Archive for 'Filipino'

Lunch’er Report: Is Bayan Cafe Still Good?

Tuesday lunch from Cafe Bayan
Photo courtesy of lazysundae

I haven’t been back to the Bayan Cafe, the just out of bounds Filipino place on 45th btw. 2+3rd, since I wrote about it a few years ago.  The most recent comment, from Lunch’er Nancy, was negative (apparently the prices have gone up) but according to this update posted to the Midtown Lunch flickr pool by lazysundae, things are just as good as I remembered them:

For 7.95 you get all this food. Kinda worth it if you eat half and save the rest. Unfortunately it was so good I ate all of it and had a stomachache for the rest of the afternoon. The mess at the top left is mixed veggies – bitter melon (ampalaya), butternut squash, green beans, eggplant, tomatoes in a sauce made with pork and bagoong (salty shrimp paste). At the bottom left is a chicken dish made with bananas (saging) that tasted like sweet adobo. Chicken esposito or something – I asked the guy twice what it was and I still can’t remember!

Bayan Cafe… Filipino Food Worth Breaking the Rules For

Bayan Cafe… Filipino Food Worth Breaking the Rules For

When I started this blog a little less than a year ago, I quickly set up boundaries that defined exactly where a “Midtown Lunch” could be.  We’ve only got an hour for lunch (and some of us less), so there had to be a border.  8th Ave. on the West, 3rd Ave. on the East.  Central Park to the North, and 32nd St. to the south.  The south part was pushing it a little, but I was biased by my love of Koreatown.  The whole point of doing this is to give me an excuse to stuff my face every day at lunch… how could I leave out Koreatown? 

There have been many temptations to cross those imaginary lines. Thai food on 9th Ave. has been recommended to me often, and people seem to love the falafel at Azuri Cafe, which requires you to trek almost all the way to 10th Ave!  I thought I was going to crack for the new Bahn Mi place on 2nd Ave., but luckily they charge way too much for what I’ve heard are pretty mediocre sandwiches, making it a little easier to skip (I still may end up trying it, we’ll see).  It’s been tough, but I have managed to hold it together.

Well, I finally met my match.  A few weeks ago, I received an email tip about something that I just could not ignore.  A place that embodies everything a Midtown Lunch should be (under $10, unique and adventurous), while combining the qualities of two of my favorite cuisines (Latin & Asian).  And they’ve got a lunch special to boot.  Readers of Midtown Lunch… I give you… BAYAN CAFE.  Filipino Food in Midtown.  That’s right.  Filipino.  What’s Filipino Food?  I’m not exactly sure.  But it’s freaking good.  So what if it’s East of 3rd Ave.  What’s an extra 15 feet for something that exists nowhere else in Midtown? And for that, I will now break my self imposed, meaningless to everyone but my feeble brain, Midtown Lunch boundaries. 

What they got, photos and the +/- after the jump…  Read more »