Flatiron Lunch: Num Pang NoMad Continues Num Pang Tradition of Amazing Sandwiches
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.
A couple weeks have passed since Num Pang opened their NoMad flagship, so I headed over with two friends to see if held up to the standards set by the two previous locations. It’s hard to continue to serve some of the most delicious sandwiches ever while expanding.
We arrived just in time for 1pm lunch rush, so the line was to the door and the area waiting for orders was packed. The line moved very fast with 2 cashiers and a million people prepping food in the kitchen. By my estimation, it probably took just under 5 minutes for 4 dishes. This place is fast! I was lucky that my friends grabbed seats before I arrived, but I noticed a pretty quick turnover, so I think if you wanted to stay and eat, you could make it work. Just don’t roll in with a group of 10 co-workers expecting seats. It ain’t going to happen.
One of the perks of staying to eat are the purse or murse or tote or messenger bag hooks under the tables, so your bag doesn’t have to lay on the floor (and the chairs don’t have backs so you don’t have that option.)
If you are staying to enjoy your food, you will find bottles of Sriracha on the tables in their own special holders.
Or if you are taking your meal to-go, the Sriracha is ready to accompany you back to your office.
Surprisingly (and shockingly?), none of my fellow contributors had tried Num Pang’s pulled duroc pork sandwich ($8.25) at the midtown location and since it is one of their signature items, I figured I would do the honors. The bread was sooo good. The meat is prepared (or at least served) with spicy honey that adds great flavor and enough liquid so there was nothing dry about the sandwich. I am not sure how I only ended up with a photo of the outside of the sandwich, but I think it had something to do with how hungry we were. I am hesitant to say anything discouraging about this sandwich, because it was one of the most wonderful foods I have ever had. But I will mention that like all places, they could be a little better about pushing toppings to the edge.
When Num Pang Flatiron opened, a big deal was made about the fact that this location would have main items beyond sandwiches. So we felt the responsibility to give these items a shot. On the rice bowl, we ordered the grilled pork steak ($9.75). We had the option of brown rice, but stuck with jasmine rice which was greeted with enthusiastic head nodding by the cashier. We all have had those amazing dishes with a great combo of toppings on perfectly cooked rice (bibimbap, donburi), but this was not that. The toppings (roasted carrots, yellow squash, green beans, grilled pork, shredded cilantro, yogurt chili mayo) were all good, and the green sauce on the pork was great. Instead of adding to the depth of flavor, the jasmine rice added nothing to the dish, and it seemed to us that the whole dish never came together.
We also ordered the vermicelli noodle bowl with coconut tiger shrimp ($9.75). I had a couple of amazing bites when I got enough of the liquid with the other ingredients (egg patties, shrimp, shredded romaine, sprouts, peanut, cilantro, corn). Since it is served as a deconstructed noodle bowl with a small container of liquid, I don’t think they gave us enough sauce for the whole dish. We observed peanuts in separate container, so reasoned that if you are only slightly allergic, you can leave them out. But if you are very allergic, it is probably too late for you, because they are already in your container.
I know this might cause a site-wide scandal, but we also ordered a salad with roast chicken ($9.00). A salad on midtownlunch.com?!?!?! Yes, a salad. A salad with romaine, shredded cabbage, scallions, sprouts, basil, peanuts (also came separately in a small container), red pepper, red onion, and fennel. The chicken was in large pieces and might have been better if we had chopped it into smaller pieces. But the dressing really made this salad great. I can’t tell you what was in the dressing, but I can tell you, I kept thinking about it over the next couple days.
I didn’t take a photo of the blood orange lemonade ($3.25), but I highly recommended it. It was perfectly tart and worked well with the spicy sandwiches.
Not sure if I am ever going to be able to break the pull of the deliciousness of Num Pang sandwiches to order salad or rice or noodle bowl again. My friend wondered if the other dishes weren’t as good as the sandwiches, because Num Pang has perfected the sandwiches at other locations. But I think the salads could be fine for that coworker who insists on a salad every day. And maybe when the weather gets better, lettuce might be more appealing. And at $3 a pop, I could see the blood orange lemonade becoming an expensive habit.
THE + (What people who like this place will say)
- I love Num Pang Sandwiches always and forever.
- I’m glad that Num Pang finally gave us the seating we needed to enjoy their sandwiches.
- When Num Pang perfects their non-sandwich options, they will be unstoppable.
THE – (What people who don’t like this place will say)
- It is a travesty that Num Pang’s non-sandwich dishes aren’t as good as the sandwiches.
- The fact they can’t properly make jasmine rice is not a good sign for the future.
- Salad schmalad.
Num Pang, 1129 Broadway btwn 25th & 26th Street, (212) 647-8889