Archive for '55th btw. 3+Lex'

Darbar Grill is For Indulgent Indian Lunches

The last post tagged “Indian” was in 2013, the last post tagged “Buffet, All You Can Eat” was in 2011, and the last post about Darbar Grill was in 2009. I think that means it’s time for a bit of a refresher…

How much I ate, after the jump!

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Apna Taj Indian Buffet Lowers Prices to Compete With (the Most Excellent) Darbar Grill


When the Indian buffet Apna Taj took over the former East Ocean space back in March (on 55th btw. Lex+3rd) I noted that for just 45 cents less (they charge $10.50) they probably weren’t going to siphon off any business from the popular Indian buffet next door, Darbar Grill (which is $10.95).  Clearly they got the message, because they just lowered the price of their all you can buffet to $9.50. As anybody who reads this site regularly knows, I find something very appealing about all you can eat buffets that come in below that $10 threshold (they are dwindling by the day, so to see one drop the price is very exciting.)  Now, I will definitely be trying Apna Taj very soon.

Darbar Grill

Last month I went to 55th st. looking for some Indian buffet action and Darbar Grill was the obvious choice. Always pretty crowded, a ton of options, 3 (!!!) dessert choices, and of course- the infamous make your own dosa station. Photos of that meal, are after the jump…

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Indian Buffet Takes Over Old East Ocean Space


The space that used to be occupied by the cheap Chinese food place East Ocean (on 55th btw. Lex+3rd) has finally been filled by Apna Taj, an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet. I’m willing to go up to $11 for an all you can eat buffet, so this one (for $10.50) just makes it under the cap. It’s kind of ballsy to open up another Indian buffet 2 doors down from the upscale Darbar Grill (which is only 45 cents more expensive), and a ML reader has already sent me an email crying out for a head-to-head.

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Friday is Sidewalk Samosa Day at Kanaat


Lunch’er Joe made this pretty sweet discovery last week, and was nice enough to send along a few photos. Apparently Kanaat, the all you can eat Turkish buffet formerly known as Al Baraka on 55th btw. Lex+3rd, sells $1 samosas on the sidewalk in front of their restaurant on Fridays during lunch. I don’t know about you, but there is something about samosas being sold on the street that makes them that much more Midtown Lunch’ish, don’t you think?

In addition to the samosas, they also sell “boxed lunches”- which is not just sold in a box, but also out of a box. Check that out after the jump.

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The $9.99 All You Can Eat Buffet Takes Two More Steps To Becoming Extinct in Midtown

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 »

The Steam Table at East Ocean is by the Chinese, for the Chinese

There are two kinds of Chinese steam table places in Midtown.  The kind that’s made for people who like “Americanized” Chinese food (i.e. Yips).  And the kind that’s made for Chinese people, who live in America.  (Hing Won on 48th btw. 5+6th does both really well, making it my favorite cheap Chinese food in Midtown.)  Awhile back, I wrote about the 38th St. Restaurant & Bakery, one of these “authentic” Chinese places, opened for workers in the Garment District (and any adventurous white people who work in the Southeastern corner of Midtown). 

But what if you are in the opposite corner of Midtown?  Well, I found your place.  For those of you working in the Northeast corner of Midtown, there is East Ocean on 55th btw. Lex+3rd.  On the outside it looks like your average Midtown cheap Chinese place… but at lunchtime they put a steam-table that is not quite for everyone.  Let’s put it this way, if you’re looking for Chinese food, where you have to ask what each item is (and General Tso’s chicken is a rarity), than this is your new favorite place.

What they’ve got, and a +/- after the jump… Read more »

Al Baraka… the Turkish Buffet


I’m a big fan of the buffet.  Not any particular buffet… just buffets in general.  I like the style of eating.  I like the variety.  I like the extent to which I can embarrass myself by eating a ridiculous amount of food.  Chinese would have to be my favorite kind of buffet, because I find it very hard to order just one thing at a Chinese food restaurant.  I’m actually a huge fan of any kind of Asian food in buffet form.  Sushi is not ideal (because of the freshness), but I have found a couple that I enjoy (like the Korean/Sushi buffet Arang, in Koreatown).  Indian buffets are great.  All you can eat Naan is an added bonus… and the only time I will lower my “don’t eat the bread” buffet rule.

American buffets are ok, but they are definitely my least favorite.  The buffet that a pregnant Frances McDormand ate at in Fargo (with the meatballs) looked pretty sweet… but unfortunately fictional buffets don’t count… and even if it does exist- I doubt I’ll ever be in that small town in Minnesota.  I love the buffets in Vegas- but I usually end up eating the Asian food- so that doesn’t really count as an “American” buffet.  I haven’t been to Charles Southern Kitchen (a Soul Food Buffet in Harlem) but it’s pretty high on the list.  Fried chicken on a buffet is the greatest and worst thing of all time… but I did survive a KFC buffet off I-95 in Florida once, so I’m sure I’ll be ok.

So on Friday, I was walking in an area of Midtown I had never been before and stumbled upon something very exciting (to me, because I’m fat and love buffets).  The place was called Al-Baraka, and it was something I had never seen before in all my buffet eating… a Turkish Buffet.  It passed the price test ($9.95), and the look test (the best part about eating at a buffet is that you can go in and take a peek at what you’re paying for) so I decided to check it out.

What I ate, the food porn and the +/- all after the jump…

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