Archive for '40th btw. 7+8th'

Maoz Tastes Good, But Proves That The Best Falafel Pita is Built By Professionals


Maoz Vegetarian, the European build your own falafel chain with branches in Union Square, NYU, and the UWS, opened their very first Midtown location a few weeks ago (on 7th Ave. and 40th Street). There is no shortage of falafel options in Midtown, but I have always been intrigued by Maoz- especially since Serious Eats: New York named it the best falafel in Union Square. So last week I headed over to give this new addition to the Midtown Lunch scene a try.

If you’ve already been to Maoz, I’m guessing this is no different than any of the other locations. Like any chain, the operation seems pretty streamlined and I’m guessing it’s the same from place to place. I had no basis for comparison, so on this visit was just a fat guy wondering if this was going to replace any of my other go to falafel places in Midtown. I like the idea of building my own sandwich, because layering is incredibly important to me- and so many places just don’t do it right. I was kind of excited to get to give the sandwich building a go.

Read more »

Maoz Vegetarian Expands into Midtown


It looks like Sahara Grill, the old Turkish take out place on 40th & 7th that closed in January, is being replaced by a branch of Maoz Vegetarian- the European falafel chain. Maoz has locations all over the world, including three in NYC, but this is their first in Midtown; and while I haven’t tried it yet, Serious Eats:New York called it the best falafel in Union Square. The positives: you get your choice of some tasty looking toppings (like eggplant, hard boiled egg, avocado, or feta) and they have Belgian fries (the chain started in Amsterdam).  The negatives: another small, individually owned Midtown Lunch place is being replaced by a chain.

I doubt it will supplant Olympic Pita (on 38th btw. 5+6th) as my favorite falafel in the area- but it does set up the inevitable Maoz vs. Crisp falafel chain showdown.  Crisp’s second location is opening just down the street at the end of the week (on 40th btw. 6+B’way).  No word yet on when Maoz will be opening.

Sophie’s Cuban Gets Reviewed by the NY Times

The Fried Pork Sandwich from Tina's Restaurant, Midtown NYC
Fried Pork and Plantain Sandwich

Yesterday it was Gourmet Magazine editor Ruth Reichl shining a light on Midtown Lunch’ing, this morning it’s the New York Times.  Sophie’s Cuban, one of the more popular lunch’ing options we have (and not just because of their free lunch grand openings), is reviewed in the $25 and under column in the New York Times today.  Considering that the newest location (40th btw. 7+8th) is across the street from their building, it’s not all that surprising.  Pete wells pays special attention to the pork and plantain sandwich, calling it “authentic sandwich bliss.”  He also mentioned the all too familiar sensation of having your “mind go blank“ shortly after eating it.  My brain is going numb just thinking about it. [NYT]

At Lunch Now: Free Food Craziness at Sophie’s Cuban (Updated)

You didn’t think a little rain would keep us cheapos away, did you? It’s 12:01 and the line is already stretched down the block at the newly opened Sophie’s Cuban on 40th btw. 7+8th… but it moves quickly. And they even have oxtails.The inside crowd, what I got, plus the ultimate Sophie’s surprise (for anybody who didn’t take their food to go), after the jump…

Read more »

Free Food Alert: Sophie’s Cuban on 40th Finally Opening

Disclaimer: This is not live.
Photo from Sophie’s 56th St. Grand Opening, March 2007

Just got word that the Sophie’s Cuban on 40th btw. 7+8th (that we’ve been waiting for since April of Last year!) will have its customary, pre-grand opening “Free Food Day”, tomorrow- Wednesday March 19th.  The restaurant won’t actually be ready to go until late tomorrow afternoon, but they will be bringing in tons of food from their other locations to feed the hordes.

They expect to be ready to go at 11:30am, and will serve a limited menu of free food until it all runs out (they plan on making it until late afternoon, but with Con-Ed still being a question mark, and the food coming from another location, they cannot be positive).    

Unlike the perfect weather at their last grand opening, which made for long lines, tomorrow is looking to be rainy, meaning us die hard free food/Sophie’s fans should be in good shape.  (On the other hand it’s a very short walk from the New York Times building, and we all know how well journalists are paid… so it could be a long lunch.)

What “free food day” got you last March on 56th St., after the jump… Read more »

Labeleca? La Bellezza? Either way, they make a damn good Chicken Parm

And so the quest to find the best chicken parm sub in Midtown rambles on.  First, there was Tuscany Catering, the little hidden catering place/take out counter on 55th btw. 5+6th.  I was down with it, but my boss (the resident chicken parm expert) wasn‘t impressed- and a few commenters noted that it was just average.  The train moved on to 45th St., where we hit up Little Italy Pizza.  The bread was good, but the chicken was not up to par, unlike across the street at Park Italian- where the chicken is good, but the bread was weak the day we were there (apparently, their 1st string bread is much better than their 2nd string bread, and maybe we got the back up bread?).

Commenter Margot mentioned La Bellezza on 49th btw. Lex+3rd, and since then, I have gotten a few more recommendations over email.  Then, two weeks ago, Profiled Midtown Lunch’er “David” mentioned the Chicken Parm from a La Bellezza on 40th & 7th.  Same place?  Different place?  What is going on here?  I set out to discover some answers… and by that, I mean I used this as an excuse to eat Chicken Parm subs for lunch in one week.

What I discovered, and some chicken parm sub porn- after the jump… Read more »

The New Popeyes

I finally made it down to the brand new Popeyes I reported about on Fat Tuesday.  If you hadn’t heard, Popeyes is back in Midtown with a location on 40th btw. 7th & 8th Ave.  I ate there on Friday, and felt pretty disgusting the rest of the day.  But you know what?  It was worth it.  Sure in retrospect the third piece of chicken and second biscuit may have been overkill… but hindsight is twenty twenty.  Popeyes is awesome. 

Like fried chicken, alot is written about great hamburgers in New York City.  People argue all the time over who makes the best burger in the city.  Shake Shack and Burger Joint are always on the list, and new places seem to open up every week.  Then of course there are the expensive burgers, with truffles and foie gras and the such.  In the end, a $3 Big Mac tastes good, but it’s no competition for a real burger, made with quality beef.

Fried chicken is a whole different ball game.  I don’t care what kind of prejudice you have against fast food places, I’m telling you, Popeyes is frickin good.  If you want delicious fried chicken, you will be hard pressed to find some that tastes better than the spicy chicken at Popeyes.  Sure, your extra money might buy you better side dishes, a fancier atmosphere and organic chickens that were treated very nicely before they were dipped in batter and fried up crispy… but in the end, when you are just talking about taste- Popeyes can hold its own with the best of them.

Pictures and a +/- after the jump… Read more »

BREAKING NEWS: Popeyes Opens in time to make it an extra FAT Tuesday

Now this is exciting.  The new Popeyes I reported on a few weeks ago (on 40th btw. 7th & 8th) has opened!!! And just in time to celebrate Fat Tuesday. 

For those of us longing to be in New Orleans right now for Mardi Gras, this will be have to be our consolation prize.  (It’s no “Mama’s” Chicken Box, but it will do!)  Spicy Fried Chicken, biscuits (made with lard), and red beans and rice.

Pics of the inside, after the jump… Read more »