Mr. Fish in Food Gallery 32 has an Enormous $10 Lunch Special
A few weeks ago, Chris reported that the location of Bian Dang in the 32nd Street Food Court, Food Gallery 32, (32nd btw. 5th and Broadway) would be replaced by Mr. Fish and Pastel was being replaced by The Gochujang: Korean School Food. An air of sadness swept Midtown upon this news. But when Fork In the Road reported that Mr. Fish had a giant lunch special, I took the opportunity to investigate on my own. I had never been to the food court before because it’s a small jaunt from my office, and I couldn’t wait to see what it was all about.
Indeed, Food Gallery 32 is all it’s cracked up to be. Everyone has their own idea of heaven, and this might just be mine. I saw many strange and interesting things I have never tried before on other customer’s plates, and I cannot wait to go back. God I wish I worked closer to this place!
But on to Mr. Fish. The restaurant has the same style as all of the other vendors in the food court. Walk up to the counter and order, wait a while, and once you get your tray you find a seat in the court. Mr. Fish offers a very small menu with only 10 items ranging from $8.99 to $11.99. The deal that caught my eye was the $10 Lunch Special on display. You choose one of the rolls on the menu, and along with that comes a miso soup, vegetable tempura, pickled cucumbers, and pickled radishes. I knew it would run slightly over the limit with tax, but I had to try it out. Not being a great lover of raw seafood, I went with the Joy Roll with regular shrimp, shrimp tempura, and spicy crab.
The meal was beautifully presented on the plate (because I know we all deeply care about that), and there was A LOT of food. As I love most anything fried, the tempura was the first thing I went for. I’ve always found the lighter batter on tempura enjoyable. I was impressed by the variety of veg-rendered-fattening: a carrot, an onion slice, a red pepper, and a… I think winter squash? The thing went down the hatch so fast I didn’t even have time to look, but the texture seemed squashy. For whatever reason, the onion was cooler temperature than the rest of the tempura veggies, which were nice and hot. The miso soup had no tofu, and was less saline than most miso soups I have tried. It was sprinkled with finely sliced spring onion that gave it a strong but wonderful allium bite. Both the pickled cucumber and radish were crunchy, tart, and sweet.
Even though I was disappointed Mr. Fish didn’t offer any unagi (broiled freshwater eel), my favorite sushi ingredient, I was impressed with my Joy Roll. Inside the roll was a shrimp tempura and a tiny slice of cucumber wrapped in nori and rice. A generous portion of a mixture of velvety crab and perhaps a small amount of mayo topped the roll. The mixture seemed incredibly fresh and I liked that the crab very finely shredded. An artfully thin slice of shrimp was gingerly placed on top of the crab. The roll was drenched in a tasty, and notably spicy orange sauce and black sesame seeds. But, if you are a connoisseur of raw fish rather than cooked fish and seafood in your sushi, this might not be the roll for you.
Instead you might try the $8.99 Mr. Fish roll with tuna, salmon, white fish, and crumbs, on a spicy California roll (should we assume that’s avocado and imitation crab?). This has raw fish and will stay under the $10 Midtown Lunch limit, but the special is a much better deal for just a dollar more.
One of the menu items that puzzled me was the oxymoronic Super Jr. Burrito. I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of someone’s burrito while waiting. The burrito is filled with tuna, salmon, avocado, and crab meat and wrapped in soy paper. The burrito was the width of a sushi roll and sliced so it appears to be similar to sushi. How freakin’ cute.
Service was fine, but the employees seemed a little confused at times. However, this is to be expected from a brand-new establishment, and we should give them a chance to find their sea legs. The other warning… it might be difficult to choose Mr. Fish over all the other awesome options at the food court, including the new Korean School Food. I saw a soondae or Korean blood sausage special that I would really love to try one day.
Has anyone tried the boldly named new stalls Mr. Fish or Korean School Food? If not, what is the most interesting or most delicious dish you’ve tried at Food Gallery 32?
Food Gallery 32, 11 W. 32nd Street,