Archive for September 2013

The Search for Midtown’s Best Katsudon

What do you picture when you think of Japanese food? Sushi probably comes to mind first, right? Then maybe teriyaki of some sort? Possibly ramen something or other? While these answers are all correct, I’d like to assert my opinion that the greatest Japanese food is actually katsudon. What is katsudon, you may ask? Well, according to Wikipedia, it’s “a bowl of rice topped with a deep-fried pork cutlet, egg, and condiments.” So basically, it’s the one Japanese dish that Americans wish they had thought of. Deep-fried meat with egg? Sign me up!

I first discovered this wondrous food when I reviewed Benton Café on 45th street a few months ago. Even though Benton’s katsudon is relatively cheap, I was immediately smitten and vowed to try as many katsudon options in midtown as I could. Sadly, the dish is most often over the Midtown Lunch limit of $10, but if you look hard enough, there are options within our budget.

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Lunch Links (The “Schnitzel Sandwich” Edition)

Photo courtesy of Eataku
  • The Schnitzel & Things truck makes and outstanding schnitzel sandwich [Eataku]
  • Num Pang is opening in Midtown West!?!?! [Grub Street]
  • These guys are big fans of Glaze Teriyaki’s new location [II]
  • The szechuan pork dumplings from Land of Plenty are one of the best dishes in NYC [FitR]
  • Olympic Pita’s spicy sausage laffa is one of the hottest sandwiches in NYC [SENY]
  • The Grill on Wheels kosher truck puts fries in their sandwiches! [Tasty Eating]
  • Bagel Boss is now open in Murray Hill [DNAinfo]

Phil’s Steaks Expands Again With A 3rd Truck

Big things are coming for cheese steak favorite Phil’s Steaks. Earlier in the year they expanded to a second truck called Lil Jawn. Now, just months later, we can look forward to the addition of Big Jawn!

Flatiron News: Mad. Sq. Eats Starts Today (and More…)

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.

We have come another half-year to the time when we head outdoors to Worth Square at the corner of 5th Avenue and Broadway from 24th to 25th to eat, drink, be merry and complain about the prices.

While I am not as excited for Mad Sq Eats as previous years (see above article about prices), I always try to withhold some judgment until I try the newcomers. This year, we have Slide, a Bleecker Street restaurant that specializes in sliders with international flavors. Also, Doughnuttery will be in attendance. When I have tried their mini donuts from Chelsea Market, they are best when still warm. Madison Square Park neighbor, SD26, the East 26th Street spin off restaurant of the fabled San Domenico, is also new. Considering their regular Prix Fixe Menu Two Course Lunch costs $28, I would be shocked if they will be ML friendly. They might have been brought in to replace Ilili, which will not be participating, because they just opened Box by Ilili in the pedestrian space south of 24th Street. (Spoiler alert: I have been. It is great. Stay tuned next week for more details.)

There’s also good news for BBQ fans…

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Schmackary’s Funfetti Cookie is Irresistable

The Schmackary’s Funfetti cookie launched last month, and since then I haven’t been to the store without purchasing one. I mean, look at it, how can it not make your day at least 20% better? Rainbow sprinkles, vanilla and cream cheese frosting make up this playful-looking and deliciously sweet cookie. Really, that cream cheese frosting is the kicker. Schmackary’s, you’ve done it again!

Schmackary’s, 362 W 45th St (btw. 8+9th). 646-801-9866

New Potato House Cart Parks in Midtown

Yesterday, we noticed a new cart, Potato House, parking on the NW corner of 50th Street and 6th Avenue. According to the menu, the cart serves stuffed baked potatoes with “salads.” I say this with some hesitancy because I actually think they mean toppings instead of salads, but regardless, for $7 you get to pick two “salads” with your baked potato from a list including tuna, crab, eggplant, seaweed, carrot, cabbage, mushroom, olives, sour cream, salmon, zucchini, beet, and pickles. They also offer a bunch of sauces to choose from.

Potato House’s website currently doesn’t link to anything, and likewise, Potato House is pretty elusive on FB or Twitter (thought the icons do appear on the cart itself). Best bet for now is to try your luck on 50th Street and 6th Avenue!

Potato House Cart, NW Corner of 50th Street and 6th Avenue

Manganaro’s Hero Boy is Closing, Long Live Manganaro’s Hero Boy: Rumors of old-school Italian-American culinary landmark Manganaro's Hero Boy's death apparently have been greatly exaggerated. The other day we reported that the 9th Ave landmark famed for its decades-long familial spat that makes the Lannisters look like lambs by comparison, but it looks like the new owners of their building have been persuaded otherwise. One can only guess at how much cash was involved in that persuasion, because nobody in the deal is talking. Rejoice, you can still get your heroes even if actual Italian sandwiches are but a block away!

Crisp Express Replaces Simply Sliders

Earlier this month, we reported that Crisp‘s 3rd Ave. location closed after their lease ran out. We were sad to see them go, but before it can really set in, Crisp Express opened this week on 43rd St. (btw 3rd+Lex), where Simply Sliders used to be. Their menu looks smaller than before (it is ‘Express’ after all), offering a few different falafel sandwiches, hummus, and salads. So we’ve got out gourmet falafel back in Midtown East, but we’ve lost our sliders. Are you happy with the trade?

Coolhaus is Giving Away Free Sammies Today

Coolhaus Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream SandwichAre you a bad enough dude (or dudette) to brave the literal definition of tourist hell for a free artisanal ice cream sandwich? Gird your loins, put yer guns on, and descend into Times Square as Coolhaus hands out their awesome ice cream sandwiches with edible wrappers today from 12:30-4:30 to promote Tumblr and Advertising Week. Keep an eye on their Twitter feed for specifics They’ll be on 43rd in front of NASDAQ, but expect a line like no line has ever seen before. (Do not miss the dirty mint or Mexican chocolate ice cream, either is worth body-checking an entire Iowa family vacation to get at)

Buy 1 Slice Get 1 Free at Valducci’s on Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Normally found on 52nd and Park, Valducci’s Pizza Truck has been making its way around midtown more lately. Today, on the northwest corner of 50th Street and 6th Avenue, Valducci’s has a sign out advertising “Buy one slice, get one slice free.” According to the sign, the deal is good on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (note the plurality). It’s not clear how long this offer will last, but “buy 1 get 1 free” two days a week seems pretty generous to me. Check their Twitter for their location.