Archive for 'New York Times'

Pete Wells’ Takedown of Flavortown is the Funniest Thing You’ll Read All Day


We thought that our live blog of the very first lunch service at Guy’s American Bar & Grill (on 44th btw. 7+8th) was pretty great… but it pales in comparison to the treatment it received today as the New York Times’ weekly restaurant review. Pete Wells asks 50 (I counted) rhetorical questions of Guy Fieri in one of the most amazing and memorable reviews I’ve ever read. I couldn’t possibly do it justice by saying any more, so I simply encourage to read the masterpiece and share your favorite lines in the comments. Here are mine…

  • Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu, where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex?
  • How did nachos, one of the hardest dishes in the American canon to mess up, turn out so deeply unlovable?
  • And when we hear the words Donkey Sauce, which part of the donkey are we supposed to think about?
  • Why did the toasted marshmallow taste like fish?
  • Oh, and we never got our Vegas fries; would you mind telling the kitchen that we don’t need them?

Food Truck Crackdown Confirmed by the Times: We've been covering the big food truck crackdown in Midtown for weeks now, but there is something extra disheartening about seeing it in the paper of record.  Today's New York Times devotes a full article to the news, complete with interviews of the Treats Truck and Rickshaw Dumpling.

Can’t Decide on a Coffee Cart? Check For Posted Signs

City Room noticed this amazing sign posted on 43rd Street and 6th Ave, and went so far as to interview the two different coffee cart vendors. The best part of the whole thing? They’re owned by the same guy, and serve the same bagels! Only in Midtown. [via @samsifton]

NYT Sends Cease & Desist to Times Restaurant

Don’t know how long ago this happened…. but poor Times RestaurantIf it’s not the DOH, it’s lawyers from the New York Times. Apparently their name change (font and all) didn’t go unnoticed by the big brass in the building across the street.  The buffet formerly known as Kashmir (on 8th Ave. btw. 39+40th) received a letter asking them to change their sign, and they obliged (naturally).  The whole thing is kind of hilarious if you ask us… obviously the New York Times has their customized font trademarked, and clearly “The Times Restaurant” was infringing on that trademark.  But is anybody really confusing this run down Pakistani buffet with a restaurant that might possibly be affiliated with the paper of record?  Doubtful.  Most of us just look at the sign and laugh.  The lawyers for the New York Times? Clearly not amused. Time’s Halal Food cart, you’ve been warned.

It’s not all bad news though… it looks like the buffet has been reduced to $9.95 again. Thanks to Lunch’er Adam for the photo.

Buffet Formerly Known as Kashmir Goes Insane
Kashmir Becomes “The Buffet of Record”?

Bittman & Sifton Disagree Over Lunch


We rather enjoyed seeing NYT food critic Sam Sifton defending Midtown Lunch’ing options to his co-worker and well known food writer Mark Bittman via Twitter yesterday.  Sure, Pick a Pita (on 8th Ave. btw. 39+40th) hasn’t been as good since it moved out of their semi-hidden 38th street location, but there are far worse places to work (lunch-wise) than 41st and 8th!  (And we are super curious about this “Chicken Man” you speak of…)

Sifton Not Down With Chicken House

Sifton Not Down With Chicken House

The bloggiest restaurant critic of all time (and a personal hero of mine) Sam Sifton hit up the Chicken House (on 36th btw. 7+8th) today and clearly wasn’t impressed.

Awwwww… I agree about the banh mi, but nasty is a bit harsh, don’t you think!? I’d call the fried chicken flavorless, but that’s nothing a bit of salt and hot sauce can’t fix! (Thankfully he didn’t try the pho, or else things would have gotten real ugly, real quick.)

Chicken House’s Vietnamese Food is Just Ok… But At Least Their Bread is From Paris Bakery!

The Un-Gentrified Deliciousness of the Garment District

\Photo Courtesy of Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York

Thanks to Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York for pointing out this one… On Friday the New York Times op-ed page published this great love letter to their surrounding neighborhood, the mostly un-gentrified Garment District. It wasn’t entirely about food, but the author did point it out as a big bonus of the New York Times’ short move from Times Square to 41st and 8th Ave:

I’ve found a Balkan cellar whose cevapcici (grilled lozenges of minced meat) take me back to Sarajevo days; a deli whose tongue sandwiches remind me of the tongue my mother prepared; a Chinese hole-in-the-wall with heartwarming oxtail on rice; and a Szechuan joint whose duck tongues on a bed of scallion, dressed in a scallion pesto, are a little miracle of many-layered succulence — the reddish-brown Szechuan pepper imparting a numbing-tingling heat, the duck tongues crunchy (about the consistency of frogs’ legs) and gelatinous and looking, in the pesto-green sauce, a little like asparagus tips. If you wish, you may follow that with a fish-head (carp) stew in spiced chili broth that’s hot enough to ease your eyes from their sockets.

Two blocks away they’re eating burgers and Bubba Gump shrimp and never dreaming of this other land just around the corner. You don’t have to travel far to change countries; and you can travel across the world and still find yourself in the globalized mall of bright lights, bland foods and brands.

I think I figured out most of the restaurants he’s talking about. Can you?

Read more »

French Steak Splurge Gets One NYT Star

lerelaissteakIt’s not often that the restaurant review in the New York Times intersects with Midtown Lunch. It happened last July when Frank Bruni bestowed two stars on our humble Szechuan Gourmet. And today newcomer Sam Sifton has done it again, giving a single star to Le Relais de Venise L’entrecote (on Lex and 52nd.) A meal at this spot, which has no menus and only one main course (steak frites), costs $24- so technically it’s not a Midtown Lunch at all. But I’ve been kind of obsessed with the place since reading about it on Serious Eats at the beginning of the summer. Now that Sifton, who has quickly become my favorite food reviewer of all time with his rock star review of DBGB and references to General Tso’s chicken, has given it a star I don’t see how I can avoid the lunchtime splurge. (I’m guessing I’m not the only one.)

Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecote is My Kind of Splurge
Szechuan Gourmet: Day 1 as a NYT 2 Starred Restaurant

Photo courtesy of Nick Solares

“Recessions are a Good Time to Be in the Gyro Business”

Gyro II, Midtown NYC
Gyro II (on 7th Ave. btw. 33+34th)

You all know that Midtown Lunch has a love affair with the gyro, whether being served chopped up as the “lamb” portion of a halal platter, or patiently cooked and sliced correctly to be served in a real gyro (like they do at the Famous Chicken Place or at Uncle Nick’s on 9th Ave.)  But ever wonder about the origin of this mystery meat on a spit?  If you answered yes, than you have to read the gyro article in this morning’s food section of the New York Times. It traces the first mass produced gyro to a Jewish (?!?) owned business in Chicago, and even has a video of the gyro making process, which “starts with boxes of raw beef and lamb trimmings, and ends with what looks like oversized Popsicles the shade of a Band-Aid.”  I even recognized Gyro II (on 7th Ave. btw. 33+34th) as the footage they used at the very beginning of the video! (Although if you are a little squeamish when it comes to raw meat, I would skip the video.  It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.)  Check it out>>

Is Gyro II The Best Gyro Midtown Has to Offer?
Uncle Nick’s and Poseidon Bakery Make 9th Ave the Ultimate Greek Lunch Spot

Own A Print of the Elwood Smith Vendor Wars Cartoon from the New York Times


I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favorite parts of that “Turf War at the Hot Dog Cart” article in the New York Times a few weeks back (the one about the infighting between street vendors) was the super cool Elwood Smith cartoon of all the fighting carts. I feel like it sums up so much of what’s going on in the Midtown Lunch world of street carts… but in a fun way that I thought would look awesome on my wall. In fact, I emailed the artist to see if he was selling prints, and he is! For just $50 you can actually own your own copy of the piece (it’s 12.25 x 9″).

Elwood is a really well known humorous illustrator, whose work you might recognize from Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, and Wall Street Journal. You can read more about the cartoon on his blog at Dawger.  And for information on how to purchase a print email (I think I’m going to put mine in my kid‘s room.  Is that wrong?)

NYT Cartoon Begs the Question: Is There a “Clam Roll” Cart in NYC?
New York Times Turns Giant Eye Towards the Street Vendor Issue