Famous Chefs in New York City seem to be expanding their empires at every chance. One of the most popular trends seems to be opening up cheaper places where people can enjoy over-priced versions of items that are usually considered less then chic. Most famously Danny Meyer (Union Square Cafe, The Modern) opened the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, where people can now stand in line for over an hour for a burger and fries. Thomas Keller (Per Se) opened the Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center, Mario Batali (Babbo, Lupa) opened his gelOtto Cart in Washington Sq. Park and Tom Collichio (Grammercy Tavern & Craft) has opened 6 ‘wichcraft locations in New York, where people can get fancy pants sandwiches, soups and salads designed by the famous chef.
For many, paying $9 for a sandwich is outrageous… especially one that isn’t over a foot long and can be shared with friends. But in Midtown our options are limited, and having two ‘wichcraft locations in the area could be the just the thing many people are looking for. One is on 46th St. and 5th avenue, and the other is spread over four kiosks in Bryant Park on 42nd St. btw. 5th & 6th Avenues.
On a nice day, when you have an hour, there’s nothing better then having lunch in Bryant Park… and a sandwich, soup or salad from ‘wichcraft could be one of the more convenient options if it didn’t take so long. I have read complaints from people who say that during lunch time the wait can be almost 20 minutes… it’s not Shake Shack bad, but if you only have an hour, waiting for your food means less time to enjoy eating in the park. Well last week I discovered a solution! On-line ordering.
Last week I discovered the ‘wichcraft online ordering option on their website (http://www.wichcraftnyc.com/) and it worked like a charm. It was super easy to use, and the food was ready and waiting when we got to the park.
Screenshot of the on-line ordering system:
Wait time is not the only complaint people might have… so check out what we had, and the +/- after the jump…
We ordered two sandwiches to share (one hot, one cold), and picked them up at the Soup Kiosk. This is important to note… no matter what you order- on-line orders are all picked up in the Soup & Salad kiosk, which is the southern-most kiosk on the west side of the park.
The hot choice was the Grilled Fontina w/ black trumpet mushrooms and white truffle fondue on pullman white bread ($9.00). I don’t necessarily mind paying $9 for a sandwich, but this one was noticeably small… and although I understand black trumpet mushrooms are more expensive then your average mushrooms, unless you’re a huge fan of the black trumpet- you might disappointed in the value for your money. The taste was fine… but not being a connoisseur of that type of mushroom, the flavor was lost on me.
We fared much better with the cold sandwich. We chose the Goat Cheese w/ avacado, celery, watercress and walnut pesto on multi-grain bread ($9.00). The size of this sandwich was a little better, due in no small part to the thick and delicious bread. If you are a fan of wheat bread with nuts, you have to try a sandwich on it at ‘wichcraft. Really really delicious.
1 for 2 on the day, but I have read that other people really liked the Grilled Fontina… although the type of mushrooms that go into it might change with the seasons. All in all if you are looking for a more interesting sandwich, with gourmet ingredients, and you don’t mind spending the money- ‘wichcraft is definitely worth a visit- especially if you order on-line!
Now if we can only get Danny Meyer to implement the same online ordering system for the Shake Shack…
THE + (What people who like this place would say)
- You want an upscale sandwich with gourmet ingredients
- You worship the ground Tom Collichio walks on
- Want to enjoy a nice lunch in Bryant Park
- Delicious bread
- The soups are not as expensive are supposed to be delicious as well
- Good treats for breakfast if you walk by in the morning (Cinnamon Rolls apparently being the stand-out)
THE – (What people who don’t like this place would say)
- Too expensive for any sandwich
- Sandwiches are too small
- Sandwiches are OK but not good enough for the money. Plus, other $9 sandwiches in the city are better (i.e. Bouchon Bakery)
- Too long a wait (although the online ordering should take care of that complaint!)
‘wichcraft, multiple locations in NYC… 2 in Midtown:
- Bryant Park, 42nd St. btw. 5th & 6th Avenues
- 555 5th Ave., on 46th St. (No On-line Ordering available for this location yet)