Archive for 'Cafe Zaiya'

Cafe Zaiya Closed For Non-Payment of Taxes

Photo courtesy of Lunch’er Katie

Reports are pouring in that Cafe Zaiya (on 41st btw. Mad+5th), winner of best Japanese Fast Food in Midtown 3 years running, has been shuttered for non-payment of taxes.  They’ve had their fair share of trouble over the years, mostly with the DOH, but this sounds pretty serious.  A person who answered the phone at the store said they are hoping to be back open tomorrow, so it doesn’t sound like this is the end of one of our favorite lunch spots in all of Midtown.  Here’s hoping  the problem will be resolved quickly!

Cafe Zaiya Buckles Under DOH Pressure, Goes Full Refrigeration

Pastry stocked shelves at Cafe Zaiya (on 41st btw. 5+Mad) are a beautiful sight, but there’s something insidious about the above image… basically, the lack of everything but pastries. On a recent trip to the Japanese eatery, I discovered that all of their pre-made items are now refrigerated. Witness the horror (and a few new sandwiches) after the jump…
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Zaiya Gets Slapped With a C From DOH

Cafe Zaiya (on 41st btw. 5+Mad) has never really struck me as an “unsanitary” place, yet it always seemed like their practice of storing food out in the open might get the attention of the DOH.  That day may have finally come as the Japanese eatery now has a C hanging in the window. We’ve been afraid for awhile that the DOH would ruin everything we loved about Zaiya, but there was only one major difference I noticed on a recent trip.
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Cafe Zaiya Takes Asian/Mexican Fusion To Another Level With “Taco Rice”

It’s not unusual to walk into Café Zaiya (41st btw. Mad+5th) and see some new item that seems out of step with the rest of their offerings. In fact, at this point, it seems as if all bets are off. But even expecting the unexpected still couldn’t prepare me for the appearance of Taco Rice!? I don’t know exactly what the madmen behind Zaiya were going for with this one, but I’m always game for a Japanese fast food adventure.

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Is Cafe Zaiya Being Ruined by the DOH?

Got this scary letter from Lunch’er Amber yesterday re: one of our favorite Midtown Lunches of all time, Cafe Zaiya (on 41st btw. Mad+5th):

Was shocked to walk into Zaiya [yesterday] and see almost no food on display. The only thing in the center racks was bread – no bento boxes, no sandwiches, no rice bowls, nothing. Some of the center displays were completely empty. Some of the food was in the fridge cases, though – including hot savory pastries from the bakery side that usually sit on top of the bakery counter. It looked like they had just been put into that case from the oven, because they were wrapped in cellophane and there was steam/condensation trapped in the wrapper (which is pretty much just a horrible crime, since those pastries are not nearly as good if they are cold).

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Street Meat Pan: Building a Japanese/Chicken And Rice Frankensandwich

So what if you’re walking by the Trini Paki Cart one day (on 43rd and 6th), not knowing what to do for lunch… and you pick up a small chicken biryani. Then you happen to walk by Cafe Zaiya (on 41st btw. 5+Mad) and see some pastries… and then what if you decided, “Hey, let me put it together.” I know soba sandwiches exist in some Japanese bakeries, but what about Biryani sandwiches? After that thought popped up in my head, it was impossible to keep the beast in the cage. I had to find out if the marriage of Japanese bread + Street food with Trinidadian and Pakistani influence would be delicious.

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Cafe Zaiya Introduces New Summer Menu Items

Variety has always been the greatest strength of Cafe Zaiya, the popular Japanese lunch spot and bakery on 41st (btw. 5th and Madison). On a recent trip, I noticed their offerings have gotten even more varied with the introduction of some new Summer lunch items, including cold noodles. See their new menu and get a look at one of the new dishes after the jump.

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Cafe Zaiya Reorganizes; Adds Warm Ice Cream


Stopped into Cafe Zaiya (on 41st btw. Mad+5th) yesterday just to see what was going on (I can’t resist whenever I’m in the area), and noticed a couple of things.  First off, they’ve moved all the check out registers to the new coffee/shave ice/frappe/ice cream area (where the Beard Papa used to be.)  I don’t know if it was my imagination, or the fact that it was a slow Monday, but things seemed to be a little less hectic.

I also spotted a sign for their latest offering, which seems perfect for winter… warm ice cream!?!

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Free Tea if You Order Online at Cafe Zaiya: Cafe Zaiya's new website is now fully operational, with their entire menu available for online ordering (until now, they only had a limited number of items available.)  To celebrate, all week long (10/5-10/9) everyone who orders online will get a free Itoen Tea.

How To Unwrap a Japanese Rice Ball


Got this email last week from Lunch’er Andrew: “Had a great lunch at Zaiya today [on 41st btw. Mad+5th], though I had to go online for a tutorial on how to open those damn plastic wraps!”  Wait a second… there are online tutorials for how to open those shrink wrapped triangular rice balls? “But of course there are!!”

The onigiri mystery unlocked on video for confused westerners, after the jump.

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