Chef Street: A New Food Court in the Unlikeliest of Places

I was actually terrified to go check out the new food court in Macy’s. Not only am I allergic to shopping, but this is the holiday season and you have to battle a crowd of window-gazing tourists to even enter the doors of the department store. Oh, the things we do for food!

When I finally got to Chef Street, which is in the basement of Macy’s, I was pleasantly surprised that there were seats available and I could actually order food and eat it in a reasonable amount of time without fighting crowds for a seat. But this food court just opened last week and I can’t guarantee that the crowds looking for Christmas gifts won’t discover it by the time this post goes live.

For us lunchers, there are some potentially exciting new food options down here. I was relieved to see that it wasn’t a group of chain kiosks, but rather four new concepts in food trailers overseen by some well-regarded chefs from around the US.

The health nuts can go for Michelle Bernstein’s salads, bowls, and sandwiches at Crumb on Parchment, while Rollie’s offers traditional fast food like burgers, dogs, and chicken sandwiches for well under $10.

There’s also a selection of taquitos at Taquitoria which is overseen by Iron Chef Marc Forgione and ramen at Tabo Noodles, which is a new concept from Takashi Yagihashi.

Although the weather hasn’t justified it, I was still craving some noodles, so I chose the shoyu tonkotsu pork ramen from Tabo.

It was $12, which was quite high for the portion I received. It was in a wide shallow bowl and could have had more soup. But the amount of fillings was decent and the flavors were pretty good.

The bowl was stuffed with springy noodles, some bamboo shoots, an egg, bok choy, mushrooms, fish cakes, and a piece of pork belly. The broth itself was richly flavored and creamy, but I found it a little on the greasy side. The pork belly was also fine but could have used a bit more char on the fat. The noodles, however, were cooked perfectly.

It’s far from the best bowl of ramen in Midtown and it alone is not worth venturing down here. But they do also offer gyoza and fried chicken.

I think this addition is most exciting to people that work right near Macy’s (or inside the store) and shoppers. However, there are a few ways to get out of here for under $10 (mostly at Rollie’s or Taquitoria) and the hidden location is kind of fun to show co-workers. I think once the holiday crowds disperse and the food court has some time to work out the kinks (although everything ran smoothly when I was there), this will be worth a re-visit.

Chef Street, Macy’s lower level, 151 West 34th Street (at Broadway), (212) 868-3001


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