Archive for December 2008

Midtown Lunch 2008 in One Gigantic Photo

As is customary here on Midtown Lunch, we always end the year with a gigantic photo of every lunch consumed in Midtown that year.  Whether or not I should be proud or ashamed is something I’ll leave to you… but I’m pretty sure my wife and mother are concerned for my health, and this spectacle will only validate their fears.

So here it is… a photo of every Midtown Lunch in 2008

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Midtown Best Food Neighborhood of 2008?

Eater is doing their annual “Year In Eater” series and for the “Best Dining Neighborhood” question both Josh “Mr Cutlets” Ozersky (from Citysearch) and Brooks of Sheffield (from the blog Lost City) chose Midtown as neighborhood of the year. It kind of makes me embarassed to have chosen the Upper West Side…

Murray’s Salami Adds Porktastic Sandwich Created by Midtown Luncher

And we have a winner!  A few weeks ago Murray’s Salami introduced a new line of pre packaged, individual sized servings of sandwich meats inspired by our quest to create a great sandwich during lunchtime using ingredients from the Grand Central Terminal Market. They also agreed to a contest where one of you would get to design the ultimate Midtown Lunch sandwich pack, which would then get added to the menu (with the prize being a giant charcuterie platter worth $150.)  Well, you guys responded with a ton of great options (with the blog Blondie and Brownie going so far as holding a taste test to come up with their entries.) Unfortunately, there can be only one winner.

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PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Casa”

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. This week, it’s the final profiled luncher of 2008… meet Casa a “training developer” who seems to like every kind of food but durian.

Name: Casa

Age: 28

Occupation: Training Developer /occasional wanna-be chef broadcaster

Where in Midtown do you Work?: 49th & 7th Ave.

Favorite Kind of Food: Vietnamese food (pho, spring roll, etc), Indian, Thai, Korean, Mexican/Tex-Mex, southern food (BBQ ribs, chicken fried steak, fried okra, mash ‘tators and gravy). These are the types of food that I enjoy and are in my rotation frequently (except for southern food; I haven’t found a decent place in NYC that does southern food well). I’m also a fan of desserts and have these horrid “cake” cravings around 2 PM that drive me out of my office regardless of how the weather is to search for a slice of moist and crumbly cake with a creamy layer of frosting that is not too sweet/too buttery. Then I settle for a Crumbs cupcake after I realize I’m in Midtown.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Durian, mustard (it’s not a food per se, but I despise it), fermented fish, shrimp paste. My mom scarred me for life when she cooked food with fermented fish or shrimp paste when I was growing up. The smell lingered for two weeks in the house! As for mustard, I don’t know why, but it reminds me too much of durian. I think it’s the color.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: Café Duke (on 51st btw. 6+7th) for their soon tofu or ramen ( I know it’s way overpriced, but I love ramen. If I can bring in my own ramen to cook, I would in a heartbeat), papri or samosa chaat at Indus Express (on 48th btw. 5+6th), Thai coconut soup and mushroom bisque from Au Bon Pain, and waffle fries from my company’s cafeteria. There are many places that I also want to try, but during my first visit to NYC, I ate a chicken kebab from a vendor in Times Square and got violently ill that night. I was a tourist then, and now I’ve been enlightened: don’t eat from shady street vendors in Times Square. So I’ll leave the street meat for the others and just salivate and admire their stomachs of steel from afar.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? Café Duke – I head straight to the back for soon tofu, spicy beef ramen, and sometimes their bibimbap. Teriyaki boy (on 7th Ave. btw. 48+49th). This is a hit/miss place for me though. There were times where I got more chicken fat than chicken (yuck!), and I’d stay away from the beef there. I got their beef bowl, and it was actually beef fat with some meat on it. So far, the udon soup has been satisfying when I’m too lazy to walk to Café Duke.
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Salad Bar Mystery Solved?: "It HAS TO BE the W Cafe. It used to be some other name (like superfoods or something) but it is HANDS DOWN the salad bar she described. It's right near the Empire State, and has a sprawling salad bar with everything you'd ever want. Has to be. I have a great instinct on this. -Phoebe" Or maybe it's Europa Cafe (as another commenter suggested.) My previous stance still applies.

Airing of Grievances: End of the Year Blowout Edition

I try my best not to be too negative on this site, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to vent. Every once in awhile I’ll share some of the more angry useful emails I get in a post called “Airing of Grievances”. (If the Eater Complaints Dept. would like royalties, I’ll be happy to pay up…)  You would think during the holidays, the complaining would be reduced… and yet here we are.  Here are the final complaints of 2008 in one big blowout post:

West Tandoori Club is Now Touch of India

Touch of India sucks, it shouldn’t even be included in the best buffet under $11 poll. I went yesterday for their lunch buffet because one of my friends loves goat. Well the goat was super salty, not to mention the chicken tandoori, their only other meat dish. The non-meat dishes included some mixture of potatotes, peppers, onions, etc. Actually, I’m not even sure what I ate but it tasted mediocre. Touch of India’s only saving grace would be their fruit salad. It is a sweet (no pun intended) mixture of fruit pieces and what seems to be yogurt. -Dennis”

Can’t really argue with that… when I ate at Touch of India I was less than impressed. Now on to the cupcakes…

“I was on my way back to work from lunch at decided to pick up a cupcake at Crumbs on 42nd St. (btw. 5+6th). While browsing the cupcakes in the fridge I noticed a fly flying around inside the fridge. I told the lady at the counter and her response was a simple ” I know”. I asked her if she was planning on doing something about it like gee I don’t know maybe opening the fridge door to let the fly out. She said there was nothing she can do about it. I asked her for cooperates number which got the other 2 employees in the store involved. All three of them thought I was nuts for making an issue of this.”

That’s not the end of it… more on Crumbs, plus bad Vegetarian food, and “Doc Chuck” after the jump.

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At Lunch Now: Yushi is Still Trying

I have to commend them for their continued innovations, because
everytime I step into Yushi (on 47th btw Park+Lex) they’ve added
something that catches my eye. Last time it was the Peking duck roll-
this time it was a Thai chicken hand roll, with peanut sauce marinated
chicken wrapped with mango, lettuce, and a Thai chili sauce (which was
tasty, but could have been a tad bit spicier for my taste). At $3 it’s
not outrageously expensive, and washed down with some fresh squeezed
watermelon juice it’s almost like being in Thailand. Actually it’s
nothing like being in Thailand, but as a little after lunch snack, it
wasn’t terrible.

Kashmir Buffet Replaced by A Bar With Pool Table


This is kind of old news I think, but I completely missed it when reporting on Kashmir Express’ re-opening last month. The original downstairs Buffet portion of Kashmir did not reopen last month along with Kashmir Express (the upstairs by-the-lb-buffet take out portion).  Instead, they are converting what used to be a restaurant with an all you can eat Indian buffet, into a bar called “Cave Lounge”.  Kind of strange considering the “Express” part has never really seemed to take off (while the buffet had a few fans). 

The interior of the cave, plus the one piece of good news is after the jump…

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Ask Midtown Lunch: I’m Looking for a Salad Bar

Bet you don’t have this where you’re from! It’s amazing, right?

With New Year’s Eve almost here, we’re just days away from reclaiming the area around Rock Center during lunchtime. (Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s been prettty nightmarish since…oh… Thanksgiving.) With that in mind, I thought I’d share this great email with you:

“Good Evening from the UK… Having been to New York for Thanksgiving I am looking for your help in locating a salad bar on 5th Avenue. This Deli/Salad bar was between American Girl and the Empire State Building (I think that is 609 – 5th Ave and 330?)………… was on the side of the road that the Rockerfeller centre is situated, and sold the most amazing salads …… Basically you lined up with a medium or large salad container (which you selected at the entrance to the deli) with lettuce enclosed, when it was your turn to be served you very very quickly selected tomatoes, cucumber, olives, chicken etc etc, this was tossed by the shop guys in a large bowl with your lettuce, additional salad selections and your choice of salad dressing and repackaged…….. There was space to sit and eat and on the opposite side to the salad bar you could buy sandwiches and soup. I really need to know the name of this eatery and it is driving me mad – can you possibly help. Thank you. – Helen

Lady, that describes half of the lunch places in Midtown… and it just so happen it’s the half that we do our best to ignore on this site. I’m proud to say, I have no idea what place you’re talking about. Good luck! And here’s hoping they open up a branch of Chop’t in the UK. Clearly it will be a big hit…

Got any questions of your own? Email them to

Fruitcake Eating Record: If you're unlucky enough to be at work today, and are looking for a little entertainment, hot dog eating master Takeru Kobayashi will attempt to break the current fruitcake eating record (4 lbs. 14.25 oz. in 10 mins) at the plaza of Madison Square Garden (on 34th St. & 7th Ave.) It all goes down at 11 a.m. [City Room via SE:NY]