Archive for 'Ask Midtown Lunch'

Ask ML: Can You Get a Sabich in Midtown?

After seeing Robyn Lee’s amazing looking write up of the “sabich” from Taim on Serious Eats New York, I am now on a quest to find one of these sandwiches in Midtown.  Described as a pita “stuffed with thick rounds of fried egglant that melt like butter, along with a sliced hard boiled egg, hummus, Israeli salad (diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and parsley in a lemon mint dressing), marinated cabbage, tahini, and amba (pickled mango sauce).”  Oh my lord. I know Olympic Pita has a mango sauce, but there is nothing called a “sabich” on their menu.  Has anybody had one of these in Midtown before?  Must… have… now. [Photo courtesy of Robyn Lee]

Ask Midtown Lunch: What Burger Should I Eat Today?

Cheeseburger & Fries @ the Blarney Stone, Midtown NYC
The Blarney Stone’s Burger & Fries

This email was sent to the old ML Inbox before the bad news about Five Guys, but it’s still a good question (especially if you’re craving a burger today, and were thinking about hitting up Five Guys).

“I haven’t had a burger since the summer (eating healthier; not salads or crap like that, just chicken instead of beef). I got a ridiculous craving yesterday, but it was miserable outside. I’m trying to decide which great burger I am going to unleash myself on. I’ve narrowed it down to Blarney Stone, City Burger (the black label is so intriguing) and Five Guys. I know you list Five Guys as your Midtown pick, but I just want to be sure that it’s a better option considering I’m both a steak (Black Label burger) and onion ring fanatic. I’ve been to AHT, but they give too many options. Any advice? Sincerely, dougiec”

This is a tough one Doug. My favorite is Five Guys, but I admit it’s a specific kind of burger for a specific kind of burger craving. None of this is new territory… but let’s weigh your options after the jump. After all, you can never have too much burger talk.

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Ask ML: Where Can I Watch the Inauguration?

Seating Area @ Cafe Duke, Midtown NYC 
The televisions of Cafe Duke (on 51st btw. 6+7th)

I’m kind of curious what lunchtime in Midtown is going to look like today. Do you take a 2 hour lunch break and find a place to eat and watch the Inauguration?  Or do you watch it at work and then head out to lunch at 1:30pm?  Your boss kind of has to let you watch it, right? (If they don’t, I feel like I should ask the same question I asked yesterday.) There are all sorts of special parties and deals happening around the city, but none of them are in Midtown… so if you are looking to go the 2 hour lunch break option I have a few suggestions:

There are tons of bars in Midtown with televisions, but the only one I can think of that is a worthy Midtown Lunch option is The Australian on 38th btw. 5+6th.  If that muffuletta from the other day looked good to you, I guess you could go to the Bourbon Street Bar & Grill on restaurant row (they have a ton of TVs). If you want to go for the hardcore Midtown Lunch- Cafe Duke on 51st btw. 6+7th has two big TVs, although seating is tough even on a normal day. I’m pretty sure the CyberCafe (on 49th btw. 7+8th) has a big screen in the back, but it’s a Tuesday so no Madeleine the Crepe Lady (she only comes Weds through Sunday.)  Gothamist says Oren’s will be playing it on the radio at all of their locations, and select Starbucks locations will be showing it on MSNBC (but I’m not sure which ones.)  And finally there will be a large TV courtesy of NY1 on 47th Street btw. 7th & B’way in Times Square (just a short walk away from the Biryani Cart on 46th and 6th.)

There must be more Midtown Lunch’ish places with televisions, right? If you think of any, post them in the comments, and if you go out at lunch, send photos from your phone! ( What are you planning on doing?

Ask ML: Free Wi-Fi: "I have a meeting today and need a place where I can eat lunch, plus look at stuff on my laptop. Do you know of any lunch places with free wi-fi?" Good question... I know Yushi has it (on 47th btw. Park+Lex) and I think Cosi has free wi-fi, but I'm not positive. Also, Bryant Park has got it... but it's a little cold for that. I wonder if you can still pick up the free wi-fi in the Le Pain Quotidien across the street? Lunchers, got any suggestions?

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

Ask Midtown Lunch: Have A Holly Tamale X-Mas


Got this question today from “Lunch’er Miguel”:

“Since it is Christmas time, and I am Mexican, I am dying to buy a bunch of tamales from the tamale lady in front of the Mexican Embassy(on 39th btw. Mad+Park). But I just realized I haven’t been since early this year. She still around? Also, any idea if she sells by the dozen or is that asking too much?”

Coincidentally enough, I walked by the “Tamale Lady” in front of the Mexican Embassy this past Wednesday and have some pork tamal proof that she is still there (shown above). $1.50 and it was even better than I remembered from last time (with a huge chunk of slightly spicy pulled pork in the middle.) I’m not sure if she’ll sell in bulk, but I can’t imagine she wouldn’t if you set it up with her beforehand (I’m assuming you speak Spanish, which will be very helpful.) If that doesn’t work, I’d suggest hitting up any of the other places in Midtown that have tamales. Anybody done this before?  Or know a good bulk tamales option in Midtown (or farther afield?)

Got something you’d like to “Ask Midtown Lunchers”?  Email it to

Ask Midtown Lunch: Best Sinus Clearing Spicy Lunch?

Mixed Combo @ the famous Chicken & Rice Cart on 53rd & 6th Ave.

My sinuses are kicking my butt this week and for relief I’m looking for face-meltingly spicy food in midtown. Yesterday’s lunch included the paint-peeling, neon green hot sauce from Kwik Meal. Besides that, and a handful of those little peppers near the checkout at Minar, do you or the readers have options for blindingly hot midtown food? A loyal reader, EJ

Well EJ, Kwik Meal’s sauce may be hot- but I don’t think there is anything hotter than the red sauce from the famous chicken and lamb over rice guys on 53rd & 6th (now with a new cart on 53rd and 7th). If you ask for it on the side, they give it to you in a container that is smaller than a thimble. And with good reason. You don’t need any more of that.

But both of those may be more of a steady burn than a clear out nostrils kind of heat. For a true sinus clearing lunch there is only one place to go.    Read more »

Ask Midtown Lunch: Garlic Fries

When I lived in L.A. I used to love getting the Gordon Biersch garlic fries at Dodger games, so I’m kind of interested in the answer to this questions was well.  From Lunch’er Charlie: “Do you have any idea as to where one can get San Francisco style garlic fries, with freshly diced garlic and freshly grated Parmesan, in NYC?”  Yes please. Anybody?

Ask Midtown Lunch: Best Milkshake in Midtown?

Sent to the old Inbox this morning…

Where can I get a great milkshake in midtown? I’ve tried every Mr Softee and imitation truck around and find they’re all not thick enough and doused with vanilla syrup. Goodburger makes a decent shake, but I’m looking for something great, it is nearly summer after all. -Matt

Well Matt, you may be disappointed to hear this, but I’ve never had a milkshake in Midtown.  I think my reasoning is this… if I drank milkshakes at lunchtime, I would weigh 10,000 pounds.  It’s just science.  ”No Milkshake Rule” = Zach is still alive.  So for this one, I’ll have to turn it over to readers.  Got a rec for Matt?  Post it in the comments below…

And as always, if you have a question, recommendation or news, email it to me at

ASK MIDTOWN LUNCH: CORN DOGS: From the Inbox:  "My co-worker and I have been desperately trying to find a place that’s not a Gray’s Papaya to get a corn dog in the general Rockefeller area. Can you help us out?"  Yeah.  Can you help us out.  Comments please... (I love corn dogs too.)