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Unusual cuisine in Midtown?

abloomcinti Feb 7, 2011 01:23 AM

I am staying in Midtown for 4 nights and looking for some unusual cuisines to try. I am planning to go to Cafe Mingala one night, as I LOVE Burmese food. Do you have any suggestions for other places ... Asian cuisine preferred, but really I am game for anything. Thanks in advance!

Cafe Mingala
1393 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021

  1. s
    s.piller Feb 7, 2011 08:04 PM

    Try Chom Chom for interesting Korean food on 56th between 5th & 6th.

    Chom Chom
    40 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

    1. o
      orthorunner Feb 7, 2011 07:15 PM

      Agree with many of the excellent suggestions for ethnic cuisine (midtown west is the perfect spot to start), including Gazala Place, Toloache, Kyotofu, Tehuitzingo, and others.
      If you need any more options...
      Yakitoro Totto was mentioned; there is also Totto Ramen on 52nd which is a hole in the wall but has lines down the block for ramen.
      Azuri Cafe for Middle Eastern/Israeli
      Ethiopian: Queen of Sheba
      South African Xai Xai

      I would lean toward those already suggested or Azuri out of the options, but if you are interested in a particular cuisine, wanted to throw the others out there.
      There is also a new place that just opened called Ember Room that has some well known names behind it; it is at 45th and 9th. Pure Thai Shophouse is also relatively new but has gotten good feedback.

      695 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

      705 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

      251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

      Gazala Place
      709 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

      Azuri Cafe
      465 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

      Queen of Sheba
      650 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

      Xai Xai
      365 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

      Totto Ramen
      366 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

      Pure Thai Cookhouse
      766 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

      Ember Room
      647 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

      1. c
        citykid426 Feb 7, 2011 05:37 PM

        I agree with the previous posts about Ilili and Hagi. I've been to both. Hagi is hands down my favorite in that area for underground Japanese. You have to go early though (5-6pm), otherwise you'll have to wait at least 30 minutes to get in. Lots of Asian people go there, not as many tourists because it's hard to find (down a flight of stairs, very unassuming). Ilili definitely if you wanna try Lebanese. A Lebanese friend took me here and their food is delish.

        236 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10001

        1. m
          Mr Porkchop Feb 7, 2011 03:41 PM

          Gazala's Place (Druze) and Taam Tov (Bukharan) strike me as cuisines you don't find on every street corner. I'd probably stick to Taam Tov for lunch, however.

          I think Sake Bar Hagi, mentioned above, is another good choice. There are a few Ethiopian places in Hell Kitchen, which may or may not be that unique, depending on where you're coming from.

          I enjoy Pio Pio on 10th for Peruvian. You might (or might not) be surprised how Asian-influenced authentic Peruvian food can be.

          Pio Pio
          210 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

          380 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

          2 Replies
          1. re: Mr Porkchop
            coasts Feb 7, 2011 03:53 PM

            you know, i've been a long time supporter of Hagi, but the last few times i've been i found the food to be a turnoff. i'm still glad to go for a couple of boxes of sake and some bacon wrapped enoki, but i'll limit my dishes to just a select few. their noodle dishes, in particular, have me nauseous at the thought.

            1. re: coasts
              E Eto Feb 7, 2011 08:03 PM

              Gotta agree. Most Japanese don't go to Hagi to seek good food. They go to get good value on drinks. The food at Hagi is very unspectacular, sometimes bad. You can find similar grub at other izakayas in midtown, and better grub at places like Donburi-ya, Riki, Hatsuhana, Katsuhama, Udon West, Onya, and then go up another level of quality if you go to the Totto places, Sakagura, Tori Shin, Momokawa, just to name a few.

              211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

              17 E 48th St, New York, NY 10017

              137 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017

              Udon West
              150 E 46th St, New York, NY 10017

              157 E 28th St, New York, NY 10016

              143 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017

          2. restaurantbrat Feb 7, 2011 10:17 AM

            Bali Nusa Indah on 9th Ave between 45th and 46th is a great little Indonesian joint. Not many of those in Manhattan. Really fantastic otak-otak (BBQ fishcake in pandan leaves), Sop Buntut Blora (oxtail soup, hearty, delicious) and Kari Ayam (curry chicken). Their beef rendang, cooked in a medley of fragrant spices, is tremendous. And their mee (noodle) and nasi (rice) dishes are relatively authentic.


            Bali Nusa Indah
            651 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

            1. Delucacheesemonger Feb 7, 2011 09:49 AM

              Hangawi, in little korea, is a vegetarian korean that is beautiful, quiet and has great food and service

              1. u
                uniqueusername Feb 7, 2011 09:31 AM

                Agree with many of these great suggestions, especially Toloache and Totto but if you don't mind travelling a little, and fancy trying Tibetan, I'm a fan of Tsampa on East 9th Street

                212 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                1. Bob Martinez Feb 7, 2011 09:18 AM



                  1. k
                    kathryn Feb 7, 2011 08:17 AM

                    Szechuan Gourmet - Sichuan, try the tongue & tripe, the rabbit, conch, frogs, sea cucumber, duck tongues...
                    Madangsui - Korean BBQ, oyster scallion pancakes, I think they have a 2 person minimum for BBQ though
                    Yakitori Totto - get there early to try skewers of chicken liver, chicken gizzard, chicken heart, chicken knee, chicken neck, chicken tail, chicken oyster ("rare part of chicken thigh")
                    Toloache - huitlacoche or grasshopper tacos, any one?
                    Pam's Real Thai
                    Tulcingo de Valle
                    Chez Napoleon (old school French restaurant) - kidney, calf's brains, rabbit, quail, frogs legs, sweetbreads

                    For non-Western European/American

                    Foreign Street Grub

                    totally obscure, odd, and intriguing menu items

                    See also http://midtownlunch.com/lunch-by-food... for lots of reviews of places in Midtown.

                    695 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                    Yakitori Totto
                    251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

                    251 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10019

                    35 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

                    Szechuan Gourmet
                    21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

                    Chez Napoleon
                    365 W 50th St, New York, NY 10019

                    19 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

                    144 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

                    1. bigmackdaddy Feb 7, 2011 07:56 AM

                      Hagi, on 152 West 49th Street. It's a Japanese sake bar and appetizer place. No sushi, but delicious pork belly yakitori and sauteed garlic sprouts.

                      1. b
                        Blumie Feb 7, 2011 07:29 AM

                        It's hard to know what qualifies as unusual, but Ilili, a wonderful Lebanese place on Fifth Ave and 27th St, might qualify. I ate there for the first time last week and loved it!

                        236 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10001

                        1. g
                          gutsofsteel Feb 7, 2011 03:14 AM

                          Do you have to stay in midtown?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: gutsofsteel
                            abloomcinti Feb 7, 2011 03:33 AM

                            No, but I am more interested in places closer to where I am staying.

                            1. re: abloomcinti
                              Riverman500 Feb 7, 2011 06:27 AM

                              Ma Peche is great.

                              Ma Peche
                              15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                              1. re: Riverman500
                                ellenost Feb 7, 2011 06:32 AM

                                Agree with Riverman500 about Ma Peche; it's one of my favorite restaurants.

                                Ma Peche
                                15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

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