Fresh off my disappointment of no Hallo Berlin Cart on Wednesday, I was forced to find lunch in an area I haven’t eaten in before.  Walking back to work, I went down 52nd Street between 5th and 6th where I found a bunch of lunch options. But because of my “condition”, one stood out as the clear choice.  Yips.

I am addicted to cheap chinese food… and Yips is the kind of place I have trouble walking by.  The food is right there, in all it’s steam plate glory… calling to you… “Please point to me”.  With all the choices right there, waiting to be picked in any number of combinations, it’s hard for me not to eat at these kinds of cheap chinese food places… so right off the bat, I can say- if you are not into this kind of eating, Yips is not going to be the place to change your mind.

Most places like this suffer from the same problems.  Is the food authentic?  Usually not.  Is it as fresh as it could be?  Usually not?  Is it restaurant quality?  Usually not… and Yips is no different.  But it’s got a lot of choices, and many of them you don’t normally see at places like this.  Garlic (Salt & Pepper) Shrimp, Honey Roast Pork, Curry Fish Balls, Spicy Thai Chicken, Some sort of fried cutlet, and numerous soups joined the usual suspects.  And they had a Tue&Thurs. specials board, so it appears as if they change some of their items around every few days.

When you walk in, there are three or four different places you can get in line to pick your food.  On first glimpse, they look mostly the same, but some of them have different things.  Usually I like to ignore the menu, and just order with my eyes… but here that’s a little tough because there are a few different places to order.  My suggestion would be to look up at the bulletin boards hanging behind each station, and choose which line to get in based on that.  There are a ton of choices, and the board (while it doesn’t seem complete) will help you to at least narrow it down.

What I ordered, and the +/- after the jump…

You get two items and a choice of white rice, fried rice or lo mein for around $6 (depending on what items you choose it could be cheaper or more expensive).  I went with the General Tso’s & Garlic Shrimp over Lo Mein.  I know some might look down on the General Tso’s choice, but it’s part of my addiction… and is usually the first thing I try at places like this.  This version was not one of the better ones I have had.  The quality of the chicken was not the best, and the coating was a little soggy.  But the taste was good, and it had a nice bit of heat to it from the red chili peppers.  The salt and pepper garlic shrimp made up for it a little, and provided a nice contrast to the sweet and sticky chicken.  The lo mein was ok, but a little on the mushy side.

Now, don’t mistaken this for a bad review… I ate every single bite of my lunch.  I just want to be honest for people who don’t have the same addiction I do.  If you are looking for great chinese food, this is not your place.  But, if you love cheap chinese food places, then the selection at Yips makes it worth going to at least a few times.  I would definetely get the Garlic shrimp again, and I’m interested in trying some of the other things they had.  Suggestions are welcome.  If you work closer to 48th St., I definetely think the steam plate food at Hing Won is better, but if you are on the north part of midtown, or are looking to try a different cheap chinese food place, you could do a lot worse then Yips.

THE + (what people who like this place would say)

  • Good selection
  • Cheap and quick
  • It’s cheap Chinese food!  I love cheap Chinese food!  I think I’m addicted to cheap Chinese food

THE – (what people who don’t like this place would say)

  • The quality of the food (meat in particular) is not that great
  • Not as fresh as it could be
  • Not authentic chinese
  • There are better places for this kind of food in Midtown

Yips, 52 W. 52nd St. btw. 5th & 6th, (212) 397-8280


27 Responses to Yips

  1. Simon says:

    Good article

  2. Terry says:

    Try Manchu Wok, on the north side of the lower Rock Center concourse. Smaller selection, but better cooking than Yips.

    At Yips I like to get sauteed green beans, bbq chicken, and white rice.

  3. Al_Rocka says:

    Yips is a great midtown lunch option. They have day-of-the-week specific specials. I go for the eggplant + chicken, only available on Tues/Thursday. Quick turnover and reasonable pricing (for midtown).

  4. Inane says:

    Add Cafe Cello to your list, on 46th near 6th, get the roast pork, Id be interested to see your opinion.

  5. Zhan says:

    For really good cantonese wonton noodle soup (with a generous serving size), try Dong Hai Grille on 39th between 7th and Broadway. You get this with a choice of 2 meats from roast pork, pork rib, roast duck, or soy sauce chicken. Ignore the rib – tastes about the same as the roast pork but has bone. Get roast pork with soy sauce chicken (ask for a THIGH portion – 50c extra but worth it for more meat) or roast duck (less meat than chicken, fattier). The other dishes I have tried in the place are generally mediocre to okay e.g. the dumplings arent good. The cantonese wonton noodle soup is the star. With 2 meats, it cost about $9-$10 if I remember correctly. For a starter, you could try the shrimp spring roll which is pretty good. I like to have this with dark rice vinegar (reflecting my Chinese regional tastes)

  6. cityrag says:

    Cool site!

    I work in midtown too. Couple faves…

    Margon for great homey Cuban food

    Lazzara’s for great pizza

    and chicken parm hero’s

    both deliver

  7. bill says:

    Big Yip’s fan here. I go for the low prices, quick service and the one, two punch combo of crispy garlic chicken and bbq chicken with fried rice.

    Much better than Manchu Wok…Red neck yockles in Muscatine Iowa make better chinese than they do at Manchu Wok.

    YIPS FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Brom says:

    Puhleaaaase Terry, Yips could ROLLOVER Manchu Wok like a monster truck over a Honda. The food is devastatingly addictive and good. The BBQ Chicken is definitely the thing to get, but take advantage of splitting up your meal by getting a half portion of something less sticky like the garlic shrimp or chicken.

    One of my co-workers was fired for spending too many afternoons there…he was going twice, sometimes three times, an afternoon. Granted he was lazy, but he primarily couldn’t get enough of this stuff.

  9. Jamie says:

    Great blog–good luck on your quest. IMHO, only one truly great midtown Chinese: Grand Sichuan.


    Best bet is to get lots of appetizer plates, or anything off the fresh chicken menu. Ignore the obligatory generic Chinese restaurant food.

  10. cynthia says:

    If you want good chinese food, hit to Chinatown instead. They have real authentic food in chinatown which they do not substitute MSG in it. Seafood is a great way to go as well.

  11. Joe says:

    Good point, Cynthia, but I don’t think anyone that uses this site eats in Midtown by choice and would most definitely head down to Chinatown if their lunch hour wasn’t limited to just an hour.

  12. richie says:

    thank you cynthia for stating the obvious

  13. simond says:

    Yeah Yips is right next door to our office. The only time we go is when we have less than 5 mins to get lunch before our 2-3 hour meetings (they can crank out your meal in less than 45 seconds if you have exact change). I get the fake beef usually.

  14. […] I just wanted to say a quick thank you for all the emails I’ve gotten, many of them with some great suggestions.  A lot of those suggestions urge me to branch out farther and farther from the places I have already reviewed.  9th avenue, the high 30s, Koreatown.  Someone even suggested I go to Chinatown if I wanted “real authentic Chinese food“.  Apparently she didn’t fully grasp the meaning of my blog’s very complex title.  It is very confusing… […]

  15. Mike says:

    Yips is just plain VILE with a capital, well, VILE. I have eaten it a couple of times but even out of desperation to stave off hunger, it’s like getting a root canal to take care of a little food stuck between your teeth. I mean, their food is just painfully bad from any perspective. Even the stuff that should be able to survive a steam table is bad. The best analogy I can think of is that their food is the Chinese version of bad junior high school cafeteria food. And while it’s one thing to eat it when you have no alternative, it’s quite another altogether to voluntarily subject yourself to it, and to add insult to injury, actually pay for the dubious privilege.

  16. Mike says:

    I don’t know if comments can be merged but I wanted to make clear that I’m not comparing the place to “good” Chinese restaurants. Any but one of even the most mediocre places within a 4 block radius is better than Yip’s, and I’m pretty sure the place that was worse was finally run out of the rising rents.

  17. Left Hand Luke says:

    Oh Mike, you fool of a man. You have yet to taste the BBQ chicken I suspect? Your rantings, ravings and abuse of CAPS LOCK have saddened me.

    I swoon for the BBQ chicken and yet, here you have the spite and malice to damn the place with half-baked analogies? Return to your Manchu Woks and do not cast such stone of anger upon Yipps.

  18. Left Hand Luke says:

    And if the place that “was worse” and was “run out” that you speak of is Chef Ho’s (49th and Seventh), then clearly we are not on the same page regarding cheap Chinese food.

    R.I.P. Chef Ho’s, big ups

  19. Johnie says:

    The different lines at Yips are the same menu. Just get in the shortest line.

    My favorite combination is Shrimp w/ Broccoli (or Lobster Sause depending on day of week it’s served), extra sause, and Pork Chops… Mmm Mmm..

  20. anon says:

    Cynthia–tell me more about this “china-town” you speak of. There are restaurants there?

  21. […] Place you discovered on MidtownLunch.com: I actually rediscovered Yips– the Chinese place.  I used to go there when I was an intern like 8 years ago, and it had been completely erased from memory until I saw it here on MidtownLunch.  Ridiculously cheap, and I’ve never gotten sick from eating there.   And again– a great name! How can you not laugh asking someone if they want to go to “Yips” for lunch? […]

  22. Ben says:

    I go to Yips about twice a week, and I always get the same thing: BBQ Chicken, Fried Rice, and a side of hot & sour soup for $1.50. Costs me $7.05 in total, tastes great, I enjoy it, and I rarely want dinner that night because it’s filling. Haute cuisine? No. Good stuff (to me at least), done cheap? Yes, and in Manhattan that’s a winner in my book.

  23. […] I don’t even know what that means… but if they did have it I would probably order it.  Another one of my favorites was this one from “Cynthia” in response to my post about Yips, a Chinese place on 52nd: “If you want good chinese food, hit to Chinatown instead.  They have real authentic food in chinatown which they do not substitute MSG in it.  Seafood is a great way to go as well.” […]

  24. rachael says:

    i love those buffets!

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