Archive for April 2011

West End’s $10 LaFrieda Burger is Worth the Riff Raff

West End Bar and Grill FrontSpeaking of Burger Week, the other week we noted that West End Bar & Grill (49th & 8th Ave) was open for business, with a former Jean Georges line cooking helming the kitchen. I dropped to try their burger, which uses a Pat LaFrieda blend, and comes with your obligatory lettuce/tomato/onion and a side of fries for $10. During my stay, I found out that West End is backed by the same guys that own Social and Latitude, just a few blocks south on 8th Ave.

I’ll include a cheap shot here – the crowds at those places tend to attract the unsophisticated New York newbie, primarily the tourists, the recent college grads, and the lecherous old men and women who lust after them. The crowd at West End is no different – a rowdy environment of Theater District appropriate riff-raff, fueled by $6 pints, stock tips, and Yankees gossip in Midwestern and Long Island accents. Food is hastily shoved down, as customers watch sports on slick over-sized flat screens. The food here doesn’t deserve such disrespect.

Read more »

Another Look at Melt Shop’s Grilled Cheese (& Tots!)

There’s been lots of talk about the brand new outdoor stand Melt Shop here on ML and Blondie gave their unique fried chicken sandwich a glowing review last week. So I was eager to find out what all the fuss was about and since I’m always a sucker for a good grilled cheese, I decided to make the trip east. I arrived around 1:00pm and found it amusing that the line was maybe thirty people deep yet nobody was sitting in the neatly provided tables and chairs in the courtyard – even with the nicest weather we’ve had so far this year. People clearly think of this as strictly a take away spot for the time being.

The line moved very slowly at first, but they must have gotten into a groove because the last stretch went quickly. While waiting in line, I observed the Chef out and about hob nobbing with the customers, which seemed to be comprised mostly of his friends or former co-workers. I overheard him giving food recommendations to the girls behind me and since he didn’t mention the tempting Beef ‘n’ Blue (roast beef and blue cheese), which I planned to order, I opted instead for the more conservative Three Cheese Melt. I figured I should see how they do with the basics.

Read more »

Win a Pair of VIP Tix to Grand Gourmet “The Flavor of Midtown”

It’s that time again, when the Grand Central Partnership brings together more than 30 of Midtown’s best restaurants and cafés for the annual Grand Gourmet: The Flavor of Midtown to celebrate and raise money for the Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services Corporation, the largest not-for-profit homeless services provider in New York City. For the price of admission, you get samples from many different venues ranging from high-end fare like The Capital Grille and Asia de Cuba to ML standbys such as Dee Daa and Grand Central Oyster Bar.

The feasting will commence at Vanderbilt Hall inside Grand Central on May 12 from 7-9pm. Regular admission tickets will run you $100, but Midtown Lunch is giving away a pair of VIP tickets (which includes early admission). To enter, simply leave a comment as to which dish or restaurant you are most excited to taste. Winners will be selected randomly on Thursday, May 5 at 3PM. You can see a list of participating restaurants here and find out how to purchase tickets for the event (because only one of you will win.) Good luck!

Contributor Stalking (The “FiDi Cart Roti” Edition)

Do you wonder what the ML contributors do when they’re not eating lunch in Midtown? (They’re actually pretty easy to stalk!)

Brownie had a jelly doughnut from Patisserie Colson in Brooklyn, while Blondie was having another of Robicelli’s chicken and waffle cupcakes at NYU’s ecofair. Donny had the Santana Pete from Shopsin’s (and didn’t regret it), Clay posted some great butcher shop photos from his trip to Hong Kong while back, Chris H had a mediocre bowl of noodles at the Men Kui Tei in the East Village, and Brian H. thought the radish salad from Radish in Williamsburg was just ok.

Around the rest of the ML universe… Andrea had an amazing roti from the Trinidad & Tobago cart Downtown, Jamie hands over the reigns of the Philly site to Lunch’er Stephanie, who had a good meal at Penang, and I had one of the best banh mi of all time at a new restaurant in Downtown L.A.

Lexington Avenue Soon to Be Sprinkled With Cupcakes

Thanks (?) to lunch’er hightemp, we were tipped off to the opening of yet another cupcakery. Sprinkles, a California based chain with nine locations around the country, is adding a tenth store on Lexington between 60th and 61st. The original Beverly Hills location has been hailed as the “first cupcake bakery” by Food Network and is owned by Candace Nelson, who is a judge on the aforementioned network’s Cupcake Wars. According to their website, they will be open for business on May 13 and will tout such flavors as Chocolate Marshmallow, Cinnamon Sugar, and the requisite Red Velvet, in addition to vegan and gluten-free options.

I walked by yesterday and caught some guys putting up colored dots on the facade that seem to represent all their different flavors. I take this as a literal sign that like it or not, the cupcake trend is here to stay.

Free Truck Burger Alert: Just when you thought we were all done with the burgers today... Tenka has got a few free burgers available on their deal site right now.  One from the Feed Your Hole truck and one from La Cense.

Hing Won’s Off the Menu Special is For Those Who Think 2 Meats Isn’t Enough

Hing WonFor any long time Midtown Lunch reader, you probably know that Hing Won (48th btw. 5+6th) is one of  our favorite cheap Chinese places (maybe even THE favorite?) You may also know that the roast pig over rice is probably the best pork dish in Midtown. And if you’re like me and can never decide between pig or pork you can always get their “Any Two Roast Meats Over Rice” for about 20cents more. But what do you do when you’re craving for more than two types of meat?

Read more »

5 Boro Burger Coming to 36th Street

IMG_0105 - Version 2

I don’t know what it is about burgers this week but out of nowhere I noticed this sign up announcing a new burger shop coming to 36th Street, just off of 6th Avenue. It’s in an old salon space next to a pizza shop. There’s no real hint as to what type of burger shop this will be, but we’ll keep our eyes and ears peeled.

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

_MG_3764 - Version 2

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.

Read more »

ML Forums: Sprinkles, Terakawa Ramen

  • Sprinkles is coming to Lexington btw. 60+61st [Eating]
  • Have you heard about the new french fry truck? [Eating]
  • Are you a fast eater? [Miscellaneous]
  • Rickshaw moving in on Big D’s Grub Truck now? [Eating]
  • Is the Marrakesh Truck parking on 52nd Street? [Eating]
  • Teriyaki Boy is being replaced by Terakawa Ramen [Eating]