Archive for 'Baja Fresh'

Kogi’s Korean Tacos Not Coming to NYC Anytime Soon

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Roy Choi & Lee Anne Wong During Last Month’s Midtown Kogi Invasion

A rumor that had been floating around for a bit was finally confirmed at last night’s Eater panel at the 92YTribeca: Lee Anne Wong is no longer working as the East coast rep for the LA based Kogi BBQ Truck.  According to the former Top Chef contestant “Kogi will be focusing on their West Coast operations” while she moves on to “some very exciting projects down the line.”

So does this mean Kogi in NYC is dead?  Kogi’s Chef Roy Choi had this to say: “I love NYC! We are doing our best but my energies right now are trying to keep the food fresh to def! 55th and Lex….it will go down in history :)” History?  That doesn’t sound too promising.

Could Baja Fresh be our best chance of getting “Kogi” to NYC?

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NYC Baja Fresh Says Kogi Tacos Could Happen

It looks like my hope of having knock off “kogi tacos” come to Baja Fresh here in New York is not just a pipe dream.  One of the reps from the NYC Baja Fresh location responded to our Tuesday story with this info:  “[The Kogi Menu is] currently being tested in one corporate location in Irvine, CA. However, this location is actually our prototype, same menu style, etc… So it is possible that we could be serving them soon, but I cannot confirm. I am looking into a more definite time frame, etc. Also, I highly doubt the word kogi is trademarked, just as Long John Silver’s is now selling Baja Tacos…“  Yeah, but Baja Fresh didn’t invent the baja style taco.  The Kogi BBQ Truck did invent this.  Either way, I hope it happens.  KOREAN TACOS IN MIDTOWN OR BUST!!!

Related:
Is Baja Fresh Ripping Off Kogi? (And More Importantly How Soon Will The Midtown Branch be on Board?)

Is Baja Fresh Ripping Off Kogi? (And More Importantly How Soon Will The Midtown Branch be on Board?)

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Photos Courtesy of OC Mexican Food Blog

There have been scores of Kogi BBQ Truck Korean taco imitators, both in LA (where the truck is based) and here in NYC (where we hope one day a Kogi truck will be based.)  But none are as big as this:  The OC Mexican Food blog is reporting that a Baja Fresh in Irvine is now selling something called “Baja Kogi”, a menu with a Korean style burrito and Korean tacos complete with “sesame salsa” and “kimchi slaw”.  The Kogi BBQ Truck rep I spoke too hadn’t even heard about this yet, so it’s unlikely it’s been officially licensed by the company- and right now it’s only at that one Baja Fresh location in California.  I just hope Baja Fresh adds it to their Midtown location (on Lex btw. 45+46th), before they get sued and have to scrap the whole thing! (Although technically “kogi” is just the Korean word for beef meat, so I’m not sure if it’s illegal to use it in this way.)

Ever since Momofuku Ssam Bar stopped selling their namesake dish, there has been a Korean burrito hole in my heart, and you know I’ll take Korean tacos however I can get them.  Bring it Baja Fresh! [via Food Section Twitter]

Related:
At Lunch Now: Live Coverage of the Kogi BBQ/Dessert Truck Midtown Mash-Up
New York City Baja Fresh Nails the Baja Chicken Burrito

New York City Baja Fresh Nails the Baja Chicken Burrito

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Apparently Monday at 1:30pm is the time to hit up the new Baja Fresh on Lexington btw. 45+46th.  5 people in line.  Nobody at the salsa bar.  Got my food in five minutes. (A stark contrast with… I don’t know… say… opening day.) Finally, the chance to enjoy one of the things I really miss about living in Los Angeles: the Baja Chicken Burrito.  Since this chain opened up their first Manhattan location last Monday I’ve heard a lot of words thrown around.  Overrated, overhyped, meh.  To those people I say… you may be right.

Expecting Mexican food greatness from Baja Fresh is like hoping for rare roast beef on your Arby’s Sandwich. And complaining that it’s not real Mexican food is like wishing that In N Out Burger served thicker patties. You don’t compare In N Out to JG Melon; you compare it to McDonalds.  In other words, in the world of fast food pseudo-Mexican corporate chains (Chipotle, Qdoba, Taco Bell), Baja Fresh is the king. And in a terrible Mexican food city like New York, any decent addition is welcomed with open arms.

Baja Fresh

Of course I base that opinion entirely on the Baja Chicken Burrito, which is pretty much the only thing I order at Baja Fresh. But after hearing negative things about the New Jersey locations of Baja Fresh, I was concerned that this NYC franchise wasn’t going to be able to pull it off.

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Baja Fresh vs. Chipotle: 1:30pm today via Twitter: "@MidtownLunch  Baja Fresh still packed today, but the line at Chipotle was almost non-existant. The tide is turning."

At Lunch Now: The New Baja Fresh is Completely Packed

12:40pm and It’s organized chaos at the new Baja Fresh, where people are reporting wait times of 15-25 minutes (5 to 10 mins to order, and another 15 waiting for food.) Not bad, but the people are still pouring in, and I overheard the manager saying that the kitchen just started falling behind. In other words, I’m guessing we’ll be hearing of some 30-40+ wait times very soon. I’ve waited over three years for this… I guess I can wait another day or two. Were you there? Let us know how it was in the comments.

First Look: The Food From the New Baja Fresh (Opening Today)

The day has finally arrived! The first Manhattan location of the popular West Coast chain Baja Fresh opens today on Lexington btw. 45+46th (in the old Zen Burger space.) Last week we gave away the chance to sample the place for free before they officially opened, and one of the winners sent in this report:

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“I went [on Sunday] night. The place was roomy and reminded me of a bare-looking Qdoba. The food was fresh and good but nothing to write home about. My friend and I ordered a chicken breast baja burrito ($7.75), a mahi mahi diablo burrito ($9.23), guacamole/chips ($4.29) and churros ($2.58). Please note that each burrito order came with free corn tortilla chips.

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“The grilled chicken breast baja burrito was the best thing we got. It was basically grilled chicken breast with guacamole and pico de gallo wrapped with a flour tortilla. The whole burrito is heated/toasted to look like taco bell’s grilled stuff burrito.”

And then things went south…

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Win Free Baja Fresh Before They Open on Tuesday

It looks like Manhattan’s first location of Baja Fresh (on Lexington btw. 45+46th) is set to open on Tuesday (5/26) as scheduled.  One of the owners emailed yesterday to invite me to sample their food, free, before they open.  Sadly for me though, I don’t take free food from places that I write about- and as tempting as it is to make an exception for this exciting occasion, I’d much prefer going on opening day and tasting the food like a regular customer. I want to try the food they serve to paying Midtown Lunchers… not the free stuff they’re giving to people they know are going to promote the place.

BUT… that doesn’t mean you can’t have the free food.  I asked the owner if I could give my slot away to one of my readers, and he agreed! In fact he said he’d be happy to give away spots to three Midtown Lunch readers (plus one guest each.)  So, if you’d like to try Baja Fresh for free this weekend, before they open to the public, just comment below why you think you deserve to win.  3 winners will be drawn randomly on Friday afternoon.  (And if you don’t win, I’ll see you there on Tuesday!)

Related:
What To Expect From Midtown’s New Baja Fresh

Midtown is Getting a Second Baja Fresh!

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And the Baja Fresh invasion of New York City continues… thanks to Midtown Lunchers “Michelle” & “Mike” for sending along this great news: coming soon signs just went up for a second Baja Fresh on Broadway btw. 40+41st. in the old Zest space. As for the first Baja Fresh location (in the old Zen Burger space on Lex btw. 45+46th), the official signage went up at the end of last week and they had an open house for prospective employees yesterday… so we are clearly just a few weeks away. UPDATE: Eater is reporting that the Lexington location will open the day after Memorial Day, and the Broadway location will open sometime this fall.

A photo of the new signage on Lex is after the jump…

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Don’t Try Going to Baja Fresh on May 11th

It just goes to show, you can’t believe everything you read… from the owners of the new Baja Fresh (opening on Lex btw. 44+45th): “We will definitely not be opening the week of May 11th.  We are hoping to open the week of May 19th, but it might not even be until the week after that.”  They claim to have no idea how that reporter got the May 11th date, but wanted to make sure there weren’t a bunch of disappointed Midtown Lunchers come the week of May 11th.  As soon as the staff is trained, the gas is on, and food is ready to be served, they’ll let us know. (Me thinks we might be building this up a bit too much… I hope they don’t disappoint.)