Archive for 'Middle Eastern'

Hold The Toum At Toum

Last month, Flatiron Lunch reporter Sarah tried a new family-run Lebanese truck called Toum. As I read her review, I couldn’t wait for the truck to start making stops in Midtown, because the menu reflected many familiar foods from my childhood. Yep, as I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in Japan, but what you don’t know is that while there I enjoyed not only Japanese food, but also my grandmother’s amazing middle eastern recipes. The truth is always stranger than fiction. Anyway, Toum’s menu, plus the fact that the truck is family-run, gave me high hopes for authentic recipes in some way reminiscent of those days making Syrian food in Japan.
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Banzobar Reverses Its Name, Raises Prices

Last summer, Barbanzo opened in Midtown East, serving average falafel/hummus/shwarma fare. Chris tried the falafel platter back in August and reported back without much enthusuasm. I was walking by recently and noticed that the name had changed to Banzobar (I actually had to read it a few times to make sure it wasn’t my eyes playing tricks on me), so I went in to see if anything else had changed.

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You Don’t Win Friends With (Barbanzo’s Falafel) Salad

Bar Banzo

Since we first posted about Barbanzo (58th and 3rd), we’ve been tracking the opening with interest. Aside from Omar’s Kitchen and Bakery, there aren’t too many brick and mortar shops to get a civilized plate of falafel and hummus in upper Midtown East, a gap which Barbanzo could have potentially filled.
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New Halal Cart on 35th Has An Interesting Cooking Technique

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I walk down 35th Street from 6th Ave to 5th Ave pretty much every day on the way to work. About a month ago, a new Halal cart popped up and caught my eye. After the yellow halal truck on 33rd showed up and then disappeared a few weeks later, I hesitated to write this new cart up for fear that it would wander off before too long. At this point, it’s been around long enough that it’s worth mentioning, which is good since the guy who runs it has an interesting trick or two that absolutely makes it worth a visit. See why after the jump.
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Chickpea Looks to Break the Kolache Mama Curse


When Kolache Mama closed on 45th Street between Madison+Vanderbilt, they were the second such business to close in that very location. One might even say the spot was cursed… that is, until now. Chickpea of the “always baked, never fried” Downtown falafel fame had moved uptown, and by the looks of Friday’s crowd, it’s here to stay. I’ve never seen anything on that street with lines out the door!

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Taim Mobile May be the Best Lunch Truck in Midtown (Vegetarian or Otherwise)

Taim Mobile Truck

Taim is a veritable New York institution at this point. The quality of their product has earned them a legion of devoted followers, plenty of superlatives from food media, and recently received the prestigious distinction as the “Best Falafel Sandwich in New York City” by the folks from Serious Eats. On the back of their popularity, they’ve spun off a sister restaurant, the upscale bistro Balaboosta, and they’ve recently hit the streets with a mobile food truck. A few weeks ago, downtown correspondent Andrea got a first look at the Taim Mobile truck, and last Friday, I was lucky enough to nab lunch from the Taim truck in my neighborhood of Midtown West.

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What Exactly is a Halal “Italian” Sausage

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Ever since I was a kid
, the street festival Italian sausage has been a summer tradition for me. Yes, it’s overpriced, yes the fests all end up being sock-sellers and dorm room poster, but there’s something about a hot Italian sausage with hot and sweet peppers on a crusty bun that takes me back to my New York childhood.

Somehow this summer, I didn’t manage to have one at all and as the last week or so has proven, summer is definitely over. Then I noticed that halal carts all over town have started selling Italian sausages. (Well, maybe they were there all along… but it’s only recently that I noticed the signs!)  I was intrigued. Halal and pork don’t typically mix, but I wouldn’t tell if they wouldn’t.

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If You Have to Lunch “Healthy”, You Could Do Far Worse Than Nanoosh


When Nanoosh opened up a couple months ago, I wasn’t really sure what to think. With the bright colors and san serif font, it looked like all the other new chains popping up around town. Plus, with all that talk about being organic and healthy, it didn’t really call to me the way a various fried chicken spots have, but I still made my way back a couple times. Surprisingly, I found that I actually enjoyed it.

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Flatiron Lunch: Bistro Truck Makes the Best Chicken and Lamb Platters Ever

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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The Bistro Truck is such a tease. When Zach posted about their opening last year, he mentioned that they might come up to Midtown eventually. Nearly a year later and we still get no love. So, after spending all winter drooling over the tweets about their specials, it was time to take matters into my own hands and hop the bus down 5th Avenue.

Except for some recent difficulties that have left them renting someone else’s truck, they have been showing up to the same spot on 5th Avenue near 17th Street pretty faithfully. That’s just bad news for Midtowners because they serve some great Moroccan specialties along with burgers, frites and regularly changing specials that I’d love to have closer to the office.

Some more on the menu and the food after the jump…

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At Lunch Now: Free Lunch Craziness at Nanoosh

There have been some conflicting reports in the comments about Nanoosh’s free lunch giveaway today. Some have said that they were told the event is invite-only. I walked by to check it out and was flagged over by a guy working the door. As far as I saw, he was inviting anyone walking by to come in and try some out. When I left, the guy at the door said they’d be serving until 3pm.

The line was long, but went by fairly quickly, considering. Check out some scenery and food shots after the jump.

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