Flatiron Lunch: Urban Kitchen has a Massive Noodle Soup

Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.

I feel like I have been neglecting the readers in the northwestern corner of the Flatiron boundaries, so I ventured towards Madison Square Garden this week. On past walks through this area, I haven’t seen that many exiting options (sorry all of you who work up there!) But Urban Kitchen seemed worth a try, and the prices were good.

Inside Urban Kitchen (does anyone else feel like the name is a strange choice for Chinese cuisine?), it is decorated with a series of designer logo knock-off paintings. Hello, not quite Murakami Louis Vuitton!

But the highlight of the interior is the display case illuminating action figures. Is this Bruce Lee in various 70s outfits? Great stuff.

While I was waiting for my food (which took about 10 minutes), it smelled so good. But what kept me occupied was drooling over a big noodle soup bowl that someone else ordered. I wasn’t sure if I would accurately be able to describe how massive it was, so I asked the stranger if I could photograph his lunch. The lengths we go for ML! Check out this insane bowl of noodles and spicy beef. The other lunch meals served in-house were in simple take out containers without lids, which I guess means it is easy to take it with you if you don’t finish your lunch.

My take-out chicken big bowl noodle soup ($8.95) wasn’t nearly as impressive as the to-stay but was still a great deal. I noticed that the broth had a smell like they had put super hot broth into cheap plastic, and it had started to melt. Or maybe the broth was just off that day. It didn’t really taste like it smelled, but I was already weirded out. The chicken was soft and chewy, but a little on the processed side.

The beef and green beans lunch special ($7.55) was also a great deal, even if it wasn’t as massive as the noodle bowl. The lunch specials are offered with the option of pork fried rice instead of white rice. At no extra cost!! And on top of that, the lunch specials all come with a soup (egg drop or wonton soup) or soda. The pork fried rice was great and the beef with green beans had a good sauce, but the beef could have been better.

The dumpling soup had tasty dumplings, but it had the same funky smelling broth. So it was a mixed bag.

The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • It will take me more than my hour lunch break to finish this massive bowl of noodle soup.
  • I love that Urban Kitchen offers pork fried rice instead of white rice.
  • I want to spend more time looking at these action figures while waiting for my food.

The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • The funky broth better be a fluke, especially since the restaurant smelled good.
  • Why can’t Urban Kitchen serve to-stay lunch meals in real dishes?
  • The ingredients are a bit hit or miss.

Urban Kitchen, 391 8th Avenue btwn 29 and 30 Street, (212) 971-9808

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