Last month we brought you word that Taste of India had opened next to Carribean Kitchen in 1 Penn Plaza, replacing Bruce’s Burger. While some may lament the loss of a hamburger place, we all know there’s more than enough new burger places popping up in New York these days (ahem, Shake Shack). Some of you in the comments section mentioned that Taste of India is serviceable and it was worthy of investigation because there’s a shortage of Indian options around the Penn Station area. So investigate, I did.
Archive for '34th btw. 7+8th'
Life is all about expectations. Go into a meal expecting greatness, and 9 times out of 10 you’ll probably leave disappointed. Go into a meal expecting to die, and you’ve got a good chance of walking out feeling like a winner. In those special cases, leaving without feeling sick is a pleasant accomplishment in and of itself. And that is how I felt walking into Tad’s Steaks on Thursday. I was scared. Real scared.
I would call Tad’s a fast food steak place, but that doesn’t really do it justice. It is a Midtown institution- if by institution you mean place everyone knows about. If a restaurant has to be eaten in to qualify, than maybe institution isn’t the proper term. In fact, while most people have a very strong (negative) opinion about Tad’s, few people have actually eaten there. See, there are three kinds of people who lunch in Midtown:
1. Those who have braved a meal at Tad’s, and come away sick or disgusted (a few people I know.)
2. Those who have braved a meal at Tad’s, and thought it was good enough to return (uh, only one person I know, and he accompanied me on this trip.)
3. And everyone else. The haters who have never been, but will not hesitate to tell you how terrible Tad’s must be.
I’ve always been a card carrying member of that last group. I didn’t need to eat at Tad’s to know it was terrible. Whether it’s the already poured glasses of wine, stacked on the counter, covered in saran wrap; or the interior that hasn’t been changed (or probably cleaned) since 1974, Tad’s is not very welcoming. Even the $7 steak lunch special, which should be selling point enough (for its cheapness), ends up doing the opposite. Why is this so cheap? How can they make a steak so cheap? You know what? Scratch that. I don’t want to know.
I have no problem turning over the site to lunch’ers who want to write about favorite places of their own. Lunch’er Grace put together that awesome list of Midtown Soups, and Lunch’er Kayoko introduced us to the Out of Bounds Chinese food in Midtown East. Now, I’m excited to introduce the newest contributor: Danny from the blog Food in Mouth. He works near Madison Square Garden and is checking in with a report on Carribean Kitchen, a hidden fast food place in a Midtown South alley.
“You look like Harold.” Wait, what? My name is Danny. “You know, from Harold and Kumar.” I chuckled along with the friendly cashier lady at Caribbean Kitchen, but really all I wanted was to pay for the jerk chicken and be on my merry way. Actually what I really wanted was a substitute for the Jamaican Dutchy Cart because for those of us who work in the Southern part of Midtown it is out of the way sometimes. No worries though, Caribbean Kitchen to the rescue. Semi-hidden from foot trafic, Caribbean Kitchen is located in this alley in between 7th and 8th ave. You might think an ‘alley’ sounds shady, but as you can see from the map, it’s really quite close to Macy’s and Madison Square Garden.
The menu covers all the common Caribbean dishes like curried chicken, curried goat, oxtail, jerked chicken, jerked pork, stewed chicken, and escovitched fish. They have small portions ($7 to $8) or large ($8 to $10), but unless you have munchies like Harold and Kumar, you can probably get by quite nicely on the small. You get the standard option of white rice, or rice and peas, a little bit of vegetables, some plantains, and the meat of your choice.
One of my favorite (in theory) lunch places, that I don’t get to nearly enough, is the Lunch Box Buffet on 34th St. btw. 7+8th. It’s been mentioned a few times in the comments, and I just never have gotten around to writing about it. A fairly simple concept, it combines two of my favorite things- value and cheap chinese food. 5 items for $5. How does it get any better than that? Well, I’ll tell you how: they’ve added a Fay Da Bakery to the front of the location.
Lunch Box Buffet isn’t necessarily the best cheap chinese food in the area, but it has got the largest selection, the best pricing concept (especially for variety), and it’s much less intimidating than the far more adventurous Ying Du (on 38th btw. 7+8th.) All the food is labeled, and the’ve got plenty of non-chinese items, like the very popular fried chicken. Now with the addition of Fay Da it becomes much easier to ignore the cheapness of the Chinese food… you can always follow it up with a delicious custard bun. Read more »