Archive for March 2009

Panda Restaurant to Open on 46th Street

panda restaurant

So it’s not a Panda Express, but I suppose we’re getting closer.  Chuan Garden (on 46th btw. 5+6th) is finally reopening as “Panda Restaurant”.  Thanks to Profiled Midtown Lunch’er Josh from NYCFoodie, who sent along the photo above.  No word on whether or not it is the same owners, same food, or when it’s going to be reopening… but we know it’s still Chinese food- and as far as I’m concerned, the more Chinese food in Midtown the better.

Mantra is Not Turning into a Pinche Taqueria, Yet

It was reported on Thursday that Pinche Taqueria was taking over the old Mantra space on 2nd Ave. & 52nd Street, but a walk-by on Friday afternoon yielded this email from a Midtown Lunch’er:

“I just went by the Old Mantra and saw ZERO sign of anything new happening. There is no way this place is opening up, unless they’re operating without any signs of their own. Am I missing something?”

That doesn’t sound promising.  But what about our tacos?!?  There must be an explanation…

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Midtown Links (The “Did You Know Loving Chinese Food is Genetic?” Edition)

My thursday Yips lunch, from a different angle.

  • Wow… amazingly somebody likes Danku’s Indonesian sloppy joe! [Cravings]
  • Brother Jimmy’s BBQ is going to be one of the food vendors at the new Yankee Stadium [NYMag]
  • Some of the best Kosher options in Midtown include Taam Tov, Rosa’s Pizza, & Eden Wok [Chowhound]
  • HB Burger is as disappointing as you would expect [Ultraclay]
  • You can get 8 steamed dumplings for $3.50 at Woorijip [Three Buck Bites]
  • Lunch is clearly no problem (as you can see above)… but damn, what I wouldn’t give to have a nice dinner out [Serious Eats: New York]

Midtown Happy Hour: Free Wings (And Hot Irish Guys) at the Pig N Whistle

If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so I thought maybe it was time to introduce a happy hour column to the site. Every week, our Happy Hour Correspondent “Mamacita” will post about a different bar in Midtown that fits the Midtown Lunch mentality: unhealthy food, not lame (unless it’s lame in a cool way), and most importantly… cheap.

Midtown Happy Hour: Pig N Whistle

My eternal search for the elusive free canapé happy hour led me this week to the Pig n’ Whistle on 47th Street. Opened in 1969, the Pig n’ Whistle was originally a restaurant in the Old Townhouse of President Taft on West 48th street and now it has many outposts in Manhattan. There isn’t a discounted happy hour, but beer was a sort of reasonable $6.50 for import drafts and $6 for mixed drinks. But from 6pm to 8pm they provide the free hors d’oeuvres!

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Free Sample Alert: Sign of the Economic Apocalypse


Things have gotten so bad that even Magnolia Bakery (on 49th & 6th) has to resort to offering free samples to drum up business! Don’t ask me why I was in there… I didn’t buy anything, but I took a free sample of carrot cake. I’m not going to lie- their cupcakes may be mediocre but that carrot cake freebie was goooood.

Get a Berliner at Hallo Berlin and the AQ Kafe: Dave Cook from Eating in Translation was in Midtown on Wednesday, first at Hallo Berlin (for the VendrTV meetup) and then AQ Kafe (for a doughnut sandwich called a "berliner".) And Dave wasn't the only one at AQ Kafe this week for some pastry. Kathy YL Chan wrote about their budapest log on Serious Eats: New York.

Papa Perrone’s Meatball Sliders are “Overwhelmingly Meh”


Not my words… but from Midtown Lunch commenter/early adopter “Boyd”.  But, per the rules of the Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge, I had to go and try them… and post about them.  And “meh” pretty much sums it up. One for $3, 3 for $8 they weren’t bad… just… well… meh.  Especially for an entry into the sandwich challenge.  They are definitely fun (I don’t know what it is about mini sandwiches that makes them so endearing), and the meatballs and bread taste good, but while you’re eating it you can’t help but wonder “why didn’t I just order the meatball parm hero”?  You also kind of need a fork… and I would have liked the cheese to be melted.

The guy who runs the truck told me he was considering doing a eggplant parm/lasagna hero on garlic bread (!?!) but switched it up at the last minute.  Now that sounds like a MLSC entry!  Maybe if we bug him enough, he’ll try doing that one day…

The Best Fried Fish Sandwich in Midtown is at Kim’s

With only two Fridays left in lent, Blondie and Brownie went on a mission to uncover the best fried fish sandwich in Midtown. In what some would view as an upset, Wendy’s beat out McDonald’s and Burger King- but the overall winner was the fried fish sandwich at Kim’s Aunt Kitchen Cart (on 46th btw. 5+6th).  Ladies, I won’t begrudge you an excuse to go out an eat four fried fish sandwiches in one lunch… but was the outcome ever in doubt?

Lent PSA: My Favorite Fried Fish Sandwich in Midtown

Famous Dave’s BBQ Hoping to Open Next Week: From the ML Inbox: "Hey man, just called famous dave's, they said they will open on april 2nd. -Jake"  That's one week from today people.  Mark it on your calendars... or not?

BREAKING: Pinche Taqueria Coming to Midtown East

Huge news via Eater: “Pinche Taqueria is opening a third location in the old Mantra space at 986 Second Ave (at 52nd) tonight at 5 o’clock. Downstairs it will have the usual Pinche setup with the same Pinche menu of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and tortas… they’ll be open after 5 p.m. today through Saturday. Next week they’ll start opening during lunch and doing deliveries throughout Midtown East.” Sure, it’s one avenue outside the standard Midtown Lunch boundaries- but whatever! For Pinche Taqueria it’s totally worth it. This just in: Be afraid Pampano Taqueria (on 50th & 3rd).  Be very afraid.  Your overpriced, Midtown East, hipster Mexican food reign of terror has just come to an end!

Photo courtesy of Kathy YL Chan