Flatiron Lunch: More Korean Tacos Can Be Found at New York Bakery (But Not the Kind You Think)
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 to make it easy: Flatiron Lunch.
We’ve seen Sagaponack‘s kalbi tacos here on Flatiron Lunch, Chris wrote about the new options at Bann Next Door this week and the new Koreatown Bon Chon has bulgogi tacos on their entree list (although they aren’t serving them yet). So, maybe it shouldn’t be that surprising to walk into New York Bakery and find Koreans selling Mexican food.
Just blocks away from Koreatown, surrounded by flower shops and wholesale stores, New York Bakery is a tiny shop run by a Korean couple that caters to the local latino workers, taking orders and greeting customers in fluent Spanish. I later found out that Danny checked it out last year and found myself even more intrigued.
The menu doesn’t put Mexican and Korean food together in the same dishes like the Kogi-inspired tacos we’ve been hearing about. Instead, New York Bakery specializes in Mexican food with a few Korean dishes listed in Korean with no translation. Those intrigue me, but I haven’t had a chance to try them out yet.
Usually, I’d have jumped at those tacos on my first visit, but to be honest, after three visits, I still haven’t tried anything from this menu at all. It’s the other menu that’s caught my attention.
To the left of the counter, right above the TV screen that plays Spanish-language daytime talk shows and Judge Joe Brown, is a list of the daily specials. As much as I love tacos, I’ve found much more interesting options up here. Unfortunately, the specials are often in short supply. If you get there in the middle of the lunch rush, you might find that a few of the more tantalizing ones have run out.
In lieu of tacos, on my first visit, I tried out some pork gorditas. They split three discs of fried bread and filled them with crispy, tender pork, queso fresco, crema and lettuce. The bread is firm and crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy inside, matching the pork in complementing textures.
On another visit, I tried to get the albondigas, meatballs laden in a smokey chipotle sauce, but ended up missing it by minutes as the customer ahead of me got the last order. Instead, I got the bifstec encebollado, steak sauteed with onions. The steak is on the tougher side, like most steak of this type, but with a strong beefy flavor. It tasted great sliced up and mixed with the rice and beans and onions.
I finally got the meatballs on my last visit. It was all I had hoped for and more. In addition to the smokey sauce, the meatballs held a little surprise inside.
Each one had a boiled egg in the middle. The meat, the sauce, the eggs along with the rice and beans and other sides turned out to be a nicely filling meal to say the least.
All orders come with a small cup of salsa that’s just spicy enough to add some kick to each dish.
Both the steak and the meatballs came with a small steaming stack of tortillas that made for yummy little ad hoc tacos when I managed not to scarf down all the food first. In those cases, I just ate the tortillas straight or with some of the salsa, rice, beans and veggies left over.
The best part about this place is there are still a ton more menu items I want to try, including the mysterious Korean options and the chilaquiles, a dish I’ve loved since a trip to San Francisco a while back. The owners are very friendly and welcoming, although communicating can be a little hard as their English isn’t quite as good as their Spanish. Given all that, don’t be surprised if I’m reporting on this place again in a couple months with entirely different meals to show off.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Regularly changing specials menu means there’s always something new to try.
- I love watching Spanish Daytime TV while I wait for lunch.
- A wide selection of Jarritos drinks available.
- There’s still somewhere to get tacos near Penn Station even though El Camioncito has disappeared.
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Korean food and Mexican food so close together is a just a tease.
- Specials run out quickly, so you may miss out.
New York Bakery, 51 W 29th St. (btw. B’way+6th), 212-213-2838