Archive for 'Out of Bounds'

Leon Bakery Expands Their Menu Post Rennovation

Leon Bakery

Good news for Midtown West lunchers in search of reasonably authentic Mexican (well, more authentic than Blockheads at least). Late last year, we noticed that Leon Bakery, which served some pretty good tamales was in the midst of renovating. And a recent tweet by our buddy, Bionic Bites, confirms that the renovations has brought an expanded menu, including tacos, tortas, and sopes.

Following a similar formula as Tehuitzingo, Leon Bakery has a small grocery section up front dedicated to latin dry goods and a smaller selection of wet goods. Mexican pastries sit in covered cubby holes, and slices of cake wilt in a refrigerated display case. In the back, there’s full line-up hot food items available for take-out and delivery. And while the menu (link to photo) has questionably authentic items, swaying slightly towards Tex-Mex influences, there are still plenty of appealing dishes, all within the ML price range. Certainly something worth an exploratory visit.

Read more »

Seamless Roulette Leads Me To Awesome Turkish Food at Turco

Turco Exterior

It’s easy to ignore Turco Mediterranean Grill (9th Ave between 43rd and 44th St). From the outside it looks like your run-of-the-mill falafel and kebab joint, which are fairly well represented throughout Hells Kitchen. Lord knows I’ve walked by this place plenty of times without giving it a thought. But as it happened, these guys popped into my radar after a game of seamless web roulette during a late night at the office. Expecting a run of the mill plate of street meat piled onto a stale pita and limp iceberg lettuce, I was pleased to get a plate of ultra moist meat, slightly crisped on the edges, crunchy shredded vegetables, tender grilled peppers, and a fresh, pillowy sesame pita (I would later learn the pita is baked in-house). Despite their out-of-bounds location, I felt that a plate of food that good deserved a visit, and indeed it was worth it.

Read more »

Take Notice of Noodies Thai Kitchen

Noodies Thai Kitchen

As we’ve lamented in the past, there are simply far too many mediocre Thai restaurants up and down 8th and 9th Avenue. But with the arrival of Pure Thai Cookhouse, there’s been a welcome shift towards more interesting Thai restaurants, and Noodies Thai Kitchen is a continuation of that trend.

But first, a correction – as dynamh pointed out in our opening report of this restaurant, the name is indeed ‘Noodies’, and not noodles. As such, the cozy atmosphere is one of the restaurant’s virtues, and reflects tasteful riffs on their namesake. Artwork featuring a topless, buxom female figure adorn the handsome exposed brick wall. Another abstract piece decorates the restroom. The high ceilings are lit by Edison light bulbs, and the rear wall is covered with a colorful collage of bowls. But more importantly, the menu features an unexpected line-up of Thai noodle dishes that offer respite from the irksome pad thais and drunken noodles, while remaining at the ideal ML price point.

Read more »

Hallo Berlin Express Shutters To Make Way For The Claw

The Claw

The Hallo Berlin empire has lost one of its outlets, as Hallo Berlin Express on 9th Avenue between 50th & 51st closed some time ago. We clearly didn’t catch that closing, but sharp eyed luncher Hightemp wrote in with a tip that The Claw restaurant had opened in its place. I walked by, and confirmed that they are open for business.

It’s not a devastating loss considering that Hallo Berlin itself is only an avenue away (on 10th between 44th & 45th) and the Hallo Berlin cart returned to 5th Ave. and 54th street last year. But we’re being careful to not get too excited over this opening. First, the menu at The Claw is priced well beyond what we’d want to pay for lunch, it’s well out of our normal bounds, and their Chelsea location received a pretty tepid review over at the Village Voice. Personally, I’ve been 100% faithful to Luke’s Lobster, and Lauren Shockey’s take is that The Claw probably won’t change your mind on Luke’s. She then adds, “Nevertheless, even an OK lobster roll is better than no lobster roll at all.” Truth.

Leon Bakery Closed For Renovations

The out-of-bounds Leon Bakery (9th Ave. btw 47+48th), one of the greater Midtown area’s premiere purveyors of tamales (not to mention their selection of baked goods), is currently closed for renovations. From what I could see of the interior, the changes are extensive and the space will probably look much different. As long as there is still a barrel of tamales in the back, I’ll be happy. One of the workers told me they should reopen in the next few weeks. Can’t wait!

Shih Lee Satisfies My Beef Tendon Craving

Shih Lee

I’ve had Shih Lee on my radar for a while now but can never seem to make it over to their pretty far out of bounds location on 45th btw 1+2nd.   But finally the other day I had to run some errands around 2nd Ave and decided to use it as an excuse to finally hit up this fast food Chinese steam table place. We know that their noodle soups are pretty damn good but I was more curious about their lunch combos.

Read more »

OUT Latin Food Not Worth The Trek

Out Latin Food
When I heard that the old Bai Cha space was being re-purposed as a Latin food spot, called ‘OUT’ I was both excited and hopeful. To be frank, Bai Cha was plain out awful, and as much as the food scene in Hells Kitchen has improved over the past few years, the area still needs a serious culinary kick in the ass. A few weeks ago I paid a visit to Bai Cha’s replacement (I confirmed that OUT’s owner is different than Bai Cha’s as well), and found that unfortunately, it seems that any restaurant space occupying 710 9th Ave may be doomed to mediocrity.
Read more »

Bi Lokma: Sip Sak’s New Fast Casual Concept

Bi Lokma

Turkish food is a mystery to me. I know my Chinese food, I know my Japanese food, I know my Italian food but if you ask me what sort of food they serve in Turkish restaurants, I would draw a blank (or I would just check the internet). So to change that I decided to go eat at a Turkish restaurant.

The (apparently very opinionated) Chef and owner of Sip Sak, Orhan Yegen, recently opened a new spot called Bi Lokma (on 45th btw 2+3rd). It’s a tiny Turkish restaurant with a very ambitious menu for a where all the food seems to be made in advance. There are soups, salads, desserts, over a dozen appetizers and over a dozen main courses. And the best part about the menu is that almost everything on it is under $10 with the exception of 3 items.

Read more »

Tehuitzingo is Arguably the Best Mexican We’ll Get in Midtown


Ask the simple question, “Where’s the best Mexican food in New York City?” and you’ll likely be met with exasperated sighs, an eye roll, and the fierce proclamation that New York Mexican cuisine could never in a million years rival that of California’s (at least until California is swallowed by the Pacific). Part of me agrees. I’ve had the pleasure of eating at the clapped out taco trucks in random parking lots around Salinas and Fresno, CA – gleefully shoveling down $1.50 tacos meant for the local day laborers, now being elbowed out by DSLR toting hipsters.

But we shouldn’t be so self depreciating, for there’s perfectly acceptable Mexican to be had at Tehuitzingo Deli and Grocery (10th Avenue between 47th & 48th st) – well out of reach of Midtown, but accessible for the lucky lunchers that work on the western edge of Midtown, or those with very lax lunch breaks (they also deliver as far east as 6th ave).

Read more »

Eat & Go Istanbul Now Open in Dag Hammarskjold

Eat & Go

Part of my weekly produce pick-up at the slightly out-of-bounds Dag Hammarskjold Plaza involved checking up on the little house on the 1st Avenue side. A former home to burgers and shakes, it changed hands in the fall with signage going up that promised a new place called  “Eat & Go Istanbul”. The last we’d seen of Eat & Go was in Bryant Park during the ’09 holidays, and I was a little excited to have a new place to try out in Midtown East. Obviously there are bonus points for the park location (spring will be here, one day.)

Read more »