Fans of Uncle Gussy’s Truck know to stalk the Twitter Tracker to see what special owners Nick and Franky’s mom has made for the day. Lamb chops and pork chops are popular in the rotation (it’s hard to beat mom’s oven roasted lemon potatoes), but keep your eyes peeled for Pastistio.
Archive for 'Greek'
Poseidon Bakery, the truly “old school” Greek spot on 9th ave btw. 44+45th is primarily known for their sweets. I love baklava but I’m rarely craving dessert on my lunch hour. I was a bit more interested in Poseidon’s savory pastries (like their spanakopita) and was curious if they were worth trekking one avenue out of bounds for.
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Now that Downtown has its very own section of the site, what are we going to post on Fridays? Answer… how about a column devoted to those lunches just south of the ML boundaries. Every week we post about a lunch in Murray Hill south, Gramercy, Flatiron, and everything in between… or to make it easy: Flatiron Lunch.
When the Souvlaki GR truck took home Rookie of the Year honors at this year’s Vendy Awards, they were still in their infancy, but I was really looking forward to them eventually serving lunch in Midtown. Unfortunately, they seem to be getting very cozy in a regular noon-9pm spot at 21st and 6th. Hopefully, they will still make it to Midtown eventually, but why wait? A few weeks ago, I took a (temporary) break from mourning Midtown’s loss to celebrate Flatiron’s gain (it’s still better than trekking to Astoria, right?). I can now say that wherever they park, Souvlaki GR is a great addition to the NYC food truck scene (and it’s just a few F stops away).
I am eagerly anticipating the Midtown debut of the Souvlaki GR truck, this year’s Vendy Rookie of the Year winner. It seems like something truly unique in an increasingly varied Midtown street food scene. As it turns out though, someone is already serving up Greek pork souvlaki right here in Midtown… the old school, new look Uncle Gussy’s (on 51st and Park Ave.) As you know from the letter they sent us last week, Uncle Gussy’s has been in business for 39 years (Nick, the owner, took it over from his uncle- natch), and recently they upgraded to a truck that makes them look more new school. Gussy’s chicken and lamb over rice failed to distinguish itself in Street Meat Palooza 3 (their first appearance) with a 12th place finish, but what we didn’t realize is they also serve souvlaki comparable to what you can get from the fabled Astoria vendors (his cousin Frank actually runs the famous souvlaki cart on Steinway).
Astoria style souvlaki, on the streets of Midtown?! This is pretty huge news indeed. Read more »
From Lunch’er Jason:
Dear Midtown Lunch, I have been a loyal reader for the better part of the last 5 or 6 months, and this has been the tastiest half year of my life. I work at 51st and Park Ave, and today I saw a new truck on the corner of 50th and Park. It seemed to be a Greek style chicken/lamb and rice truck that also offered souvlaki. All of their dishes seem to come in the form of sandwiches too. I would have stopped for lunch had I not already mentally committed to a huarache from El Rey del Sabor. The attached picture is the truck in question. I’ve never seen it before and I was wondering if [anybody] may have additional information about this mysterious blue Greek truck.
We’re on the case Jason. In the meantime, has anybody already tried this cart? Let us know how it is in the comments. Turns out this truck is an oldie but goodie…
You all know that Midtown Lunch has a love affair with the gyro, whether being served chopped up as the “lamb” portion of a halal platter, or patiently cooked and sliced correctly to be served in a real gyro (like they do at the Famous Chicken Place or at Uncle Nick’s on 9th Ave.) But ever wonder about the origin of this mystery meat on a spit? If you answered yes, than you have to read the gyro article in this morning’s food section of the New York Times. It traces the first mass produced gyro to a Jewish (?!?) owned business in Chicago, and even has a video of the gyro making process, which “starts with boxes of raw beef and lamb trimmings, and ends with what looks like oversized Popsicles the shade of a Band-Aid.” I even recognized Gyro II (on 7th Ave. btw. 33+34th) as the footage they used at the very beginning of the video! (Although if you are a little squeamish when it comes to raw meat, I would skip the video. It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.) Check it out>>
“Why don’t you write about the places on 9th Ave.!?!” is a question I get a lot. My reply is usually some form of “Well then I have to go to 2nd Ave., and 26th street, and 65th Street… and then it never ends.” Essentially, you have to have boundaries or else it’s complete chaos. And while there are people who work on the outskirts who will travel to 2nd Ave. or 9th Ave. for lunch, most Midtown Lunch’ers will not… unless there is something that is going to make everyone say “oh man… I need that now.” Like banh mi, or tacos, or thai food, or $1 fried chicken. Or gyros (and Greek pastries!)
The age old gyro question came up again last week, when Profiled Lunch’er Harry asked if there was a real Greek gyro to be had in Midtown. Street carts, chop their gyro up and fry it on the griddle, rather than allowing it to fully cook on the spit, Gyro II leaves a lot to be desired, and while Famous Chicken Place does a bang up job- we still don’t have a real deal Greek gyro in the ML boundaries. Unless you are willing to travel to 9th Avenue. Uncle Nick’s and Posiedon Bakery were (enthusiastically) recommended in the comments… and when commenters speak, I listen. And boy am I glad I did.
After posting about the mediocre gyro at Gyro II, I complained that I couldn’t find a decent Greek version of the gyro sandwich in Midtown (my nit picky distinction between a “Greek” gyro, and what you get at street meat carts is in the original post). As always, the commenting faithful had some good suggestions, and while most of them were out of bounds (that’s where all the good stuff is), there were a few places I vowed to check out. Seeing as how I am already a big fan of the Famous Chicken Place on 3rd Ave. btw. 38+39th, I figured I’d start there.
Since I started this site, I’ve been on a quest to find a *real* gyro sandwich in Midtown. And when I say ji-roh or yee-roh or however the hell you want to pronounce it, I mean the Greek inspired sandwich, featuring slices taken from those giant hunks of rotating meat you see on every street meat cart in Midtown, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce (the white yogurt sauce with shredded or sliced cucumbers). Not shawarma (which has a distinctly Middle Eastern flavor), not the pre-made gyro ovals they serve at diners, and not that chopped up stuff you see served off of every street meat cart in Midtown. I want a real Greek style gyro. (I say Greek style because I don’t actually know what an authentic gyro sandwich in Greece is all about… I just know what I ate at Greek festivals growing up as a kid, and I love it.)
I understand the economics of the situation. While most street meat carts have the generic lamb slab used by most Greek restaurants that serve gyro sandwiches, they don’t have the time to allow it to fully cook up on the spit. So what do they do? They cut it off before it has a chance to brown, chop it up into pieces, mix it with onions, peppers, and whatever else, and cook it on the flat top. Tasty… but not a gyro. I just want a simple sandwich, with gyro meat that has been given the chance to get crispy on the spit, sliced and put directly into a piece of soft pita, topped with onion, lettuce, tomato and Greek yogurt (not the street meat “white sauce”).