Archive for 'Buffet, All You Can Eat'

Tom & Toon Brings Thai AYCE Buffet to NYC!

Tom and Toon Lunch Buffet

We somehow missed the opening of a new Thai restaurant, Tom & Toon (241 51st St. between 7th & 8th), which launched with little fanfare in August of 2010. Our oversight may have been appropriate, given the predictable narrative of the restaurant. There’s an un-extraordinary menu akin to its neighboring Thai brethren in the ‘hood, such as Siam Inn two store fronts down, or the overabundance of Thai joints up and down 9th ave. However, Tom & Toon shouldn’t be easily dismissed, for it is the only Thai restaurant that has an all you can eat lunch buffet in Midtown. At $11.95, it’s a bit over our $10 lunch rule, but we’ve always be willing to stretch the price boundaries to $11 for buffets.  So what’s another buck when something as rare as Thai AYCE is involved!?

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Flatiron Lunch: The All You Can Eat Buffet at Cinnamon

Now that Downtown has its very own section of the site, what are we going to post on Fridays at 10am? Answer… how about a new column devoted to those lunches just south of the ML boundaries. Every week we’ll post about a lunch in Murray Hill south, Gramercy, Flatiron, and everything in between… or as we’ll call it from now on: Flatiron Lunch.

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After a couple weeks in the ‘Flatiron’ part of the Flatiron Lunch area, I headed back to further my exploration of Curry Hill. One of my biggest challenges when walking down Lex is figuring out which place to pick, so I’ll be a little transparent here so you guys can tell me the right way to pick. Cinnamon over the million other places on this strip: First, it’s new, it opened up just a month or two ago, so I wanted to get the scoop. Second, unlike a lot of the dark, divey old school places with Christmas lights and ornamental chili peppers hanging everywhere, Cinnamon looks sort of, well, normal. Yeah, it’s a weak reason, but it’s true. Finally, there’s the financial reason. The $8.95 buffet seemed like a pretty good deal to me, so I went for it.

I’m not the expert Zach is, but a fat man’s instincts are all one really needs to navigate the all-you-can-eat buffet and I’ve got that. See what’s hot on the steam tables after the jump.

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Indian Buffet it Up For < $10 at Apna Taj

Apna Taj, NYC

Sometimes, I get the most random craving for Indian food – chicken tikka masala, specifically – so when I passed Apna Taj (on 55th btw. Lex+3rd) and saw they offer a $9.50 lunch buffet, it immediately sparked my hunt for a Midtown Lunch-worthy Indian lunch. Last year, Zach lunched at next door neighbor Darbar Grill to get in on the make-your-own-dosa action, so Apna Taj already had plenty of competition on the “fancy Indian buffet” front. But check out what you can get for under $10 after the jump… Read more »

Greenhouse 36 Would Be Just Ok… If It Weren’t An All You Can Eat Buffet!


My love of Chinese buffets is pretty well documented, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a non-Asian buffet from time to time. In fact, you could say my buffet chops were sharpened over many trips to the now closed Sizzler on 104th Street and Dixie Highway in Miami (circa 1988). It’s my earliest memory of crafting a strategy for attacking a buffet, and also the genesis of my buffet onion ring obsession (aka I always eat at least one onion ring from every buffet, even if it’s Asian.)


So on Tuesday, when I stumbled across Greenhouse 36 (in the Wyndham Times Square Hotel on 36th btw. 8+9th), I was naturally intrigued. Situated in a hotel, Greenhouse 36 seems like any other crappy-hotel-lunch-spot-in-a-garden, except for one thing. From now through the end of the year (it expires on December 29th, 2009), they’re offering a lunch buffet for $9.50.

How could I not?

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Want Chinese Buffet? Midtown Buffet is Your Only Option


I love all you can eat buffets… and within that vast and wonderful realm the Chinese buffet is probably my favorite.  I don’t discriminate against any buffet, but sushi buffets tend to be too expensive, Mexican buffets don’t seem to stand up well to the steam table treatment, and Latin buffets are fine- but rice and beans and plantains always kill me in that equation!  Indian buffets are plentiful in Midtown, and I’m all about a good Indian buffet… but Chinese is my all time favorite.  Sadly Manhattan is practically devoid of Chinese buffets.  And in Midtown, there is only one option.  The “Midtown Buffet” on 7th Ave. btw. 40+41st.

It’s only $8 (and actually used to be cheaper) and I used it as the backdrop for the Midtown Lunch Guide to Beating the All You Can Eat Buffet a few years ago.  But it didn’t really get a full +/-, so yesterday on the holiest of holy Jewish days I hit up the Midtown Buffet for a little Yom Kippur lunch action.

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El Ranchito del Agave Proves My Buffet Standards Are Higher Than I Thought

El Ranchito del Agave

Knowing how much I love the all-you-can-eat buffet, Serious Eats grand poobah Ed Levine IM’d pretty soon after he and the SENY crew discovered El Ranchito del Agave- the brand new Mexican restaurant on 9th Ave. btw. 36+37th that features a lunch buffet.  He knew I’d be excited (I’m very serious about my all you can eat buffets), but cautioned that he might have finally found an all you can eat buffet that even I couldn’t get behind 100%.  Ed found the taquitos to be dry, and the mole too sweet- but the rest of the crew seemed to like it enough in their review… and it’s only $8!  How could it be bad!? (After all you are talking to a guy who has willingly eaten at an all you can eat Chinese buffet in the back woods of Tennessee.)

What I’m trying to say is my standards for all you can eat buffets are far lower than Ed’s, so I rushed out 9th to check this one out.

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Breaking the Buffet Rules

DSC00327The ML Guide to Beating the All You Can Eat Buffet shouldn’t need an entry telling you not to eat on your way to the buffet (it’s just common sense), but there is a part of me that has a tremendous amount of respect for a guy who stops at Woorijip and Mandoo Bar on the way to the Ichi Umi sushi buffet (fmr. Todai.)  [Tasty Chomps]

Touch of India Earns Redemption With New Breed of “Kathi Rolls”

Touch of India

Remember when Kati Roll was the only place in midtown that served kati rolls.  When they moved from 46th street to 39th street, the Biryani Cart jumped in and served their own version of the Indian burrito.  (And we all know how that turned out.)  They were followed by Indus Express’ naan wraps (on 48th btw. 5+6th), the standard kati rolls from Grill 44 on the East side, and even Spice Fusion (which is known for their all you can eat buffet) jumped on the bandwagon.

Now Touch of India (on 37th btw. 7+8th) becomes the latest to join the fray. I didn’t love their all you can eat buffet when I tried it last August, but for $9 it’s good enough.  And there’s no reason a mediocre buffet would stop me from trying their “kathi rolls”.

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Adventure Lunchers Should Flock to Kashmir Buffet

There are two kinds of lunchers in Midtown.  Those who will travel (us), and those who won’t (the people who eat at Cafe Metro.)  And within the group of people I like to refer to as Midtown Lunch’ers (those who travel) there are two sub sets of people:  those who are just looking for good lunch at a decent price, and those who treat every lunch as some sort of adventure.  Adventure lunchers are the ones who flocked to the 38th St Restaurant and Bakery (now Ying Du) after I wrote this post. Adventure lunchers are the ones who used Street Meat Palooza as a personal checklist (stomachs be damned!)  Adventure lunchers are the ones who would choose grossing out their co-workers over their own personal well being.  And yes, some of them will even eat the Walgreens Sandwich. (Although there are a lot of people who will eat a gross cold cuts sandwich from Walgreens, but wouldn’t eat at Ying Du… and those people are lame.)

It was with that attitude that I ventured into Kashmir Buffet on Tuesday, determined to finally try what is now the cheapest all you can eat buffet in Midtown.

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Apna Taj Indian Buffet Lowers Prices to Compete With (the Most Excellent) Darbar Grill


When the Indian buffet Apna Taj took over the former East Ocean space back in March (on 55th btw. Lex+3rd) I noted that for just 45 cents less (they charge $10.50) they probably weren’t going to siphon off any business from the popular Indian buffet next door, Darbar Grill (which is $10.95).  Clearly they got the message, because they just lowered the price of their all you can buffet to $9.50. As anybody who reads this site regularly knows, I find something very appealing about all you can eat buffets that come in below that $10 threshold (they are dwindling by the day, so to see one drop the price is very exciting.)  Now, I will definitely be trying Apna Taj very soon.

Darbar Grill

Last month I went to 55th st. looking for some Indian buffet action and Darbar Grill was the obvious choice. Always pretty crowded, a ton of options, 3 (!!!) dessert choices, and of course- the infamous make your own dosa station. Photos of that meal, are after the jump…

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