Grill & Noodle is a Solid Addition to Midtown’s Cart Scene
A couple of weeks ago, a new cart called Grill & Noodle popped up on 50th btw. 6+7. The cart has an old school no-frills appearance and an odd Chinese/Japanese hybrid menu that ranges from lo mein to teppanyaki. That kind of identity crisis is often a bad sign. I found myself walking by the cart the other day and figured I might as well give a shot, especially when I noticed the mysterious Casanova steak.
For the record, I have no idea what Casanova steak is, and apparently neither does the internet. It’s a Grill & Noodle original! Upon ordering it, the nice old man operating the cart explained that he only had one steak left and asked if I wanted some chicken as well. I guess you usually get two pieces of meat with the Casanova steak? I’m really not sure, but I was extremely happy to get to try chicken and steak in one shot.
So, he served up some lo mein noodles (think mall Chinese food), rice, some cabbage and carrots, some cold probably steamed broccoli, a bunch of chicken, a sliced (ground meat) steak and topped it off with some teriyaki sauce on the chicken and hot sauce on the beef. It looked pretty appetizing (for food served from a cart) and like a good amount of food for $6.
The chicken was dark meat (thank you!) and very flavorful. It’s no better than what you’d expect from a cart but that doesn’t stop it from being delicious, and it’s Asian flair made it stand out a little from your standard street meat.
The “steak” also did not disappoint. Steak probably isn’t the best word for it, but I suppose it’s technically correct. It’s seasoned ground beef, kind of like Asian meatloaf in patty form. And what can I say, it was as delicious as it sounded (to me).
The noodles were almost indistinguishable from what you would get at a mall food court. I think they are maybe a little better, but they were still slightly on the mushy side. I have no problem with noodles like this, but I also usually load them up with soy sauce and I didn’t have any handy. Next time I’ll ask for some sauce on them, but if mall Chinese food is your thing, you should be perfectly happy. The rice was better. In fact it was pretty good considering.
The vegetables were all pretty bland and a little too cold but there wasn’t anything wrong with them. I actually kind of like being served some vegetables with my dirty lunches.
Grill & Noodle offers roughly the same quality you get at most (good) cheap carts, but it also serves at least one dish (Casanova steak) you can’t get anywhere else- and the whole Asian approach to street meat makes it stand out just enough to be worth trying for cart enthusiasts.
THE + (What somebody who likes this cart would say)
- I’m looking for something a little different from a cart
- There’s not enough Asian street meat
- I will happily endure some bland portions of a meal if the rest of it is good
- I love mall lo mein!
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this cart would say)
- I don’t like places that have an identity crisis
- I want a meal that’s really good from top to bottom, not just some of it
- Nothing turns me off like bad lo mein
- I hate it when carts serve me vegetables. If I wanted them, I’d eat a stupid salad!
Grill & Noodle Cart, 50th btw. 6+7 (right in front of the outdoor public seating area)