When talking about Cuban sandwiches, the names I see mentioned most frequently on Midtown Lunch are Cafe Cello (on 46th btw. 5+6th) and Margon (on 46th btw. 6+7th), both reviewed several times over the past few years. Being a huge fan of the roast pork platter at Cafe Cello, and having heard terrific things about the Cubano at Margon, I took it upon myself to grab a Cuban sandwich from each place in the same afternoon. I snagged a willing co-worker from the office and we agreed to eat half and half of each.
Archive for 'Cafe Cello'
When I started working near 46th Street and 6th Avenue, I had no idea that I was just down the block from Midtown Lunch royalty. Zach first wrote about Cafe Cello in July 2006 and loved the roast pork so much, it’s been the Midtown Lunch food logo ever since (on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, etc.) I didn’t know any of that when a co-worker brought in their cubano sandwich and left me with a case of lunch envy. I knew I can’t be the only one who has forgotten about this place, so I decided a thorough re-investigation was in order… you know, for science.
When I go to Cafe Cello (on 46th btw. 5+6th) I pretty much always order the roast pork (with an occasional fried chicken detour.) But if you’re looking for something different they now have a schedule of their specials hung on their front door. They have roast pork and fried chicken every day, but if you want oxtails you’ll have to go Wednesday, and for tripe (hello!) Thursday is your day. Might have to stop by today though… it’s fried pork day!
You know who else has started putting a schedule up? The Trini Paki Boys cart (on 43rd btw. 5+6th).
I try my best not to be too negative on this site, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to vent. Every once in awhile I’ll share some of the more angry useful emails I get in a post called “Airing of Grievances”. (If the Eater Complaints Dept. would like royalties, I’ll be happy to pay up…)
This amazing email came into the old ML Inbox the other day about Cafe Cello, my favorite place for roast pork in Midtown (on 46th btw. 5+6th):
“I would never want to hurt a restaurant’s business by accusing them of something I’m not sure of, so I am alerting you rather than posting a comment. I love Café Cello‘s food-I work across the street and have eaten there many times-but I wonder about the meat that is not pork or chicken. All beef dishes I have had there have tasted very peculiar. The pieces are cut strangely, and the texture is weird for beef. In short, I don’t think their beef is from a cow.”
I swear, if one more person even jokes about not eating pork anymore because of this swine flu stupidity I’m going to throw up in my own mouth. I’m sick of it. It’s not even fun to joke about. There’s nothing wrong with eating pork people! Which makes this news even more infuriating: Gyu-Kaku (the Japanese BBQ restaurant on 3rd Ave. and 50th) refused to serve a customer any of their pork dishes last night. Way to fan the flames with ignorant business practices.
Thankfully Cafe Cello (on 46th btw. 5+6th) has returned just in the nick of time. Their delicious roast pork is back! And the only thing you have to be scared of is their recent DOH closing… but when meat looks this good, I’m willing overlook a bit of “evidence of roaches”.
The Roast Pork from Cafe Cello (on 45th btw. 5+6th)
I was pretty sure that you could only get swine flu from hanging out with live pigs, or going to school in Queens- but now the internets have me worried that you can get it from eating pork! Thinking that maybe this is why Cafe Cello was closed last week (they serve my favorite pork in Midtown), I hopped onto the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website and discovered that they are all about the swine flu. Everything you could ever want to know is on that site… and it says nothing about not eating pork (phew!) So eat your favorite pork with reckless abandon people- unless it is being served by a coughing teenager from St. Francis Prep.
Incidentally, Cafe Cello’s last inspection was a whopping 65 (aka not good.) It’s the usual “evidence of roaches”, “not vermin proof”, blah blah blah. No mention of swine flu though.
They have yet to reopen. As of Friday they were still closed, but we’re hearing they may have reopened today. Anybody have any intel?
Original Cafe Cello post (7/10/2006)
My heart almost exploded on Friday afternoon as I walked towards a shuttered Cafe Cello (on 46th btw. 5+6th.) It might be the first time in Midtown Lunch history where I was actually *hoping* to see a DOH sticker. Dealing with the alternative scenario (the place shutting down entirely) would have been too much for me to handle. After all, it’s the roast pork from Cafe Cello that I’ve been using for two years as the iconic image of ML. The lunch of all midtown lunches. Thankfully as I got closer, I saw the gate was only half closed- which usually means one thing…
What can I say? I feel like if you are going to sin, you may as well do it up right. I mean, if I’m going to eat on Yom Kippur- why not EAT on Yom Kippur, right? Two years ago I made a list of pork and shrimp dishes in Midtown that were worth going to hell for, and since that list still applies today- I decided to head over to Cafe Cello (on 46th btw. 5+6th). Thanks to a lunch’er tip, I discovered that they are now serving a roast pork sandwich, made from their always amazing roast pork. But don’t get too excited, it’s just pork on a generic looking roll with lettuce and tomato. And they don’t press it or anything, so it’s not like a legitimate Cuban. I think I’ll just stick with my standard roast pork over rice and beans with plantains (and crispy pork skin of course.) Like I said… if I’m gonna be bad, might as well be really bad.
Bacon wrapped lobster for dinner anyone?
It’s been over a year a half since I originally visited Cafe Cello (46th btw. 5+6th), and wrote about their roast pork. (I loved it so much, the photo of my lunch became the official Midtown Lunch photo.) From the outside, you’d never guess that this generic looking deli would serve the best roast pork in Midtown, but it’s the truth (you may say the secret ingredient is crispy pork fat). I returned last week to check out the scene, and I’m pleased to report that pretty much nothing has changed. They still serve up a delicious plate of pork, and they still top it with the all important hunk of crispy pork skin. If you are a lover of pork fat, it really can’t be beat.
But as good as the pork is, it may not be Cafe Cello’s best dish. That title may have to be reserved for their surprisingly delicious fried chicken… Read more »
While I was away in Chile, I turned the site over to you for the first ever Midtown Lunch Readers’ Poll. All of the nominees had to have lunch for under $10 (except the buffet category, where a $1 exception was made), and they all had to be within the Midtown boundaries (32nd St. to the South, Central Park to the North, 3rd Ave on the East, and 8th Ave. to the West). Thanks to everyone who participated. Thousands of votes were cast, and here are the results:
Best Fast Food Indian: Kati Roll
Despite changing locations this year (Kati Roll is now on 39th btw. 5+6th), Indian burritos just barely beat out old steam table standby (and former neighbor) Minar, on 46th btw. 6+7th. 35% to 32% Editor’s Pick: Man do I miss being 2 blocks away from Kati Roll. It’s the unanimous winner.
Best Cheap Chinese Food: Hing Won
“Cheap” is code for fast food, take out Chinese, and while Szechuan Gourmet (on 39th btw. 5+6th) may possibly be the best Chinese food in Midtown- Hing Won/Hop Won wins the battle of the steam tables, easily beating out the competition. Editor’s Pick: No secret here. Hing Won was my first Midtown Lunch post, and still remains my favorite Chinese food take out in Midtown.
Best burger, best street carts and a best pizza shocker, after the jump… Read more »