Flatiron Lunch: For a Chinese Food Adventure, Hit Up Jimmy’s House

Now that Downtown has its very own section of the site, what are we going to post on Fridays at 10am? Answer… how about a new column devoted to those lunches just south of the ML boundaries. Please give a warm welcome to Jason Lam from the blog Me So Hungry. Every Friday at 10am he’ll post about lunches in Murray Hill south, Grammercy, Flatiron, and everything in between… or as we’ll call it from now on: Flatiron Lunch.

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year! I suppose it would be fitting to talk about one of my go-to Chinese lunch spots, Jimmy’s House, over by Baruch College. If you can get through the rowdiness of the students hanging outside, you’ll be treated to a heaping container of four items over rice for $6.

The restaurant is a mixture of Chinese/Vietnamese cook-to-order take-out and an array of prepared hot food ready for you to point and pick. The steam trays are filled with dishes closer to Chinese restaurant food (i.e. bitter melon, cabbage & meatball, sauteed Chinese greens), rather than Chinese-American (i.e. Chow Mein, General Tso’s). It still tends to be on the oily greasy side (including the vegetables), but I’m sure that’s what helps it taste better.

My favorites are the bow-tie seaweed, tomato & egg and cold chicken with ginger sauce. I imagine some of their food has a taste that may take some getting used to, like bitter melon which is just that (bitter) and the cold chicken (which looks a little raw.) But trust me when I tell you, this chicken here at Jimmy’s is more cooked than how I remember my aunts making it (pink and bloody.) That ginger sauce on it is killer.

For the safer selections: fried salt & pepper chicken, rib tips and a string potato dish that looks like short pasta. The selection does change daily, but you’ll see most of the same stuff every day.

You also get a small soup with your lunch box. I tend to go with whatever the house soup of the day is. Sometimes, it’s soup version of the tomato & egg or vegetable & chicken with light broth. There was once a light kale and pork soup that was absolutely transcendent, especially for anything I’ve ever had in a Styrofoam cup. I wish I could get that every time.

I’ve seen a few Asian students chowing down on big ass bowls of noodle soup at the two or three tables they have, to which I finally tried my hand at this week. The Little Bit of Everything Noodle Soup was udon noodles, shrimp, chicken, pork, bok choy in a hot & sour/egg drop type broth. It’s like nothing I’ve seen at the noodle shops in Chinatown. More like a Chinese take-out version, not that that’s a good thing. But for $6.50, this sucker was bigger than my head… and my head is huge.

Jimmy’s House is a great lunch spot for your greasy Chinese and Chinese-American fix. However to get there, you must cross the path of rowdy college kids running amok, which may remind you what it was like being in high school (think the Peach Pit or the Max.) I guess you’ll just have to go to see what I mean.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • I like big portions of greasy Chinese food
  • I like eating Chinese food more than Chinese-American food
  • I love selection, selection selection!

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I hate oily food
  • I prefer the hand-pulled noodle shops in Chinatown
  • I don’t want to be reminded of being in high school

Jimmy’s House, 162 E 25th St (btwn Lexington+3rd Ave.), 212-725-7888‎


  • Gong Hei Fat Choi!

    I’m not a big fan of cold chicken but looks look a good selection.

    Wait, how’s the Vietnamese food there???

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    You must really like that picture.

  • @Dan – Sorry about that… fixed.

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    Jason, have you ever been to Jess Bakery on 23rd, between 2nd and 3rd (maybe out of bounds)? It’s by far my favorite Chinatown-style bakery north of Chinatown itself. I have no idea if the actual hot food they serve (General Tso’s Chicken, etc.) is good – but the pork buns and the like are pretty awesome, from what I remember. The place has a pretty dedicated following in the area too.

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    Oh, the memory!

    I went to Baruch and Jimmy’s was one of my go-to spots. It used to be $5 for 4 items + soup (about 2 years ago…)As a Taiwanese, I cannot stand Americanized Chinese take-out food, and Jimmy’s provides a good alternative. The food’s on the oily side but the cold chicken is to die for! It’s your typical hall in a wall place. The floor could use some mopping but the counter that holds the steamy trays of food is quite clean. All in all, a great deal for poor college kids or midtown lunchers who love cheap but quality Chinese food. I don’t remember them serving Vietnamese though…

  • @StreetMeas… I haven’t had the Vietnamese there. I always get distracted at the steam tray prepared food. But they do have two different take-out menus –one Vietnamese and the other Chinese.

    @ChetP… yeah, that place makes some good buns. I haven’t had the hot food there though. I once had their “Bacon bun with mayo filling.” It wasn’t filled with a pocket mayo, but sort of smothered on top & baked on with the bits of bacon and scallion. It got my fingers all greasy, but it was good.

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