Like everyone who works where we work, I have a love/hate relationship with eating lunch in Midtown. It’s sort of like how you feel about your family. You can make fun of them all you want- but as soon as someone else says something about your Mom, you get all pissed off and defensive. “What are you talking about? Midtown has some amazing lunch places! You just have to know where to go.”
This is the reaction I had reading this week’s New York Magazine, which published it’s “101 Best Cheap Eats” in the city issue. I usually get pretty excited for issues that center around food- but this one got me a little defensive. Starting with #1, I scanned through the list- waiting for NY Mag to bestow praise on some of my favorite places in Midtown. The ones I’ve written about on this blog…
Brooklyn, East Village, Queens, Bouchon Bakery in Columbus Circle (close enough right?), West Village, more Brooklyn, more East Village, more Brooklyn, more Queens, the Bronx, Downtown, Harlem, Daisy May’s in Hell’s Kitchen (they have two carts in Midtown- that sort of counts, right?), more Brooklyn, ‘wichcraft (all of them. There’s one in Bryant Park so I guess we get 1/5 of a point), Union Square, and of course- more East Village (man they love the East Village!). The list went on and on, and I waited to hit that first true Midtown Lunch place.
Finally, in the One Star section (noteworthy), #83 OMS/B, a Japanese Omusubi place on 45th st. between Lexington and 3rd Ave. A true Midtown Lunch place… but here’s how the blurb started:
“Anyone who has ever worked there knows that there is nothing to eat in Midtown. Not a morsel. Mangia may seem like lunchtime nirvana the first few times around. A hundred or so salad bar visits later, you want something else.”
Sure, I wrote the same thing on my “Navigating a Wasteland” page. Sure I call Midtown a wasteland. But it’s my wasteland… and I would think we warrant a few more places in the 101! Come on New York Mag. You work in the hood… haven’t you been to Kati Roll? Sapporo or Men Kui Tei? Margon or Cafe Cello? We’ve got Indian Buffets! Have you not been to one of our fabulous Indian buffets?
Anyway… here’s the places New York Magazine deems worthy in our wasteland:
IN THE HEART
- #57 ‘wichcraft: Tom Collichio’s (Grammercy Tavern, Craft) Sandwich, Soup and Salad kiosks. Locations around Manhattan, but for us, there’s one in Bryant Park on 42nd St. & 6th Ave.
- #61 Yakitori Totto: Japanese chicken parts on a stick. Unfortunately, they’re not open for lunch. 55th st. between 7th & 8th
- #83 Oms/b: A Japanese omusubi joint on 45th st. btw. 3rd & Lexington
- #92 Burger Joint: Cheap delicious burgers, literally a hole in the wall of the lobby of Le Parker Meridien, a super fancy Midtown hotel
- #94 Taam Tov: Uzbeki/Kosher food on 47th between 5th & 6th
GOOD BUT NOT THE ONE IN MIDTOWN
- #54 Daisy May’s BBQ: Great BBQ restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. NY Mag fails to mention they have two carts in Midtown. One on 48th btw. 6th & 7th, and one on 47th btw. Park & Lexington. You can’t get ribs, but their Pulled Pork sandwich and Chili are delicious
- #88 Tuck Shop: Aussie Meat Pie shop in the East Village. They just opened a Midtown outpost strangely located inside the Cyber Cafe on 49th btw. 8th Ave. and Broadway
ON THE CUSP (Can’t we say they’re in Midtown? Please!)
- #6 Bouchon Bakery: Thomas Keller’s new bakery/boulangerie on the 3rd floor of the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle
- #86 Tony Dragona’s Cart: Chicken with rice and “white sauce” cart on 62nd & Madison Ave.
Reviews with pics of all these places are coming soon… if I don’t decide to try and get a job in the East Village.