Archive for '56th btw. 5+6th'

Your First Look at Ma Peche’s “Eater” Burger

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Eater’s burger week has gotten me pretty excited (though, admittedly, that doesn’t take much effort when burgers are involved.) The list of participating restaurants is decidedly fancy and pricey for the cheapos we champion here at Midtown Lunch, but when I read that Ma Peche would be joining in on the burger fun, I wasn’t going to let a couple extra bucks stop me.

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Your First Look at Ma Peche’s New Sandwiches

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Despite being quite fond of pretty much all of David Chang’s Momofuku ventures, I find that I rarely take the trouble to head to the East Village or fight a damned web site to go to any of them. When Ma Peche (aka MomoMidtown) first opened, I was psyched to have them in Midtown, but being 20 blocks away, I never quite managed to check it out. And then I heard about the new sandwich additions to the lunch menu.  Hello excuse for a  subway-ride lunch!

In fact, it was a good excuse for two back-to-back subway-ride lunches. This week I stopped in two days in a row to try out their new Shrimp Po’ Boy and the Beef Sausage sandwich (and discovered a new happy hour special at the bar!) Check ’em out after the jump.

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Pro Hot Korean Completes the Korean Taco Trifecta

Pro Hot Korean Tacos

Earlier this week, we received reports that Pro Hot Korean (on 56th btw. 5+6th) was offering a Korean taco special this week and next (9/7-9/17). At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ve professed my unabashed predisposition towards Korean tacos during my previous assessments of Café Duke and Bann Next Door. Not to be outdone, the demurely humble Pro Hot Korean joins in on the suddenly chic Korean taco trend with their version of galbi, bulgogi, and spicy chicken filled tacos.

At $4.99 for two, these appear to be priced at a bargain – but how does it compare to its predecessors? We take on the tacos and get a feeling for the fillings after the jump.

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First Look: Submarina is Just a Sliced to Order Version of Subway

Submarina Store Front

Hello, my name is Chris, and I have a problem. I am (forgive me Zach) hopelessly addicted to Subway® sandwiches. Admission of guilt is the first step, and identifying a moral substitute for our shortcomings is the… 6th step? (I could never pay attention in those meetings). This is how I found myself as one of the first customers at the newly opened Submarina. Yes, like Subway, Submarina is a chain – perhaps less evil than the aforementioned sandwich shop, with only 78 national locations (vs. 33,346), an unassuming mission statement, and a suitably proletariat past. But my quest was to kick my $5 foot long habit, and I was lucky enough to pass by Submarina yesterday, which happened to be in the middle of their grand opening.
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Beacon’s Burger Bar Attempts to Gain Coveted Midtown Lunch Status

DSC08894By now, if you’re a regular reader of this site then you have pretty much figured out my rules for what qualifies as a true Midtown Lunch.  The most important rule is probably the one about the meal costing under $10, but I fully admit that sometimes this rule isn’t always clear.  Does that mean with tax it has to be under $10?  How about drinks?  Or chips? Or french fries?  What part of the meal must be $10?  For example alot of people will email me and suggest a sit down restaurant with an $8.95 or $9.95 lunch special.  Sure technically, that could be considered a Midtown Lunch- but I tend to shy away from those places, unless they are doing something that you can’t get anywhere else in Midtown.  After all, once you add tax and tip and everything- it ends up being over $10, and not necessarily a great value.

On the other hand, when the bar menu loophole was discovered at Del Frisco’s I immediately blogged about it.  $9.95 got you high quality steak tips and mashed potatoes at a sit down restaurant, where lunch normally costs $40.  If busting into a super fancy steakhouse, dressed like a schmuck, and eating the cheapest (but totally filling) thing on the menu isn’t the epitome of Midtown Lunch’ish behaviour, then I don’t know what is.  They raised the price two weeks later.  To some, it may still be worth it- but it’s no longer a Midtown Lunch.  In the end, sometimes the whole price thing just comes down to a gut feeling.

So a few weeks back, my gut and I headed over to Beacon, an upscale (read: expensive) American restaurant on 56th btw. 5+6th to check out their “Burger Bar”- which has an under $10 loophole of their own.   Read more »

Cold Noodles at Pro Hot Korean is Actually Bi Bim Naengmyeon


At the peak of the heat last week I reported that Pro Hot Korean (on 56th btw. 5+6th) was now serving naengmyeon, a cold summertime Korean noodle soup- welcome news for anybody who works in the northern part of Midtown and can’t trek to Koreatown for some refreshing cold noodles.  It turns out the version they serve is Bi Bim Naengmyeon, which isn’t a soup at all (like the Japanese hiyashi chuka) but a cold noodle salad mixed with red chile paste, zucchini and apples or asian pear.  Oftentimes it will come with a cold broth on the side and Pro Hot Korean gives you a cup of their “miso” soup, but it was hot so I’m guessing you’re not actually supposed to pour it over the noodles (unless maybe the hot broth gets cooled down by the cold noodles?  I’ll admit, I don’t really know.)

As with anything pre-packaged, and the PHK version of naengmyeon is made in advance, it wasn’t the best thing I had ever had- but it certainly was refreshing and fairly tasty.  They were also serving a kimchee dangmyeon, which is pretty much the same thing (at Pro Hot Korean anyway), but instead of the buckwheat noodles they use the standard Korean glass noodles.  For $2 less ($6.95 instead of $8.95) I think next time I may try the dangmyeon.  Despite using a different noodle, they both looked practically the same from the outside (although the naengmyeon comes with half of a hard boiled egg.)

The best deal is after the jump.   Read more »

Pro “Deli” Loses the Bagel, Goes 100% Korean w/ Best New Bi Bim Bap

Last February I wrote about Pro Hot Bagel, a hole in the wall bagel and cold cuts deli on 56th St. btw. 5+6th, which had sprouted a small Korean food station, and a sushi bar.  The reaction to the food was mixed, but it appeared to be an ok option for people who wanted some cheap fast food Korean, without traveling all the way down to Koreatown.  Well, in the past six months, the deli has dropped the “Bagel” and is now serving a menu made up almost entirely of fast food Korean.

There is a long line of pre-made bentos along the right wall, or you can go up to the front and order your food fresh off a menu, that includes an assortment of Korean meat dishes, a few stews, and Korean style ramen soups.   The new-found popularity has created turnover that insures a much fresher bento then a year ago, and the selection is great.

But the real stand-out of the menu is the $9.50 Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap (Korean rice dish, served in a hot stone bowl).  Confused as to how a fast food, take out style Korean place could do Bi Bim Bap served in a hot stone pot for under $10, I had to check it out.  Hot stone Korean rice porn, after the jump… Read more »

Tina’s Enters the Cuban Food Battle, as Sophie’s Takes Two Steps Back- 4 Steps Forward

Fans of the latin food chain Sophie’s Cuban might have noticed something strange about two of their three Midtown locations.  The branches of Sophie’s that were located on 56th btw. 5+6th and on Madison btw. 33+34th, are now called Tina’s Restaurant.  Both storefronts still have the same menu, and what appears to be the same food… only now they are called Tina’s instead of Sophie’s.

According to a Sophie’s rep:

“Sophie’s has been a family operated business for over ten years in Manhattan. There arose a difference of opinion about how to operate the business among the family members operating Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine restaurants. Sophie’s management believes that outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value to our guests are the most important elements of our business. Tina’s is no longer associated with Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine.”

Based on that quote, you would think the issue was one of standards, but according to one of the employees at Tina’s it had more to do with franchising fees, and the fact that the members of the family who own the two Tina’s locations just didn’t want to pay them.  The owner of Tina’s didn’t return my calls.

Still, Sophie’s soldiers on with their franchising.  Finally, some news on the 40th St. location- plus a new food court location, after the jump… Read more »

Sophie’s Cuban (a full review… in pictures)

You might be surprised to realize that I have never actually given Sophie’s a proper +/- on MidtownLunch.  There was a mention of the Lexington location months and months ago, the reporting about the new 56th St. location, and then the live-blogging of the Grand Opening, but never a proper page that people could refer to for locations and a real +/-.  So… here it is-  in pictures (the best way to enjoy a place like Sophie’s).



An inside shot of the Lexington location. You have two dining options at Sophie’s.  You can sit at a table and order from a waitress (on the left), or get in the cafeteria style line and order directly from the steam tables.  If you get in the line, you have to take your food to go.  This is especially confusing at the 56th St. location, where the tables are in the very back of the restaurant.  If you want to sit and eat, you must bypass the crowds at the steamtable, and head directly to the back to order from the waitresses.  The menu and prices are the same when you sit and order (but you do have to tip, making it a little more expensive.)



The back of the 56th St. location.

Two plates of food fixing to go out, at the 56th St. location.

More food porn, after the jump… Read more »

R.I.P. Kiiroi Hana

Thanks to Tipster Lacey for telling us about this one…


Apparently they are looking for another location to re-open Kiiroi Hana.  Hopefully the new location will be in Midtown, and will include the outside Sushi counter.  If I find out more I’ll let you know…

As always, tips, news & recommendations are welcome at