Cafe Zaiya Buckles Under DOH Pressure, Goes Full Refrigeration

Pastry stocked shelves at Cafe Zaiya (on 41st btw. 5+Mad) are a beautiful sight, but there’s something insidious about the above image… basically, the lack of everything but pastries. On a recent trip to the Japanese eatery, I discovered that all of their pre-made items are now refrigerated. Witness the horror (and a few new sandwiches) after the jump…

Zaiya has shuffled items around before, but the new no tolerance policy has the look of permanence to it, surely the result of their C grade from the DOH. The rice bowls, bentos and Zaiya lunch specials are all now located in various coolers around the establishment. Not to mention the, say it ain’t so…

Onigiri! In my experience, rice balls are never as good when they’re cold. I’ve been worried for a long time about Zaiya buckling to the pressure, and that day has finally come.

Their C from the DOH was still in the window, so I’m going to hold out hope that once a higher grade is posted, they’ll revert back to their old ways.

I was so depressed that I walked out without getting anything, but for those who like a silver lining on their storm clouds. There were a few new sandwiches on display.

There’s a Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich, a Basil Pesto Chicken Sandwich and a Grilled Vegetable Sandwich, all for $3.95. Nothing terribly exciting, but I’m certainly not complaining about new sandwiches at Zaiya.

Cafe Zaiya, 18 E. 41st St. (btw. 5th & Madison) 212-779-0600


  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    This should be a cause for celebration — now we can all eat there without the fear of food poisoning!

  • A similar thing happened at the Pret on 56th and 6th. I asked them why they started refrigerating the baguette breakfast sandwiches, and they told it it was the DOH’s requirement.

    I think they taste better when they’re in room temperature, especially because the bread is baked fresh!

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Not a huge deal, those types of fridges make everything about 3 degrees below what would be room temperature. It’s why you can never get an actual cold drink at these places.

  • I had 2 of their spicy tuna onigiris yesterday for lunch and they were decent eats. Maybe everyone has to grab them right away from that damn fridge unit. :)
    Let’s just say I like them warm…and not cold!!

    I also think they need to do a pork katsu sandwich!!!!
    I liek their spicy chicken one but nothing exciting.

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