Chimi Chicken at Picnic Basket Worth Heading Underground

We recently got a tip from Lunch’er joer that there was an addition to the lunch options at the Crystal Pavilion. “What is the Crystal Pavilion?” this recently transplanted Midtown Lunch’er asked herself. Well, it is the subterranean food court within 805 3rd Ave. Go down the escalator, and then behind it, and you’ll find The Picnic Basket, which opened there a few months ago. The menu leans Mediterranean, but I was told the chimi chicken sandwich was the thing to try. 

The menu at The Picnic Basket, billed as a gourmet sandwich and espresso bar, skews vegetarian although pastrami, turkey and chicken are on offer. Many of the sandwiches involve hummus, egg, greens, goat cheese, and other items intended to not make you feel like a total fat ass after lunch. That being said, I was steered toward the chimi chicken sandwich that you see above, which comes on a default ciabatta roll (whole grain and pita breads are also available). Within is grilled chicken pieces, salad greens, tomato, chimichurri sauce, and chipotle mayo.

This is all good, and the sandwich wins in terms of taste. My only quibble was that in the few block walk back to my office the ciabatta became pretty soggy, due to the two sauces, chicken juices, and tomato. I would maybe suggest getting the mayo on the side because that seemed to be mostly what was dripping down my arm while eating the sandwich.

You can combine many of the menu items into a more sizable lunch if you so choose. There’s a soup/sandwich combo, salad/side combo, soup/side combo, and the sandwich/side combo. I got the last combo, and chose roasted sweet potato as my side, although the quinoa salad and zucchini strips also sounded like solid options. They were good, especially after I drizzled some of the accompanying chipotle mayo and sprinkled some salt on top. As you can see, it’s a sizable serving and I was more than full after eating this and the chicken sandwich. So, if you don’t want to go over the $10 mark, there’s probably no need to pay $12 (with tax) for this combo.

The Picnic Basket, 65 W. 37th St. (btw. 5th + 6th), (212) 382-2627; 805 3rd Ave. (btw 49th + 50th), down the escalator, (212) 371-6300


  • I am getting the same combo tomorrow. Thanks for introducing the place. The sandwich looks delicious..especially the bread. Roasted sweet potato sounds awsome too.

    • bought the exact same combo today except I got the multi grain bread. It was good though at $8.25, they could put a slice of cheese or some sauteed vegetable. I also got the roasted sweet potato. They were very generous with the amount. If I wasn’t hungry(which never really happens), I could just buy the sweet potato and have that as lunch.

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    The Turkey and Herbs is better in my opinon on a ciabatta… And for those looking for a healthier lunch, the Chicken Edamame salad with Tahini Dressing instead of the balsamic vinagrette is really good and it’s not that shitty cold, flavorless chicken they use for the salad.

  • Great review. Who you callin fat ass?

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