Your First Look at Má Pêche’s New Lunch Menu
We recently posted about Má Pêche’s new lunch menu overhaul. Word on the street was that chef Paul Carmichael was going to focus on American cuisine. Well, the new menu has been revealed and with four new sandwiches and some new buns hovering in the $10 price point, we clearly had to go check it out.
It’s no secret that Má Pêche was a favorite of Midtown Lunch overlord, Zach Brooks, as well as more than a few of our fellow contributors. I’ve had a few sweets and savory treats takeout via their online ordering system (you pick up lunch orders at the MilkBar) and of course I tried their special sandwich at the big Midtown Lunch 5th anniversary bash last summer, but I’ve never actually sat down at Má Pêche. (Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Don’t tell! I’ll lose my ML log in privileges!) Donny met me for lunch yesterday and we ordered all four new sandwiches as well as the oxtail buns. The waitress warned us that it was a fair amount of food, but we were undeterred. We were testing them for science! And the Midtown Lunch community. I think the waitress thought we were either competitive eaters or weirdos or both.
Here’s what we got and what we thought (note, all photos were taken by Donny except for the outside pic which was taken by Blondie).
The Momo-empire is famous for their pork buns which have been on the menu at Má Pêche since September. Donny is a big fan of oxtail so we ordered their new version with oxtail, chili, bourbon and fritos. At two for $10, these were a bit dear. Unless you have a very small appetite, two buns does not a lunch make. Donny said “The ox tail buns are for people that love ox-tails but not the bones. Meat was tender and actually packed a good amount of meat in between the buns. While including fritos in the buns sounded like a fun idea, they didn’t add much to the whole experience besides some crunch.”
Now let’s talk sandwiches. I think I was most sad to see the special ML sandwich (aka the birthday sandwich), a special banh mi with pork belly and beef brisket, daikon, crab mayo and green papaya, has left the building. Let’s just have a moment of silence for the lost of pork belly and beef brisket because that combo was so good that it made someone who doesn’t typically eat beef (ahem, me), eat not one, but two sandwiches (let’s just say I was grateful that the ML birthday party was all you can eat…)
Taking the beef spot on the menu was the “tripleta” ($11) a roast beef, tongue, and mushroom sandwich that came on a thin-ish crusty baguette. This was Donny’s favorite sandwich of the four with the caveat that if you really like tongue, you might be disappointed. The tongue here is very thinly sliced so if you’re afraid of tongue or avoid tongue, you won’t really even realize that you’re having tongue, it all kind of tastes like roast beef. (Go ahead, give this your best in the comments, you know you want to.) Still, the mushrooms were nice and garlicky and this isn’t the sort of sandwich you can get in any sandwich shop in the city.
Next up, the smoked pork loin which came on a brioche with pimiento cheese and fried onions. I guess this is supposed to be a more American dish…the pimiento cheese is sort of Southern-ish, right? I have to say this was probably our least favorite. The pork loin is really thin, which gives it a soft tender texture. But overall it was kind of underwhelming. The meat is tasty and salty, but–and I’m just being completely honest, here–when it’s so thinly sliced it’s kind of hard to tell apart from other deli meats. The pimiento cheese and onions were awesome ideas. I only wish there were more of them. Lots more. Was this a bad sandwich? No. It was nice. It was good. Would I go out of my way to spend $10 on it. No. Die hard Momo-fans might need to try this, but for those of us on a budget, I don’t know that this sandwich is worth the price of admission.
The chicken cemita on the other hand, was my very favorite of the afternoon. The chicken is lightly breaded and fried so it has a nice spiced, crispy coating. Couple that with black beans, avocado and tomatillo in a squishy, sesame seeded bun and you have a great send up of a traditional Mexican sandwich. At $11, it’s not cheap, but then again I haven’t spotted many cemitas, a sandwich native to Puebla, Mexico, in midtown–if I’m wrong, let us know where to find them in the comments! This sandwich has a little bit of tang, presumably from the tomatillos and a touch of onions–not enough to leave you stinking of onions all afternoon, but also not so few that you don’t notice them, so if you don’t like onions, beware. This is a sandwich that I would definitely go back for.
Last up, the game changer ($10) made of eggplant, bacon and chili jam. This was the sandwich that I was most looking forward to. What can I say? I’m easily lured by bacon. It was a substantial sandwich. The bread was a good size, it was nice and crusty. The eggplant chopped up into little pieces and the bacon was also cut into pieces, but the pieces were not as small as the eggplant bits. The sandwich was smokey and not as spicy as I was expecting, when I read chili jam, I think hot and spicy. It’s a whole lot of eggplant, so if you’re not a big eggplant person, you might want to pass.
The tripleta, pork loin and game changer are available to order online, and we hear rumors that delivery might be coming soon, while the cemita and oxtail buns are only available in the restaurant. Bottom line: if you have the extra money to splurge or if you take expense account lunches and you’re looking for a upscale option that won’t break your T&E budget, I would definitely recommend checking out the new menu. If you don’t typically spend that much for a sandwich and aren’t a tongue or cemita fan, then you can give it a pass.
Má Pêche, 15 W. 56th St. (btw. 5+6th)