Midtown Lunch’ers Liveblog: Your First Look at 4Food
Earlier this month we had a contest giving away slots to a special preview lunch at 4Food, the crazy new social-media-meets-doughnut-shaped-veggie-stuffed-hamburger spot opening in September on Madison and 40th Street. That free lunch is happening right now, and we couldn’t help but ask the winning lunchers to send us their thoughts in real time.
Noon – The first guests are starting to arrive… “Scene is bustling with peeps who are part of the event.” According to Lunch’er Tina.
12:15pm – And the first burger has been consumed. Good news for ketchup lovers, bad news for environmentalists… From Lunch’er “Mike” “Burger is pretty good. The staff is very nice. I don’t hate the fufu custom ketchup; I’m a Heinz guy. There’s a LOT of cardboard wrapped around the food. More people taking pictures than eating. I prefer Carnegie John but this is ok. The space is nice; kind of industrial warehouse feel.
12:23pm – Lunch’er “Tina’s” order is in. “Pork burger w/Brussels sprouts, fontina and horseradish cream in brioche. Side of Square Roots fries.”
Check out the first bits of burger porn, after the jump…
12:25pm – From Lunch’er Tina: “A tad dry but could be me taking photos.” Ah yes. The blogger curse…
12:26pm – That’s great and all but what about the stuffed hole! I want to see the stuffed hole.
12:30pm – “Arrived at 1225, order complete by 1230. Its very loud in here. They could use some rug to absorb the noise. I fear for the 1st month as it will be packed. Ordering online will be key.”
12:32pm – More complaints about the packaging… From Luncher Jose: “My biggest question/”complaint”: Why all of that packaging? And those trays/boxes only really fit into the garbage bins in ‘landscape mode’.”
12:40pm – Ladies and gents… we have innards! (Courtesy of Lunch’er Jason) What the hell is that? (UPDATE: Jason checked back in to tell us that it’s “a turkey burger w/ the spinach and pine nuts as well as the avocado slice on a pumpernickel bun.”
12:43pm – “Order ready 5 min later. Name pops up on the top screen (very efficient) burger was small, but delicious! I had beef on brioche with mofongo, goat cheese, advocado, bbq sauce, ketchup, pickle and lettuce. I will be a frequent customer. With a water it comes to 6.50! (Although free today) thanks so much again. – will send a couple more comments when back at work.”
12:48pm – We’re hearing reports of “hibiscus berry tea”. How classy!
12:50pm – Hearing conflicting reports about price. Lunch’er Mike felt his $5 burger was inexpensive, and a “nice change from tiny seven dollar burgers”. Lunch’er Emily… not so much.
12:52pm – And we have our first straight up pan of the place, courtesy of Lunch’er “Emily”. Take it away…
“From the swanky iPads and screens to the meal, 4Food comes across all look very little taste. I might come back for the root vegetables and drinks, but I’m not so sure about the rest. The service was good & the menu surprisingly Chipotle-esque. Peach bubble tea – surprisingly good bubbles for midtown, not too sweet. Square roots – crispy, nice, they don’t fulfill the french fry fix, but do work. Lamb burger on brioche with chorizo hash, avocado onions & manchego – um, where’s the cheese? Or avocado? The lamb tasted lamby, but overdone and SUCH a skimpy patty. The hash was a-ok, but mushy. And the bun was fast-food standard. Basically, I wouldn’t come back to fulfill a classic burger fix. Burgers should be simple, this isn’t. It also shouldn’t cost $12 for lunch.”
Oh, and in case you didn’t realize it… yes, you do order on Ipads. I wonder if those things are bolted down…
12:58pm – $3.50 for a tea!?!?! Alright… leave that off, and it’s within the ML price range.
1:06pm – Lunch’er Jose just mentioned something about employee track suits in the comments! Clearly we need to see a photo of this…
1:12pm – I guess not everybody is down with the healthy aspects of 4Food. From a luncher in the comments: “The pork was like an overcooked fat free italian sausage… this place is kinda like Better Burger but suckier”. Ouch.
1:14pm – Lunch’er Steve steps in and tells everybody to chill! It’s just a preview after all… “So I’m eating my creation right now. I don’t like it. I REALLY like it. Everything is fresh and super-tasty. I can tell they’re still working out some kinks, but that is to be expected. No chocolate mousse but I got cookies which I’ll try later.” For the record he ordered the lamb burger, on the rice patty, stuffed with spinach and pine nuts and topped with shitakes, goat cheese and tzatziki.
1:19pm – Doesn’t look too tasty but Lunch’er Matt assures us it was…
“Plus: food is very tasty and service was quick, good seating with outlets to plug into. Minus: meat was a little dry, lines to order can be long due to indecisiveness. This is the brioche with breakfast pork patty, mofo, avocado, manchego and BBQ sauce. I couldn’t taste the cheese. The coconut rice was great. The mango chai was also great. My friend thought her beef burger was a little dry and the tzatziki got lost. But overall the quality of the ingredients shines. The square roots (potatoes) could use more seasoning.”
1:20pm – Side note… either Matt has gigantor hands, or these burgers look kind of small. (Or maybe he ate most of the burger. Yeah, maybe that’s it. Nevermind. His hands do look gigantic though…)
1:26pm – Tracksuits FTW!
1:28pm – More in the comments… Luncher Emily tried the “dirt smoothie”, which she described as a “grainy Wendy’s frosty”.
1:32pm – Another review courtesy of Lunch’er T.C.: “The burger was very average. I had the pork patty on multigrain with mac & cheese, pancetta, cheddar and sweet chili sauce. Well-done (which was an issue for others) but not too dry luckily. I could barely taste the cheese or the mac & cheese. The sweet chili sauce was forgetable. I’m not liking the middle hole. When you get to that point it’s all filling (only time I could taste the pancetta and cheese). The Square Roots side (potatoes, sweet potatoes and purple yam) were nicely crisp. I had a Green smoothie and a Dirt Smoothie – probably the best items I had for lunch. My meal with my first smoothie came out to be over $15 (they gave us the bill despite not having to pay which is cool for reference) and I doubt I would willingly pay that much for the meal. Their value meal has burger + side + tea for $12. Not really a ‘Midtown Lunch’”
1:41pm – Perhaps the biggest 4Food endorsement comes from Lunch’er Mike in the comments: “I was prepared to hate it and I didn’t.” That’s about as good as it gets from this crowd…
1:45pm – And that’s it. It’s all over. If you were at the lunch, and have more thoughts… post them in the comments. The official grand opening is just over 13 days away (September 7th) but we’re hearing they will be open at random times over the next two weeks as part of a soft opening. (Perhaps maybe even tomorrow during lunch?) If we hear they’re open, we’ll let you know.