Flatiron Lunch: Chinese Mirch’s Lunch Specials Are Surprisingly Good

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. Every week we’ll post about a lunch in Murray Hill south, Gramercy, Flatiron, and everything in between… or as we’ll call it from now on: Flatiron Lunch.

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Chinese food is everywhere in NY. It’s in tourist shops, it’s in generic deli buffets, it’s even kosher. But Indian Chinese food?  Well, that’s completely new to me.  I’ve walked past Chinese Mirch, in the middle of Curry Hill, dozens of times without thinking much of it. It’s actually been mentioned a few times on the site… but it wasn’t until Luncher ‘Steve’ told us recently about their $5.95 lunch special, that I finally made it over there to check it out. I didn’t have very high expectations, but was happily surprised with what we got.

Details on the special and food photos after the jump.

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The special runs Monday through Thursday, each day with a different chicken dish for $5.95. The rest of the lunch menu is reasonably priced, but only the chicken and vegetables are priced under $10. There are some tasty looking lamb and seafood options that are all over the $10 mark.

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My Flatiron predecessor Jason ended up tagging along, and being more amenable to vegetarian options than I, chose the paneer chili gravy. A pile of firm cubes of cheese, browned and tossed with a chili pepper-flecked gravy, it was one of the least healthy vegetarian dishes I’ve ever seen – and the most awesome.

It certainly made me rethink my habit of skipping over the vegetarian section whenever I eat out. Turns out it’s not all sprouts and spinach, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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I had the special of the day, the hot chicken garlic. When it showed up at our table, I was worried.

To look at it, the collection of breaded, fried chunks of boneless chicken covered in a shiny, pink sauce resembles the generic orange/sesame/general tso’s chickens that every hole in the wall Chinese joint slings across the city. But, I was ready to take one for the team, so I dug in and was happy to be completely off base.

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The chicken chunks were only lightly breaded, not buried under a layer of greasy pre-fried crust. There was chicken in every bite and it was juicy and tender. Flakes of crispy bits were sprinkled on top to add a satisfying crunch to the chicken.

The sauces in both dishes weren’t nearly as thick as they looked and didn’t have the corn starchy sliminess that you find elsewhere. Instead, the sauce was silky, almost light coating the chicken and paneer but not weighing them down.

I left the meal very satisfied and glad that I looked past my assumptions and thankful for the tips and recommendations you guys provide. Chinese Mirch is definitely up for a return visit, both to try the out-of-range lamb dishes and to find some good Chinese-ish in an area where it’s few and far between.

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

  • I love piles of cheese
  • The $5.95 daily special gives me something different to eat four days a week.
  • I like a good twist on standard Chinese fare.

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

  • I like my Chinese food greasy and generic.
  • I want my vegetarian food healthy.
  • I want some lamb under $10, too!

Chinese Mirch, 120 Lexington Avenue (btw. 28+29th), 212-532-3663


  • It was really Luncher “Kay” that deserves the credit.

  • Why the low expectations? I’ve enjoyed this place a few times. The highlights are pretty concentrated in the “starters” section. The okra and gobi manchurian are both great, but the Mirch (chicken) 65 might be the best in Manhattan.

  • How’s the spice level of this place? I’ve heard from co-workers that it’s really spicy. Definitely want to try it.

    • They can bring it. But they can adjust spice levels, and there’s plenty of stuff (like the hakka noodles) that are not spicy whatsoever.

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    The Gobi Manchurian and the Crispy Beef are CRAZY good. There’s also a second location up on 2nd and 89th street too!

  • Just tried the Spicy Chop Suey special. It was not terribly spicy. Dish was vegetarian, fairly tasty, verging on over-salted. I would have preferred rice instead of the crispy noodles. They do add a bag of fried wonton wrapper strips, plus hot sauce and chili pepper rings. Overall decent, but I’d like to try the other lunch specials. They do seem to like overpackaging the to-go order–so much waste generated from one meal!

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