Archive for '48th btw 5+6th'

HING WON REOPENS: Confirmation posted in the comments, and sent to the ML Inbox, "I just passed by and they're open again!  Talked to the owners and they said they were open since yesterday.  They said they had to go through a bunch of renovations.  No mention about the DOH stickers.  The interior looks as dingy as usual.  Got my pork noodle soup and is as delicious as ever!"

BREAKING: DOH HITS MY FAVORITE CHINESE FOOD: This just arrived in the Midtown Lunch Inbox: "FYI, walked by Hing Won this morning (on 48th btw. 5+6th) and it is closed by the Department of Health."  I think I speak for everyone when I say "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo(t surprising)"  Ignoring Hing Won's dirtiness is something I've been doing for quite awhile.   This changes nothing.  Got news to share?  We'll take it here (even the stuff that's hard to hear.)

Snapshots: For Those About to Chaat…

For people who are used to chicken tikka masala, biriyani and tandoori, ordering “chaat” (the word used to describe small plates of snacks) can be a little more confusing.  To make ordering it a little less intimidating, check out these photos The Flooz (who blogs about Astoria on Joey in Astoria) posted to the Midtown Lunch Flickr Pool, from Indus Express, the fairly new Indian steam table/kati roll place on 48th btw. 5+6th.
Somosa Chaat

The “Somosa” (sic) Chaat – Crisp turnovers, tangy chick peas, yogurt & mint chutney.  $4.95

Papri Chaat – Homemade chips, lentil dumplings, garbanzo beans, potatoes, yogurt, chutneys & spices.  $4.95

A close-up of the Papri Chaat, after the jump… Read more »

Is the McGraw Hill Bldg Getting a Sizzler?

Does anybody know what is going on at the McGraw Hill Building at 1221 Ave. of the Americas?  Rumors have been rampant since the closing of the Duane Reade on the 48th St. side of the building last Monday (that’s right, the city is actually *losing* a Duane Reade for once).  I was hoping that it would add to the Midtown Lunch’ing landscape, and there has been talk of some sort of chain restaurant taking over the space, but the only name I’ve actually heard mentioned is Sizzler, the crappy steak and seafood chain (although the space seems way to small for that).

But the real surprise, are the rumors going around about the space on the opposite side of the building… Read more »

Indus Express is Like an Indian Version of a Midtown Deli

My hatred of the generic Midtown deli is no secret to anybody who reads this blog, but what may surprise you is that it has nothing to do with the concept. The concept is actually pretty great. Variety. Cheapness. Speed. Convenience. Did I mention variety? Plus, it has the “by the lb. buffet”, which to me is like cocaine you buy off a dealer you don’t really know: satisfying on so many different levels, but more expensive than you expected, and lord knows what ends up in it before it reaches your hands.

What I can’t stand about generic delis is the mediocre food. It can be explained in this easy to understand math formula:

A massive amount of office workers in a small space + laziness = Tons of Generic Midtown Delis with crappy food.

The incentive to make good food is gone when your customer base is built in. Put that same generic deli in a location where people will actually have to drag their asses a few blocks- and these businesses would inevitably fail. The owners of Indus Valley, a Zagat Rated (23) Indian Restaurant on 100th & Broadway, have set out to change all that by taking over half of the City Market Cafe on 48th St. btw. 5+6th, and replacing all the generic Midtown deli items, with Indian food. Instead of roast beef and mac & cheese, you get Chicken Tikka Masala & Saag Paneer. The soup station has been replaced with a samosa and pakora center, and possibly the biggest improvement, boring deli sandwiches, swapped out for kati rolls & naan wraps. It’s the kind of ingenuity you love to see in the Midtown Lunch’ing landscape, giving rise to a hybrid that could only exist here. The Generic Midtown Indian Deli.

What they’ve got, and whether or not it’s better than Minar, Kati Roll, the Chapati Roll Cart and Utsav, after the jump… Read more »

First Look: City Market Cafe Becomes Indus Express, Serves Giant Kati Rolls

There is no shortage of generic delis here in Midtown, and we’ve got our decent share of fast and cheap Indian steam tables too.  Combine the two, and then you’re talking craziness!  Walk into what used to be City Market Cafe on 48th btw. 5+6th, and you will find the latest in worktime lunch’ing ingenuity.  Keep the set-up, change the food seems to be the motif at the newly christened Indus Express, the latest cheap, fast food Indian place to open in Midtown.  I haven’t tried anything yet, but early word from a tipster is that the saag paneer is “pretty good”.

They don’t have printed menus yet, so I don’t know exactly what the scope of their offerings will be or how much everything will cost, but they did have a list of basic steam table pricing.  $7.95 gets you two veggies, dal, rice & bread,  $8.95 gets you one meat, two veggies, bread (and I’m assuming rice, although it doesn’t say it),  $9.95 gets you two meats, two veggies, (rice), and bread,  and $10.95 gets you fish with two veggies, and bread. 

They also have a steam table full of nice looking pakoras and samosas.  

But a steam table alone will not pull lunch’ers away from already established Midtown Indian food favorites.  For that, Indus Express is bringing out the big guns, which I have photos of, after the jump… Read more »

First Look: The New Dean & Deluca

 

I hate over-priced food, but there is a soft spot in my heart for Dean & Deluca.  Probably because I could spend hours roaming the big one in Soho (even though I’ve never actually buy anything), just staring at the meats and cheeses and flavored salts and meats and fruit and bread and cheeses and seafood and meats and cheeses and desserts.  Did I mention the mention the meats & cheeses?

Anyway, Dean & Deluca opened their third spinoff in Midtown yesterday, on 48th btw. 5+6th (on the North side of the street).  Unlike the “Cafes” in the Paramount Hotel, or the one next to the Rock Center skating rink (which is right around corner), this location is pretty spacious and will have a much larger focus on lunch.  The normal array of baked goods and sweets are there, but the prepared foods section is much larger, and they even have a station where you can order a custom made sandwich (the other two only sell pre-made sandwiches).

More Dean & Deluca porn after the jump… Read more »

Today is the last day to enjoy the Jamaican Dutchy (for a little while) & the original House of Pita (forever)

Midtown is about to lose an O.G. lunch destination…

House of Pita has lost the lease to their original location- the window space on 48th btw. 5+6th.  You can still enjoy their delicious falafels & burekas (plus more) at the newer full service location on 46th btw. 5+6th,  but today is the last day to get your fix out of the window.  It was one of my first Midtown Lunches, and I will miss it (the window, that is).

The Jamaican Dutchy Cart on 51st & 7th will also be closed starting tomorrow.  More on that, after the jump… Read more »

Reason #412 Not to Eat at Generic Midtown Delis

This photo comes from the wonderful Variety Cafe (48th btw. 5+6th), a place I haven’t eaten in since they were shuttered by the DOH last July.  Thankfully I have co-workers who drag me to generic delis, so I can experience something like this:

Isn’t Peter Luger a renowned Steak House?  Why is this sandwich made with chicken?  And more importantly, I don’t know what Peter Luger Sauce normally tastes like, but the red gloop they put on this sandwich is 100% Cocktail Sauce.  As anybody with taste buds could imagine, cocktail sauce and fresh mozzarella don’t go so great together.  And for the first time in history, I actually couldn’t physically finish a lunch I had paid for.  Disgusting.

Do you have reason #413 for not eating at a Generic Midtown Deli?  Post the photo to the Midtown Lunch Flickr Photo Group, email me at zach@midtownlunch.com or just post a comment below.

Cosi Brings the Lobster “Roll” to Midtown

Limited Time Only Summer Sanwiches from CosiHaving lived in Boston for 9 years, I am very familiar with the lobster roll.  I’m also very familiar with the cheap lobster roll.  That’s because when summer rolled around, cheap lobster rolls would pop up in the unlikeliest of places.  The most well know was probably from the sub chain, D’angelos.  It has become so popular they now offer three different versions.  And then of course there is the McDonald’s lobster roll.  That’s right.  In parts of New England, you can get a lobster roll at McDonald’s for $6.  Scary. (But still better than eating a Big Mac)

Having a lobster roll at a place like McDonald’s for less than $10 can really make you wonder- “What the hell is in this thing?”.  But a real lobster roll is pretty simple.  It’s just lobster meat served in a hot dog roll.  From there, the argument will begin as to what makes the “perfect” lobster roll.  Mayo or no mayo.  Lemon juice or no lemon juice.  Celery is sometimes added, and often a layer of lettuce can be put under the lobster meat or salad.  Grilling the hot dog bun first, and brushing it with melted butter can’t hurt either.  But there is one thing that everybody can agree on- the more lobster (and the bigger the chunks), the better.  Claws always welcome!

Unfortunately, the more meat in the sandwich, the more expensive it’s going to be.  That’s why a good lobster roll will usually run you $14-18 in New England, with many fancy New York restaurants charging upwards of $25+ for their version.  While some purists would never eat a fast food lobster roll, some of us more frugal diners want to be able to experience that taste, without dropping a ton of money.  So when Cosi introduced their limited time only “Lobster Salad Sandwich”, I was pretty excited.

What it looks like, what it tastes like and the mayo filled +/- after the jump… Read more »