Try Satya Eastern Kitchen For The Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Editor’s Note: This article was clearly written before Passover… Rachel is a good, observant Jew and will not be eating this sandwich this week. ┬áBut it doesn’t mean you can’t!

I’ve been meaning to try Satya Eastern Kitchen — which debuted at 46th and 8th Avenue about six weeks ago — since passing it in a cab, on my way home from a late night of work. Not because of the food, per se, but because after doing a little research on the place, it seemed to incorporate various elements of other Midtown Lunch favorite spots. The building facade and Satya’s lit up sign remind me of the Shake Shack down the street, the restaurant concept is reminiscent of an Asian Chipotle (and we have yet to get a ShopHouse outpost in New York) and the ordering system is a la Schnippers. Asian fast casual? Ok, I’ll bite.

The interior was very clean and modern with some Asian elements here and there. The wood tables and red metal chairs (which you can’t see here, sorry ’bout that) reminded me of a CB2 catalog.

The Satya menu has a Chipotle feel to it. You choose your kind of dish (sliders, sandwiches or big plates), your protein and some sides or sauces, and voila! But be warned, the prices here definitely walk the line between being a Midtown Lunch and out of budget. In fact, to stay in budget, you’ll most likely be eating chicken for lunch, since the other proteins are more expensive. Chicken, however, is not necessarily a bad thing.

I was going to order the crispy chicken sandwich, but the woman behind the counter strongly suggested the grilled chicken sandwich with jalapeno aioli ($9.55). Who am I to turn down such a specific recommendation, right? The sandwich was served on a warm baguette with Asian slaw and greens and came with crispy seaweed and lotus root chips.

Anything served on a soft, warm baguette already gets bonus points in my book. I was pleasantly surprised that the grilled chicken was actually more like chicken satay in flavor. Instead of straight greens, these were tossed in what I think was toasted sesame oil. Jalapeno aioli sounds spicy, and it was plenty tasty but not hot. What had sounded to me like a standard bahn mi in description was actually an elevated version that I would definitely return to enjoy. Do not miss the crispy seaweed and lotus root chips — if you like Korean dried seaweed, you will definitely dig these.

During a second visit I was going to get the kimchi sliders, but they were out, so I went for a “big plate,” which comes with two sides. Ordering the candy chicken with walnuts and sesame seeds in brown sauce, I chose vegetable lo mein and sauteed mushrooms and spinach instead of a scoop of rice. Before hitting the register to order, I had surveyed the landscape and saw that patrons that ordered rice got a large ice cream scoop of rice on their plates, which didn’t look that appetizing to me. I carried my number to a table, and before I could even sit down, a gentlemen brought over my plate of food. While the chicken sandwich from my first visit tasted like it was freshly made, the elements for this meal were clearly sitting around in the kitchen to come out that quickly. My plate of candy chicken was basically sesame chicken with a few candied walnuts thrown in the mix with no brown sauce in sight. The lo mein was standard Chinese takeout noodles. The most unfortunate thing on the plate was the soggy spinach — you can definitely skip that.

My experiences at Satya Eastern Kitchen have been hit or miss, but to be fair, I’ve only been a couple times so far. While I would return for that chicken satay sandwich, I’m completely unconvinced about the “big plate” Chinese takeout dishes. There are way better Chinese options in Midtown. Has anyone tried the sliders yet? Let me know if they’re any good in the comments!

Satya Eastern Kitchen, 750 8th Ave (at 46th st)

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