Last week we brought you the news that the popular Turkish food Bryant Park (and Columbus Circle) holiday market kiosk Mmm…Enfes had opened a brick and mortar on 39th street. Over the years I’ve had a chance to sample a few of Mmm…Enfes’ specialties like their buttery gözleme. With the storefront they’ve had the opportunity to expand their menu so naturally I was eager to check it out. Read more »
Archive for '39th btw. 5+6th'
I was planning on eating at the newly opened Lan Sheng yesterday (on 39th btw. B’way+6th), but found myself drawn instead into Madeline’s- the very good catering company/lunch spot on the same block that I wrote about last April. I won’t lie, a specials sign touting a steak sandwich probably wouldn’t have registered a reaction; but a “Korean BBQ Steak Sandwich” and I’m in. (What can I say, it’s not just Asian soups I’m addicted to. It’s Asian everything.)
39th Street btw. 5+6th has been a hot bed of activity over the past month. Colbeh, an out of the ML price range Glatt Kosher restaurant, moved into much fancier digs across the street, there’s a new sushi restaurant open called Soi, and Szechuan Gourmet (on 39th btw. 5+6th) might have some new competition. Lan Sheng, a new “Szechuan” restaurant, is set to open across the street from SG in the next week or two. They are undoubtedly hoping to get some of the overflow from the always packed during lunchtime Szechuan Gourmet, and based on their menu it looks like the food could go either way…
I don’t know the exact history of Six-0 Catering on 39th btw. 5+6th, but it has been around for as long as I can recall. In fact, I still remember the first time I walked by the place, and was intrigued by its sign touting Mexican food- from an American looking catering place. It was a complete dump, and the day I walked in was practically empty- save for the one guy behind the counter who told me “we have no burritos today.” Since then, Six-0 has undergone a massive transformation (both physically and existentially.) Before they seemed like catering company, that happened to serve lunch food if you hit them on the right day. Now, under their new name Madeline’s, they seem like a Midtown lunch place that also happens to do catering. And I was kind of surprised at how good and cheap all the food was.
OMG! Did you know that when celebrities listen to you, it validates your opinion? I wonder if Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick read Midtown Lunch? (They don’t, but they should.) Two weeks ago the NY Observer spotted the couple outside of what they thought might have been Szechuan Gourmet, a popular Midtown Lunch spot given two stars by Frank Bruni in the New York Times. Yesterday it was confirmed by US Weekly (yes, I read my wife’s copy of US Weekly):
During dinner with friends at Szechuan Gourmet, a low-key Chinese restaurant, the Sex and the City star [Parker] and her hubby [Broderick] noshed on braised beef, fish fillets, sliced pork belly and crispy fried lamb. “They were very nice,” owner Cheng Zhong Huang tells US. “It was their first time here, and they were having a good time.”
What are you talking about low key? Clearly US Weekly has never been there at 1pm on a Wednesday. Surprisingly this isn’t the first time Sarah Jessica Parker and Midtown Lunch have collided. She told Grub St. last year that she loves street meat, and her favorite cart is on 55th & 6th Avenue. (Btw, nice ordering.)
I walked by Curry Dream Indian Buffet on 39th btw. 5+6th the other day, and noticed something interesting: it was kind of packed. I guess this wouldn’t be such a huge surprise, unless you knew a little bit about Curry Dream. I first wrote about this place in March of 2007, back when it was still one of the only under $10 Indian buffets in Midtown (they’ve since raised their prices.) It was ok for the price, but nothing I would have traveled far out of my way for. One commenter wrote that the restaurant might be a little dirty (roaches were mentioned, but this is all heresay). Despite the comments, the restaurant still quoted Midtown Lunch (sort of) in their newspaper ad. Very exciting stuff.
Needless to say, I haven’t been back since- and most of the time the place seemed fairly empty… that is until last week. I walked by during lunch and it was pretty hopping, despite the fact that they raised the price of the buffet at the beginning of the year. This could mean a few things: A) I’m on crack. The place was always crowded, I just didn’t notice. B) It has gotten a lot better since I first visited a year and a half ago. Or C) people love paying more for things. Could it be that a higher price buffet gives people a greater sense of security that their food is clean? What do you think? Has anybody been lately?
After Frank Bruni awarded Szechuan Gourmet 2 stars in yesterday’s New York Times, I panicked. Of course I was excited for the place, but a lot of that excitement merely served to hide an underlying fear. I will never be able to eat lunch in Szechuan Gourmet again. And even if I could get in, would it still be the same? Doesn’t Wu Liang Ye (on 48th btw. 5+6th) and all the rest of the Midtown Chinese dinosaurs have New York Times articles in their windows? And look at them now. Not terrible, but shells of their former selves. Granted, those articles were from 1984, but who’s counting.
With all this in mind we rushed over to Grand Szechuan for lunch yesterday, mere hours from the time that Bruni’s accolades were made public, super curious over what we would find. Pandemonium? Sub par food from a cocky overwhelmed kitchen? Mass hysteria? As I walked up 39th St. I noticed a few people with dejected looks on their faces carrying take out menus back to their office. Not a good sign. Read more »
In the past two months alone, the New York Times has discovered numerous Midtown Lunch’ing favorites. There was the Treats Truck piece, and the mention of the Jamaican Dutchy cart, plus the under $25 review of Sophie’s Cuban. But this… this is much much bigger. Midtown Lunch’ers have know about Szechuan Gourmet, on 39th btw. 5+6th, for awhile, but now the secret is officially out. Frank Bruni awarded the Chinese restaurant 2 stars in this mornings New York Times. Not a fun little piece about our favorite sit down Chinese restaurant in Midtown. Not even an under $25 review (amazingly lunch is still under $10). A full fledged, rate it like you’re eating at Le Bernardin, New York Times review. Two mother-fucking stars. That is some crazy shit. A Midtown Lunch people!
Back in March I wrote about how much of a madhouse the place had become during lunch. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like now. As long as the lunch menu stays under $10 I’m not gonna be mad…
Al Baraka, Midtown’s best only Turkish buffet, is now Kanaat Turkish Restaurant. The chef, food and lunch buffet are exactly the same, but it is now $10.95 (up from $9.95 before). The lamb shanks are still on the buffet, so it’s worth the extra buck, but the current trend of lunchtime price increases worries me that soon all buffets will need special exemptions to be included in the Midtown Lunch’ing price range.
Another popular buffet that has broken the $10 threshold, after the jump… Read more »
When Kati Roll lost their lease, and was forced to move from 46th St. to 39th St. (btw. 5+6th), it was at the peak of Midtown Lunch popularity. There were long lines to order, 20+ minute waits for your food and it even spawned two copycat carts down the street (only one of them survived).
Now, 4 months later and in their new location, the lines are gone. The crowds, nowhere to be found as the new Kati Roll waits for the lazy, set in their ways workers in Midtown South to discover them for the first time. One thing that hasn’t changed, is the food, and if you work near the old Kati Roll and don’t have time to walk the extra 7 blocks to the new location, they now offer delivery.
The minimum order is $20, but they told me if you got above $15 they would probably do it. The delivery area is from 30th St. to 50th St., between Lexington & 8th Ave. They’ve also added a new, and fairly strange take out menu- for those who are not so good at reading.
Check it out after the jump… Read more »