Archive for April 2015

Pleasant Korean Surprises at Liberty Cafe

Administrative Professional’s Day is around the corner, and while my current admin is a breeze to shop for (riesling and/or roses), I once worked with a gal who loved chocolates. Not the fancy pants fare from Mast Brothers or Jacques Torres, but the salt-of-the-earth boxes of mixed chocolates from Sees. She would take a bite into a random chocolate and, to borrow the adage from Forest Gump, take delight in the surprise inside. And who doesn’t like surprises, such as Liberty Cafe near Bryant Park.

Liberty Cafe’s outward appearance screams mediocrity and its Yelp reviews indicate much worse. But thanks to a tip from Dan M, we found out that Liberty Cafe harbors a pleasant surprise – a Korean lunch counter in the back that serves bibimbap, udon, ramen, bulgogi bowls, dumplings, smoothies, and more – all for ML friendly prices.
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Choice Streets is Pulling Back Up to the Intrepid

Village Voice is once again bringing together an impressive roster of food trucks for their annual Coice Streets Event. Even more exciting, it means that it will soon be warm enough to hang out on the Intrepid. At leat, we all hope so.

This year, there will be over twenty food trucks along with booze, games, and music. Most of the participants are the usual suspects, ranging from ML favorite Treats Truck to Valducci’s Pizza to the Hungarian Langos Truck. Most exciting is this will be another opportunity to taste Vendy Award winning vendors that don’t usually make the rounds in Midtown. Most notably, Solber Pupusas and Rookie of the Year Snowday.

The event will be on Tuesday, May 5 starting at 8pm (VIP tickets get you in at 7pm). Tickets range from $55 (general admission) to $75 (VIP) and can be purchased at their website here. Since the event falls on Cinco de Mayo, expect live music from a mariachi band.

Untamed Moves Beyond Sandwiches

Untamed, purveryors of large braised meat sandwiches, are branching out beyond sandwiches to meat plates. As you can see from their helpful illustration, each plate features meat, veggies, and grits, and they start at a hefty $11 each (and that’s for a veggie plate!). Now, normally I’d say a sandwich beats a plate any day, but when the plate includes grits? That could tip the scales. Have any Lunchers given them a try? Let us know what you think.

Untamed Sandwiches, 43 West 39th Street btwn 5th and 6th Avenues, (646) 669-9397

Find Comfort From the Elusive Spring Inside HanaMichi

In need of a warm culinary hug from all the bipolar weather recently? Impatient to see some blossoms and leaves on the trees already? HanaMichi comforts the senses on all those fronts. And with too many lunch specials on 32nd Street in the $15+ range, Hanamichi’s menu is a sight for sore eyes with several options within ML budget.

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Hide Chan’s Lunch Specials Hit the Sweet Spot

This is a very old picture I dug from the archives.

It’s been eons since Midtown Lunch even breathed Hide-Chan’s name, which is unfortunate. In the 4+ years since it was mentioned here, a lot has happened; Totto opened directly underneath it (that link has a far more recent photo of what the front of Hide Chan looks like), the menu has undergone a lot of changes (they no longer offer megaton ramen, for example), but the most important question is: has the ramen remained delicious?

Find out after the jump…

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Biryani Cart Is MIA on 46th Street


It’s possible that they are just at their health inspection which occurs every two years and is notorious for taking weeks, but I have not seen Biryani Cart on 46th Street in close to a month now. I was alarmed this past Friday when I spotted a nearby imposter cart with the creative name “Biryani Car” in their usual spot.

I’ve reached out to Meru, the owner of Biryani Cart, but it seems his phone is not currently taking messages. So unfortunately I can not confirm or deny that Biryani Cart will be back on the street. The two-time Vendy Award-winning Biryani Cart is one of Midtown Lunch’s first discoveries and their excellent kati rolls have been on our regular lunch rotation for the very beginning. We will keep you updated as we get more information.

Free Cone Day At Ben & Jerry’s is Upon Us: The weather is warmer, and coincides with a free ice cream cone giveaway at Ben & Jerry's. Luckily, both NYC shops are in Midtown: on the concourse level at Rockefeller Center, and on 44th btw. 7th+8th. You can snag your freebies from noon to 8 p.m.

Breads Bakery Coming Soon to New Bryant Park Food Kiosks

Super exciting news – three new kiosks will be opening up in Bryant Park, in the old Starbucks/’wichcraft spaces – Le Pain Quotidien opens today, April 13, and Wafels & Dinges is scheduled to open second, sometime between April 15 and 30th.

I know, that’s great and all but the most exciting is Breads Bakery will have its first midtown outpost! No word yet on exact opening date for that kiosk, but I will update you as I find out more information.

New Pret a Manger Opens in Penn Station Today w/ Free Stuff

A new Pret A Manger is opening in Penn Station tomorrow – exact location above because I could not personally describe to you where anything inside Penn Station is. While I haven’t personally posted about them here on Midtown Lunch, I go there a little more often than you might think – mostly for their amazing chocolate chip cookie, which Serious Eats declared the best chocolate chip cookie in midtown some time ago (while I have a different place I think would take the top prize now, I can’t justify buying 8-10 cookies all the time). That post even caused a temporary shortage of Pret cookies

All that to say, I get cookies from Pret whenever I need a quick pick me up. And now if you work in the Penn Station area, you have one more location from which you can do so.

In celebration of their first transport hub shop in the city, during the grand opening today, they will be giving away tote bags throughout the day (while supplies last). The newest location will have seating for 30+ and boasts 1,900 square feet. Also, like at every location, unsold food will be donated daily to City Harvest.

Store hours will be:
Monday-Thursday: 4am – 12am
Friday: 4am – 1am
Saturday: 5am – 1am
Sunday: 6am to 12am

Freeloaders, engage!

Grand Gourmet Returns and So Does Your Chance to Score VIP Tix

Once again, there will be a big food festival inside Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station called Grand Gourmet. This is a huge event where food businesses from the area set up shop and serve some of their best dishes. Not only do you get all this food in one place, but it’s a chance to try some higher end restaurants that are a little out of the usual ML price point. Tickets are $125 for general admission and include all the tastings, plus net proceeds go to charity (to local homeless service programs in the neighborhood).

If that’s a little out of your price range, here’s your chance to score a pair of VIP tickets to the event on Thursday, May 7, which will last from 7:00 (6:15 for VIPs)-9:30pm. Just take a look at the list of participating restaurants and tell us which you are most excited to try and why in the comments below. We will randomly pick a winner on Thursday, April 30 at 3pm. For more information, click here and to purchase tickets, click here.