Pleasant Surpises Beyond the Mongolian BBQ at Bread & Honey
Over the past several months, rumors started flying amongst friends and co-workers about a new bodega on 8th Avenue with an eclectic but intriguing variety of international foods. European friends murmured about their hefty line-up of Kinder chocolates and Cadbury confectioneries, and Korean friends spoke of their impressive stock of kimchi, banchan, and packaged noodle soups. The bodega that they were referring to, was none other than Midtown West newcomer, Bread & Honey.
During our first pass, we’d unfairly labeled this place as a “generic deli”. Instead, Bread & Honey is like a bodega on steroids. Sure there’s your standard sandwich, soup and salad stations, and a tremendous steam table of prepared by the lb food. But there’s also an incredible and eclectic line-up of snacks and groceries to keep your office drawer stocked, or for a quick shopping trip on the way home.
In addition to the standard mega-brands, there are organic brands such as Green & Black chocolates, Annie’s, Brad’s, etc as well as local brands such as Michaels of Brooklyn and Sarabeth’s fruit preserves. Equally impressive is the variety of Asian groceries, whether they be frozen, jarred, or dry – it’ll be a handy substitute for H-Mart in K-town for sure. But since this is Midtown Lunch, and not “Midtown Grocery Shopping”, I stopped by the Mongolian BBQ station for a try.
For the few readers who are not familiar with the concept of “Mongolian BBQ” (quotes because it’s a concept of Taiwanese origin, and bears no resemblance to Mongolian cuisine), you grab a large bowl, and fill it at your leisure from a large buffet of raw ingredients. Being a rookie at Mongolian BBQ, I can’t say how this stacks up against other versions of it. However I was impressed with the variety and quality of raw veggies, herbs, proteins, including slices of chicken, beef, krab, and shrimp, and carbohydrates such as rice and several types of noodles. You have the option of adding sauces, such as Japanese curry, mapo tofu sauce, their house sauce, oyster sauce, etc, as well as condiments such as minced garlic, minced ginger, salt, pepper, etc.
Next, hand the bowl over to be cooked on a massive round skillet, and finally, take your bespoke bowl of pseudo-Mongolian goodness to the front counter, and pay $7.99 per pound. At this point, I should point out Zach’s excellent essay on maximizing the bang for your buffet buck – which I obviously didn’t adhere to judging by the amount of noodles in my dish. But I learned my lesson, and I’ll certainly be back for another go. And I’ll certainly rely on Bread & Honey when the need for an impromptu snack or grocery shopping run arises.
Bread & Honey, 941 8th Ave (btw 55+56th), 212-245-0007