PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Brian”

Every Tuesday we turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. This week it’s Brian, a food cart tour guide who loves to eat everything (but is scared of sparkling water.)

Name: Brian

Age: 32

Occupation: Tour Guide and Host of a food webseries

Where in Midtown do you Work?: I give Food Cart tours for Urban Oyster on Sixth Avenue between 42nd and 52nd Street

Favorite Kind of Food: I seriously love it all. If somebody is serving it, odds are I’ll eat it. I do have a soft spot for Japanese food. I love the delicate, clean flavors. I’m also a sucker for smoky dishes (BBQ, bourbon, smoked fish, baba ghanoush). And of course, I can’t walk by a food cart or truck without giving it a try. But the most exciting foods to me are new discoveries whether it’s unusual flavor combinations, an ethnic dish that I’m trying for the first time, or the uncovering of a hidden unpublicized restaurant.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: I really do eat it all, but I’m not a big fan of offal (I do like sweetbreads). And sparkling water has always freaked me out.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: I love the lunch at Yakitori Totto (on 55th btw. B’way+8th)- specifically the chicken thigh yakitori special is an awesome deal. Hakata Ramen at Menchanko Tei (on 55th btw. 5+6th) is surprisingly rich, creamy, and has a great balance of flavors. It’s still my go-to ramen spot in midtown. CafĂ© Edison (on 47th btw. B’way+8th) for classic and cheap diner food (love the blintzes and the matzoh ball soup). I also much prefer the burgers at both Burger Joint (on 56th btw. 6+7th) and Five Guys to the overhyped ones at Shake Shack. And the lines are much easier to manage. And one last Japanese: After the tour, I often wander east and get any number of rice balls from Oms/b (on 45th btw. Lex+3rd). I particularly like the Gorgeous Football Rice Ball and the Lobster Salad. And of course, dessert at Macaron Cafe.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? I always eat in midtown before I meet my tour group at 2 and I’m often running late so have to grab something quickly (don’t we all in midtown?). I was eating healthy at Just Salad for a little while, but they’re overpriced and lacking big flavor. So lately I’ve been getting either a side order of the galbi (short ribs) from the Bapcha Cart (on 49th btw. 6+7th) when I’m craving meat or the Tilapia or Salmon over rice from Kwik Meal (on 45th and 6th) when I’m trying to be a bit more health conscious. It’s healthy ”cause it’s fish – leave me alone!!

Place(s) you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? Trini Paki Boys (on 43rd and 6th). I’m amazed they don’t get more publicity than they do. But I first read about them on Midtown Lunch and now Fatima and her son Mohammed are the first stop on our Wednesday and Friday tours. Why they have never been nominated for a Vendy Award blows my mind. They’ve been doing this as long as anybody and have my favorite chicken over rice (with an awesome tamarind sauce) on the streets. Not to mention delicious specials and awesome doubles. Can you get doubles anywhere else in midtown?

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? This might be cheating a bit, but I’d like a job where I was constantly traveling so I could sample lunches all over the world. I’d have to travel at night or in the morning (airplane food lunch would be a nightmare) and of course, my home base would be New York. So at least I’d have weekend lunches in the city. Better then nothing.

As always, if you want to be next week’s Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email


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