This just in from Lunch’er “Matt”: “Not sure if this has been reported yet (I didn’t see anything) but the Free Foods NYC on 52nd btw. 3rd+Lex is closed! It was definitely open last week when I passed by and I even saw the chef ordering product out front. In hindsight maybe he was taking inventory! Anyways I figured I’d pass along the news so you can break the bad news to the masses. The windows were completely papered up.” According to the owner most of the business at that location was delivery, so they decided to consolidate operations. I’m guessing that means if you used to have food delivered from the 52nd location, you can still order from the original FreeFoods NYC on 45th btw. 5+6th.
Archive for 'FreeFoods NYC'
Following in the footsteps of Chop’t, FreeFoods NYC (on 45th btw. 5+6th & 52nd btw. Lex+3rd) is introducing their own version of the banh mi today. Of course “their version” means it’s free range chicken and wildly overpriced. It comes topped with pickled carrots, toasted peanuts and red chili mayo on a Sullivan Street Bakery baguette. If you thought paying $8 at Boi Sandwich was ridiculous, I can’t imagine how you’ll feel spending $11 on this version of a banh mi. Unless some (rich) early adopters say it’s the greatest sandwich of all time, I don’t think I’ll be breaking the ML price boundaries for this.
Also happening today in the Midtown Lunch sandwich world… Certe (on 55th btw. 5+6th) introduces their June entry to the Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge: a beer battered jumbo soft shell crab with bibb lettuce, remoulade sauce on a toasted butter potato roll ($8.95). Nice. I love soft shelled crab, so I’m thinking this sandwich will continue the same streak of awesomeness that brought us the Thanksgiving Dip and The Primavera.
I think most people will agree that the biggest surprise of the Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge was the duck pastrami reuben created by FreeFoods NYC (on 45th btw. 5+6th & 52nd btw. 3rd+Lex). It was so delicious, that most of us were willing to ignore the fact that it was kind of small, and very expensive ($9.95). It was especially hard for those who vowed never to step food in a place that serves the kind of super expensive raw/vegan/organic/yuppie food that FreeFoods is known for. But the sandwich was freakin’ awesome. And in the end taste triumphs over everything.
And then the
unthinkable thing we knew was going to happen, happened. They raised the price. Part of the Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge is that everything had to be under $10… so they introduced it at $9.95, only to raise it to $12 now that the sandwich is so popular. Normally I would institute an immediate boycott, but FreeFoods was too smart for that. They simultaneously introduced a new $9.75 sandwich, that sounded too good to pass up. It’s not part of the Sandwich Challenge, but the owner admitted that they made it with the Midtown Lunch readers in mind. Sloppy Leo’s Brisket Melt.
A few months ago FreeFoods NYC made the exciting announcement that their Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge Entry, the amazing duck reuben, was going to be permanently added to the menu (in addition to a few more Midtown Lunch’ish sounding sandwiches.) However, they neglected to mention one incredibly important thing: the Duck Reuben is now $12. How dare they serve up a $10 sandwich, get us all addicted to it, and then raise the price out of Midtown Lunching range. It’s a travesty. Duck reuben, you are dead to me.
Thankfully, there is an under $10 brisket sandwich replacement that is already getting raves.
Duck Pastrami Reuben. Photo by Food In Mouth
FreeFoods NYC may be expensive and a lot of their food might be completely against what Midtown Lunch stands for, but you can’t fault them for trying. Their Duck Pastrami Reuben was one of the best entries of the entire Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge, and apparently they’ve got some more similar offerings on the way.
“Just letting you know we’re planning on launching the Spring/Summer Menu April 20th and we’ve added some great new sandwiches that we feel are considerably closer to what the ML crowd might be looking for, after learning a bit more about what they enjoy as a function of your website, so thank you.”
A sneak peek at a few of the new additions (custom made for you!) after the jump:
More Sandwich Challenge News: As you know Friday is the last day for Certe’s Thanksgiving Dip, but FreeFoods NYC has decided to extend their Duck Pastrami Reuben into March. Originally the sandwich was going to be a Feburary special but the response has been so great they’ve decided to keep it on the menu for the time being. The real question is, is it the same sandwich I had 3 weeks ago? A few commenters say no:
I had the opportunity to try this today [and] mine looks nothing like the picture. not pink and fatty duck, but dry, grayish, and liver-y tasting meat. duck, cheese, bread, cannot go wrong, but i have to say i was disappointed. and probably would go as far to say that if one goes to freefoods expecting it to look like the picture above, they’d be let down. the bread in one half of it was falling apart and for a few bites i was holding the duck itself. not sure if this is a trend or a few instances of negligence, but i’d say to anyone looking to try this sandwich to keep your expectations in check
There are definitely people who got sandwiches that looked like mine, but recently there have been a couple complaints like this one, and it corresponded with a rumor that FreeFoods was no longer making the sandwiches to order. I emailed FreeFoods to make sure they were still making the same sandwich I got on day one, and the General Manager’s response is after the jump…
Matt Kenney, chef of FreeFoods NYC and well known vegan chef, responds to the question of how he could submit a duck sandwich to the Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge: “Competitive spirit perhaps — I felt it was important to show our diversity and attention to detail with all of our cuisine, not just that which is vegan. It was a personal challenge as well; creating something that would be publicly judged without ever having tasted it myself. Fortunately, our Chef de Cuisine, Leo Monroy, has an amazing palate.” That sandwich was created by a vegan? That’s freakin’ crazy…
We could go back and forth about whether or not FreeFoods NYC is a true Midtown Lunch (it’s not), or whether or not I should even be eating at a place like this (I shouldn’t). But the simple fact is this. They made a new sandwich, put it on their menu, called it “The Midtown Lunch Special”, and charged under $10 for it (if you don’t include the tax). So, according to the rules set forth in my Midtown Lunch sandwich challenge, I am obligated to go and eat the sandwich and post about it. I never said I had to like it… just eat it, and post about it.
Standing in FreeFoods, I could feel my anger rising. I mean, this place is really expensive. Sure, most of it is organic, they use the best ingredients, and it is one of the few places in Midtown where a vegetarian, vegan, or raw foods enthusiast can get a decent lunch. But I don’t fall into any of those categories, and my category (cheap fatso) is clearly not intended audience. The sandwiches are all $11 and up (except for the ML special), the by the lb. buffet is $395 a pound (or so it seems), and their non coffee drinks are $3 at their cheapest and $8 at their most expensive. In other words, if you want more than just a sandwich, you’re not getting out of here for less than $15.
There is only one problem. The “Midtown Lunch Special Sandwich”, a duck pastrami reuben, is really freakin’ good.
So far I have managed to avoid FreeFoods NYC, the expensive, mostly organic, new deli with an emphasis on raw and vegetarian foods (they do have meat though). I’ve got nothing against their food… just the price, which can get pretty expensive, pretty quick. Luckily for those who were interested Kathy YL Chan, from A Passion for Food, was willing to sacrifice herself by eating through their menu, and posting about it here on Midtown Lunch.
Well FreeFoods NYC has outsmarted me by deciding to take on the Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge, which was announced last week; ensuring that I will have to go in and at least try the sandwich they have created. Their entry? A free range duck reuben featuring brown sugar-cured duck pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss, and a red chili Russian dressing (on toasted rye). It’s a pricey $9.99 (most of their sandwiches cost about that), but actually sounds kind of good. Alright FreeFoods… you’ve won this round. Let’s see how good your sandwich is.
Clearly I wasn’t going to win the free lunch for a month from FreeFoods contest with the essay I wrote (although surpringly they included one of my quotes in a list of their “submissions,” even though I never technically entered it), so I probably won’t be eating at the super expensive upscale organic deli owned by Matthew Kenney anytime soon. (Many have commented that it tastes good, but I just can’t bring myself to spend the money.) But I know there are a lot of vegetarians, and organic food enthusiasts (it’s not all vegetarian stuff) who can afford it, and lucky for those people Kathy YL Chan (from A Passion For Food) was willing to take a hit for the team, and eat her way through the FFNYC menu. Here is her report… (those who get offended by overpriced healthy food, avert your eyes now.)
Full disclaimer: I am a pork lover, I am a foie gras lover, and prefer my bread toasted with melted lard smothered over the top. I eat dessert till no end, and then chase it with a beer or two. But every now and then, it’s rather interesting and fun to delve into the vegan world. Hence, my report on FreeFoodsNYC (which is not entirely vegan, or vegetarian for that matter.)
The new FreeFoods NYC is exactly what we don’t need in this economy: very fancy-smanshy, very-expensive organic, vegan, and raw food version of a standard Midtown deli. Regardless, it’s pretty tasty and I’ll confess to a growing addiction.