Archive for 'Buffet by lb.'

Soft Shell Crab By the Pound Resurfaces at EZ Cafe

Way back in October 2008, Zach called the soft shell crabs at Café Duke (on 51st btw. 6+7th) “the greatest thing I’ve ever seen at a by the pound buffet.” The problem was that not only were the crabs a seasonal item, availability varied from day to day. I fully admit to periodically checking the Café Duke on 41st just in case, and I haven’t seen the crabs yet this year (and the season is coming to a close!).  So you can imagine my surprise when during standard recon on unassuming new generic deli EZ Café (8th ave. btw 38+39th), replacing the similarly generic Rainbow Gourmet Deli, I spotted the white whale of Midtown Lunch’ing.
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Bread & Honey Brings Mongolian BBQ and More to Midtown West

Bread & Honey Front

Thanks to Lunch’er Mangostrawberry for giving us the heads up about Bread & Honey, a new Deli/Supermarket/Buffet/Sandwich/Udon noodle place on 8th Ave between 55th & 56th. Normally this sort of venue wouldn’t be worthy of investigation, but when we hear the words Mongolian BBQ station (possibly the only one of its kind in this area) all bets are off. I did a quick cruise through the store to inspect.

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Warning: $18 of Food is All The Trays Can Take At the Woorijip Buffet

The Key to Success at Woorjip!
The Tray Can Only Take So Much (To Be Exact, 9 Times As Much As What You See Here.)

If you are a longtime reader of Midtown Lunch (and a lover of Korean food) you are no doubt aware of Woorijip’s by the lb buffet (on 32nd btw. B’way+5th).  My eyes and stomach are both large, so I have always found the “pay what your lunch weighs” a very dangerous game to engage in.  But Woorijip has so many amazing things to choose from and the buffet is only way to get a little bit of everything… or a lot of everything, as this lunch’er seemed to  do recently.  Naturally, his tale is a cautionary one…

“Just wanted to tell you and your readers an extremely important fact. I am sure many of us have put the per pound lunch table trays to the test on a hungry day. Recently I rolled by Woorijip, the Korean deli on 32nd at 11:45 am, the food trays were fresh, warm, and not picked over. I could not have been more excited.

The lineup was epic: The cold side featured heaping treys of: Pork Belly with Soy Ginger sauce, Kimbap, Pickled veggies, rice cakes, baby octopus. Half way through the line my tray was already full…”

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Bruni Asks About By the Pound Buffets: On the Diner's Journal Blog Frank Bruni wonders whether or not any blogs have tackled the issue of how to "game" a by the pound buffet.  Funny you should mention that... there just so happens to be a Midtown Lunch Guide to Buffet by the Pound Eating.

Crabwatch: Are Soft Shelled Crabs Back at Cafe Duke?

Last October, I was pretty excited to find soft shelled crabs on the by the pound buffet at Cafe Duke (on 51st btw. 6+7th).  Well, soft shelled crab season started up again last month, and Lunch’er “David” reports seeing them at the 41st and Broadway Cafe Duke yesterday.  I stopped by the 51st Street location today, and they were nowhere to be found.  Please report positive sightings in the comments below (preferably before lunchtime.)

Giant Fried Shrimp Spotted at By the Pound Buffet!

Green Cafe Shrimp by the Pound

Unable to ignore the prospect of 50% off the hot food at a by the pound buffet, I stopped by Green Cafe yesterday (on 44th btw. Mad+5th)  just to see what was going on… survey the scene if you will (before heading to KFC).  Like most commenters noted, it’s a pretty generic Midtown deli- and for $8 a pound, the hot/cold bar is definitely not worth it.  ($4 a pound, on the other hand…)  There was, however, one thing that caught my eye:  gigantic friend shrimp!  I’ve been duped by shrimp at a by the pound buffet before (the fake shrimp fiasco of 2006), but these were clearly real shrimp.  Well, I shouldn’t say “clearly”… they clearly had real tails sticking out the side of  a ton of breading that looked like it could possibly house a real shrimp.  I wouldn’t put it past one of these places to insert real tails, into a fake fried shrimp carcass (would you?)

I had to find out for myself.

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Giving In to the Pull of Chinatown Express’ Sidewalk Cart

There is only a certain number of times a guy like me can walk past a place like this without stopping.  I have a special place in my heart for Chinatown Express, the pay-by-the-pound cheap Chinese place on 7th Avenue btw. 33+34th (right next to Gyro II).  Long before I lived in NY, I used to visit from Boston- and Chinatown Express was usually my first stop after leaving Penn Station or even Port Authority. What can I say?  I’ve been addicted to cheap Chinese food for a long long time (in fact, General Tso’s chicken put me in the hospital in college… *allegedly*). Of course my early flirtation with Chinatown Express was long before they set up the satellite stand on the sidewalk selling cheap chicken wings, egg rolls, fried chicken and lo mean. And, after walking by this sidewalk ”cart” more times than I can count on my hands, I finally succumbed to the pressure of the easy access super cheap Chinese food.

What I got (who am I kidding, I ordered everything), and how it was (who am I kidding, you know I loved it) after the jump.

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Economy Claims Another All You Can Eat Buffet


I’ve got some really sad news to report to all-you-can eat buffet lovers:  The International Food House Buffet on 35th btw. 7+8th has turned into a pay for what it weighs, by the lb. buffet.  Considering the current economic state, this isn’t too surprising, but it is still depressing on many levels.  1) Serving up a wide range of Latin food, it was one of the only two or three non-Indian all you can eat buffets in Midtown.  2) It was a shockingly cheap $8.95. 3) By the pound buffets are a big kick in the pants to fat guys everywhere… especially when you’re serving heavy food like rice, beans, plantains, and stewed meats.  For $5.95 a pound, the price can get up there pretty quickly.

Unable to turn away from their massive selection, I decided to see how I would fare under this new format.  In the process I came up with a few suggestions for anybody looking to brave the *new* International Food House Buffet.

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Pop Quiz Answer

Speaking of buffets, if you were wondering what the answer to yesterday’s pop quiz was- it was most definitely the rice.  And not only did I take too much, I took two different kinds!  A shameful rookie mistake when you are going to have pay for what it weighs.

Pop Quiz: What’s Wrong With This Chinese Food Picture?

New Buffet By the LB. 

I hit up the new by the lb. buffet at Hing Won (on 48th btw. 5+6th) for the first time on Friday, and here’s the damage.  It was a little over $6.  Not too bad, but not great either- and I think Sun Yip/Ho Yip on 45th btw. 5+6th is probably better (plus they have the price drop at 2:15, which can’t be beat.)  I think I’ll probably stick with the right side of the counter when I go to Hing Won, and order things off of their more authentic menu.

I did, however, break one of my cardinal rules of by-the-lb. buffet eating.  Can you spot it? What’s wrong with this picture? (If you want to cheat, you can look at my rules for by the lb. buffet eating.)