Archive for '56th btw. B’way+8th'

Yakitori Totto is My New Favorite Midtown Lunch

Yakitori Totto

It might surprise you to hear me say this, but being forced to work in such a tourist driven part of New York City is not always a bad thing. Sure, a glut of fat mid-westerners means that Midtown will never have a shortage of TGI Friday’s, Sbarro’s and shrimp restaurants based on Tom Hanks movies. But an abundance of Japanese tourists and businesspeople create the same, albeit more positive, effect:  Midtown is full of authentic Japanese food-  and I’m not talking about sushi.  I’m talking authentic kaiseki meals at places like Hakubai (in the Kitano Hotel), ramen at places like Menchanko Tei, amazing izakayas (after work drinking and eating spots) like Sake Bar Hagi, and the grill-centric Yakitori Totto, and its two sister spots Yakitori Torys and Aburiya Kinnosuke.

Traditionally yakitori (and the izakaya that often serve it) has always been an after work or late night snack type of thing, to accompany drinking, so it made sense that these places wouldn’t be open for lunch.  Of course this is America, and my desire for meat on a stick knows no cultural boundaries!  Many of us who work in Midtown have always lamented that these places weren’t open for lunch… and as a business owner, what’s more important?  Authenticity, or paying the rent?

So, you can imagine my excitement when Yakitori Totto announced last month that they were now open for lunch. But Totto is not cheap-a single skewer costs $3+ at dinner time- and even though I had begged for this moment I secretly knew that it probably wouldn’t be cheap enough to quality as a true Midtown Lunch.

Yesterday, I walked over to 55th btw. B’way+8th for the moment of truth.

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Pork Belly w/ Chili Leeks Still Good at the New Szechuan Gourmet

Szechuan Gourmet 56

After Wednesdays false alarm, I excitedly hit up the new location of Szechuan Gourmet (on 56th btw. B’way+8th) yesterday right at noon, only to find out they were still waiting for the city to give them the green light to open (it came about an hour later.) But they were willing to do take out orders- so I did what had to be done: double cooked pork belly with chili leeks, to go, with white rice and hot and sour soup. The version served at the flagship, two starred NYT, restaurant (on 39th btw. 5+6th) is quite possibly my favorite Chinese food dish in the city. But the question remained, would the version at this new location stand up.

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