Archive for 'Middle Eastern'

Nanoosh To Celebrate Tomorrow’s Grand Opening With Free Food Today?

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Word is that yesterday afternoon, Nanoosh- the new Mediterranean counter on Madison btw 33+34th- was giving away free lunches to hype up its big opening day tomorrow (Weds).  We’re hearing word from a fairly reputable source that they’ll be back at it this afternoon from noon to 3pm. Not sure exactly what they’re giving away (samples?  complete lunch?) but I got there around 2:30pm yesterday and it was all over, so for hardcore freeloaders we suggest going early.

Not interested in waiting on line for the possibility of free food? If you don’t mind spending a couple bucks, so long as it goes to a good cause, Nanoosh will also be open from 5:30 to 8:30pm tonight serving a main, a side and a (non-alcoholic) drink for $10 to benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Nanoosh Hummus Bar Expanding South

Nanoosh Hummus Bar Expanding South

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On the way back from lunch yesterday, I came across this in the old AI Friedman space on Madison Avenue between 33rd and 34th. Just down the block from Tina’s Cuban is a sign for a new place called Nanoosh, a “Mediterranean Hummus Counter.” I’ve never heard of such a thing, so I did a little googling. Apparently it’s a chain with locations on the UWS and UES whose schtick appears to be topping pretty much everything (from salads to wraps to entrees) with hummus, tahini or both.  Anybody been to the other two locations?  Should we be excited for this?  Or is it just another in a long line of trendy, brightly colored, well marketed chains popping up in Midtown these days? According to their website they’ll be open in May.

Zaro’s Bakery to Become French Pasta Chain?
Yummy Yummy Falafel Bar Coming Soon

Naya Express Is Just Like Chipotle… Except the Food is Lebanese and It’s Awesome


As much I hate Chipotle, there is no denying that their model has proven to be incredibly successful. The chose your protein, carrying method, and toppings, assembly line structure allows for the high volume, quick service that a popular lunch destination in Midtown needs to be profitable. Meze Grill (on 8th Ave. btw. 55th+56th) opened their “Middle Eastern Chipotle” back in August, and it looks like Pump Energy Food is moving in that direction as well. But my favorite new ode to Chipotle has got to be Naya Express- the new quick service Lebanese spot on 3rd Ave. btw. 43+44th. It’s got the same assembly set up, and customizable menu… but with one noticeable difference. The food is really tasty.

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Lezzette’s Home-made Gyro is Pretty Interesting


My quest to find a real gyro sandwich in Midtown never takes a vacation. So when I spotted this sign on 34th btw. 8+9th in the window of Lezzette, my curiosity was piqued. Sure, it’s out of the technical Midtown Lunch boundaries. And Lezzette looks more like a generic Midtown deli, than an authentic Greek restaurant. But whatever. “Homemade Gyro”! How could I not?

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First Look: Meze Grill Really is the Middle Eastern Chipotle


When yesterday’s post about the newly opened Meze Grill (on 8th btw. 55+56th) described it as a “Middle Eastern Chipotle” some commenters were quick to point that most authentic falafel and shawarma stands (here and abroad) operate in much the same way a Chipotle does.  That is, “you pick Pita or Laffa, choose protein, and pick out of an array of salads and sauces. This is a formula that has existed since the days of wandering in the desert. If anything, Chipotle is a Mexican Meze Grill.”

Right.  Except for one thing.  Meze Grill goes a little beyond just the “pick your fillings” on a buffet line formula.  The metaphor extends not just to the way the place operates, and looks… but also to its core essence.  I checked Meze Grill out yesterday, and I think once you do too, you’ll come to the same conclusion:  Meze Grill is the Middle Eastern Chipotle.

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What Did You Have For Lunch Yesterday? I Had Street Meat


Man, I was really in the mood for street meat yesterday… and can’t for the life of me figure out why.  (Oh, that’s right.)  I decided to hit up the Famous Halal Cart on the SE Corner of 53rd and 6th to try their kofta kebab (which we reported about a few months back.)  Probably not the smartest move considering they had just come in 3rd place in Street Meat Palooza 2 , but the line moved quick, and I just had to get my fix.

Check out my chicken and kofta combo plate, after the jump.

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Kosher Deluxe Offers Up A Schnitzel Primer

A mini argument discussion broke out in the comments the other day over who makes the best schnitzel: Jews or Germans. I suppose the two aren’t mutually exclusive, but the premise of the argument was chicken vs. veal/pork.  Sadly I have to go against my people on this one, and agree that wiener schnitzel is clearly the superior schnitzel- although I wouldn’t turn my nose up at some good Israeli style Kosher chicken schnitzel.

So with all this talk of schnitzel, and the Schnitzel Truck still weeks away, I hit up Kosher Deluxe (on 46th btw. 5+6th) on Monday for a little chicken schnitzel in pita action.

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Thank You Baraca For Not Changing Too Much About Olympic Pita


It’s never a shock when a bad restaurant resorts to something crazy to help boost business.  You’ll see name changes, expensive redecorating, crazy specials, and yes, even sushi being added to a Kosher falafel and kebab place.  But Olympic Pita (on 38th btw. 5+6th) was not a bad restaurant!  Home to my favorite falafel in Midtown (you may say the secret ingredient is their fresh baked laffa bread) Olympic Pita shouldn’t have to resort to this nonsense.  And yet there it was, last week their new sign, with their new name (Baraca), promoting their new menu item (sushi?!?)  Oh, and of course there was the gussied up interior.  Why Olympic Pita?  Why?


The name change is not just for show, according to an employee Baraca is no longer owned by the same people who own the original Olympic Pita in Brooklyn (not good.)  Thankfully, the take out area in the front looked like it hadn’t changed- so yesterday I stopped by to survey the situation.

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Baguette Express Brings Their Kosher Brooklyn Falafel Stand to Midtown

Baguette Express

A new little kosher falafel & sandwich nook has popped up on 37th Street btw. 5+6th.  The owner used to have a small restaurant in Brooklyn, until his customers encouraged him to move to Midtown.  With Olympic Pita (on 38th btw. 5+6th) and Crisp (on 40th btw. B’way+6th) just a few blocks away, and Maoz coming soon to Broadway and 40th, Midtown South is starting to get a little falafel heavy.  But the price is right, and everything is Kosher so who knows?  You can probably never have too much falafel in Midtown.

I couldn’t decide between their baguette sandwiches (pastrami, corned beef, etc.), their schnitzel (fried chicken cutlets) or their falafel. But in the end the falafel won out. (You’ve got to start with the basics.)

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Pick A Pita Opening Second Location in Old House of Pita Spot


Well that answers that question.  Pick A Pita, a tiny but righteous falafel and shawarma spot on 38th btw. 7+8th, will be opening a second outpost in the now closed House of Pita space on 8th Ave. btw. 39+40th.  The tiny closet they currently operate will remain open, meaning you will now have two Pick-a-Pita options right around the corner from each other.  HOP fans could do a lot worse; I have a special place in my heart for Pick-a-Pita since it was where I discovered the beauty of french fries in a shawarma sandwich.  They say the new location will be open on October 1st.