Pebre and Aji Verde sauces.  Dios mio, man.  (If it had avocado it’d be perfect!)

HB Burger & Heartland Brewery Burger Aren’t the Same: Nick Solares is upset to discover that his positive quotes about HB Burger are being used to sell an inferior burger at Heartland Brewery. The beef tastes the same, but it's not as juicy and the roll is completely different.

A Few Lunches Midtown Needs From Greenpoint

I know a lot of you like searching for Midtown Lunch’ish food in the outer boroughs, so here’s one for you. My good friends Taylor and (very first Profiled Midtown Lunch’er) Harry, who own the Brooklyn Kitchen (and the brand new Brooklyn Kitchen Labs/Meat Hook butcher shop) took Time Out New York on a food tour of Greenpoint over the weekend, and it all looks right up our alley. There’s Eastern European fish and chips with homemade pickled beets, hot butcher shop Kielbasa, “big Styrofoam containers” full of Polish food (naturally), and my personal favorite, a place for amazing crab rangoon (New England Chinese food represent!) Check out all their suggestions here>>

Photo courtesy of Time Out New York/Bobby LaPointe

Does OBAO Have a Bun Bo Hue Controversy on Their Hands?

Brand new restaurants will always have their opening hiccups, but there seems to be a bit of confusion surrounding a particular dish being served at OBAO, Michael Hyunh’s new pan-Asian restaurant on 53rd btw. 2+3rd.  Yesterday, I posted about my first lunch at OBAO and mentioned that I ordered the Bun Bo Hue, a spicy lemongrass flavored Vietnamese soup, that usually comes with all sorts of offal bits and pieces in it (and should have a red oily sheen.)  At OBAO, the soup comes advertised as such on the menu, but what I was served seemed to more closely match their pho (as it was described on the menu.)  I assumed they had just served me the wrong soup, until I read a review of the same soup on Peter Cherches’ blog.  He ordered the Bun Bo Hue as well, and was served the exact same soup I got… but with one difference.  He actually questioned the staff about it, and was assured it was the Bun Bo Hue and not the pho.

To further confuse the matter the soup comes with a hot chili paste, and other accoutrement that when added to the pho’ish dish make it more like a Bun Bo Hue (but not so much so that it settles the matter.)  So, was this the case of a deconstructed Bun Bo Hue, or a staff that is just suffering from some major Vietnamese soup confusion.  We weren’t the only ones who have tried the soup in the past week, and comments from other Midtown Lunch’ers have attempted to solve the riddle.

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Attention Gingerbread House Fans: If you like staring at graham cracker walls, studded with jellybeans, there are gingerbread houses designed by well known bakeries being displayed in the Parker Meridien Hotel (on 56th btw. 6+7th). Just what Burger Joint fans need, more people drawn to the Parker Meridien lobby. [via Grub Street]

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Michael Psilakis” PLUS a Lamb Cookbook 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. In addition to being a long time fan of Kefi (on the Upper West Side), it’s no secret that I’m also a huge fan of the lamb burger at Anthos on 52nd btw. 5+6th. So I’m incredibly honored to welcome this week’s Profiled Midtown Lunch’er, Chef Michael Psilakis… PLUS we have a copy of his new cookbook “How To Roast a Lamb” to give away at the end of the profile.

Name: Michael

Age: 41

Occupation: Chef/Owner of Anthos, Kefi, Gus & Gabriel and Eos in Miami, FL.

Where in Midtown do you Work?: I float around to all of my restaurants constantly, but am mostly on the Upper West Side at Kefi in our offices up there.

Favorite Kind of Food: I appreciate any and all types of food, but if I had to pick one it would definitely have to be Greek food… or pizza.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: That’s impossible! I do not have one, does not exist.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: I love the cheeseburger at the Burger Joint (on 56th btw. 6+7th.) That place is like an oasis with neon signage. Another place I really enjoy, that is out of ML’s price range but worth a splurge, is Esca (on 43rd and 9th) for the whole grilled fish. It doesn’t matter what type of fish, you know when you go there it’s always fresh and doused with really, really good olive oil.

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If I Was Forced to Eat at Just Salad, They Now Have Something I Can Order


You know how I feel about salads… and I’m equally turned off by antiseptic Midtown chains. So naturally places like Chop’t and Just Salads (who are merely co-opting the salad portion of the generic Midtown deli) don’t rank high on my list of places to eat. However, occasionally they will do something that piques my interest. Lure me in with something unhealthy… or Asian… or both! (Like the General Tso’s salad dressing at Chop’t.) Clearly Just Salad has taken notice, because they sent me this interesting email the other day:

Hi Zach, Hope all is well. We met a couple years back shortly after our first location opened at 320 Park Ave (We didn’t want you to take pics in store after NY Mag article). I read Midtown Lunch often so I know you are not a big fan of salads. That being said, we just recently unveiled some new menu changes that you may be interested in. These items include:

  • Buffalo Chicken wrap for $6.25 which includes Romaine-Iceberg, Buffalo Chicken, Reduced Fat cheddar, Tortilla Strips, Celery and Buttermilk Ranch dressing.
  • Thai Chicken Crunch wrap for $6.25 which includes Romaine, Grilled Chicken, Chinese Noodles, Celery, Carrots and our new Spicy Thai Peanut dressing.
  • New dressing: Smokey Poblano Ranch

Uh… did you say Chinese crunchy noodles? Sir, you clearly know me better than I thought possible.

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ABC 7 Responds About Street Vendor Stats

Lisa Colagrassi, the ABC7 reporter who quoted the 4% vs. 25% street cart statistic yesterday was nice enough to respond to our question this morning: “Sorry that it took so long to get back to you, Zach. Kevin Pomplun [the Chef from the Picnik Smoked Truck] actually used those numbers in relation to his restaurant experience… b/c there is no rent, employees etc. Is it an official number… probably not, but an example of the advantages of vending over establishing a restaurant.” Well, there is rent- it’s just cheaper than a brick and mortar (you have to pay to park your cart somewhere, and pay for somewhere to smoke all the meats.) Also, the Picnic Smoked Truck didn’t have to fight for their spot. They were given a special permit by the Downtown Alliance to park there… and even Kevin admits it’s “no less of a challenge” than running a restaurant.

Opening a Street Truck is Just as Risky as Opening a Restaurant (Despite What the Local News Says)