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Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf NYC

Having enjoyed Coffee Bean in Calif., I was happy to welcome the first NY franchise. It is a clean, bright space in a pretty central location (B'way and 39th). I cannot present a complete review as I only sampled food items, having already had 5 cups of coffee. Also, while there were several pastry items on the menu, none were visible when I was there. Maybe they are not on display generally or perhaps they were out owing to the lateness of my visit.

The food options last night consisted of wraps and salads made by Pomegranet (Brooklyn). While the choices were adequate and attractively packaged, it was evident that the items had been made too far in advance. The lettuce in my salad nicoise was wilted. The other ingredients were fine. However, it was impossible to eat with the “spork” that was provided with the salad.

I think that my wrap, “Japanese eggplant,” would have been pretty tasty 10 hours earlier. However, by the time it reached me it had been rendered completely soggy at the bottom (the wraps are standing on their sides in their packaging).

In short, this is not a place to come for dinner. I think it would be a great destination to pick up some breakfast pastry and coffee/tea or to sit with a laptop while having a bite and a beverage. Just limit the pre-packaged foods to the early afternoon.

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  1. I agree, was there last night too. Got a tuna sandwich and wife a salad. The tuna, first of all was dark tuna, the cheapest variety, and was horrible. Wife's salad had ice in it, maybe to keep it cold, I don't know. $27 for a bad sandwich, old salad, but the mango drinks were pretty good. I don't think this place will last too long, at least in CA everything is fresh.

    1. It is a wholly different place in the morning. First of all the coffee is great and it is served with a smile. There is a nice selection of pastries and muffins. I had a tasty croissant. The sandwiches and wraps looked fresh and were plentiful. Plus, Wi-fi and space to work.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Kosher Critic

        I heard that the pastry is always fresh but that the plainer items are the better bet. The specialties are said to be super rich and cloyingly sweet.

        The store at B'way and 39th often seems overstaffed.

      2. Any soy options for those who keep chalav yisrael?

        1 Reply
        1. re: singingfoodie

          Their menu states that all beverages that are made with milk are available with soy milk.

        2. There's also one at 86th and Amsterdam. Kof-K

          1 Reply
          1. re: AdinaA

            I am now frequenting the new location at Park and 54th and am pleased to report that the food options have been significantly upgraded - fresher and more options. I assume this is the case at the other locations as well.

          2. I had a pretty good sandwich at the new 76th and bway location. Munster cheese and lettuce. Better than I had expected. Quite of few of their options were panini that looked like they would be better hot, as they had melted cheese on them. Not much was available in the way of pastry.

            1. I'm going to be on the UWS tomorrow and looking for the quickest, easiest way to grab food near the Museum of Natural History. I noticed there is a Coffee Bean location right there. Does anyone know if I would be able to pick up a decent, edible sandwich or salad at around 6:30 PM? If not, what else is available in the area in terms of quick, cheap takeout food?

              17 Replies
              1. re: DevorahL

                Bagels and Co at 79th and Amsterdam is probably a better bet for food. If you have any extra time Grill 212 is 80th just east of Broadway.

                1. re: avitrek

                  It's good, but I have a real nit to pick from Bagels & Co. I had a friend of mine buy 2 lb of tuna fish for me from them about 2 weeks ago. She is not familiar with Kosher food so she blindly paid for the entire bill (which included an extra 6 bagels on top of the tuna); I reimbursed her for the cost (I don't live nearby). She didn't think to second guess the charge, which I would've if I saw the cost.

                  The total cost? More than $50.

                  They charge an egregious $18 per lb for tuna there--which, if I'm not mistaken, is more than 200% what I paid the last time I ordered it (not that long ago!). I used to love them, but after this, I'm thinking of patronizing a reasonable establishment. Unless I'm missing something, I am of the opinion that $18/lb for tuna is absolutely ridiculous.

                  Unfortunately I wasn't able to figure out how to get in touch with upper management about this excessive cost, but I did call the establishment a few hours after I received my $36 tuna fish and the busy guy on the phone confirmed that yes, the price is $18/lb.

                  Is there a market shortage of tuna that I'm not aware about, or is this a reasonable cost?!

                  1. re: tamarw

                    That is absurd. Given that every ingredient in tuna salad is kosher over-the-counter, it should be nowhere near that expensive.

                    1. re: tamarw

                      I don't buy Tuna Salad, but was curious as to the going rate in 'kosher' places. I did a quick check of the on-line menu from Ben's Kosher (not so frum with branches all over NY) and they are charging $14 lb. Here in southern CT we have only one kosher butcher/deli that sells prepared salads and he gets $17 lb.

                      I think that you got the high end of the scale, but not that significantly more expensive than other places.

                      What bothers me is that many kosher delis/appetizing places just put the Sally Sherman prepared Tuna Salad in their showcases, charging mid teens per pound for the same product sold in the general supermarket deli cases for $8-9 lb. (same with the other O-U Sally Sherman items).

                      1. re: bagelman01

                        Glad to know I'm not the only one who thought this was ludicrous. My patronage of Bagels & Co is likely over; there are other places to get good bagels. DevorahL, during lunch, you would have a hard time finding a seat in that cramped establishment anyhow--I almost never do even though I've gone most recently with babies in tow which sort of requires reasonable seating!

                        I wasn't even too crazy about this tuna prep (no Sally Sherman there) -- maybe the psychology of overpaying got to me. There's no reason to sacrifice your clientele to be ridiculously competitive in the pricing space. Very disappointing. Bagelman, I still remember paying <$10 recently, so I just don't get it. In all honesty, I wish my friend knew better to ask about the final bill (which I expected to be around $25-35), but that's not something she would know the first thing about.

                        I may need to ask for good tuna salad in the NYC/Westchester vicinity in another thread now; this thread has sort of deviated from its original purpose :) (However, feel free to volunteer it here!)

                        1. re: bagelman01

                          I think tuna prices recently went up dramatically. At the places I grab lunch (non-kosher) tuna sandwiches all went up about $1 in the past 2-3 months.

                          1. re: bagelman01

                            Just to highlight a few more local and relevant comparisons:

                            Bagel Basket $14.8/lbs
                            Zabars $19/lbs

                            Unfortunately KMP doesn't list tuna on its online menu and Seasons only lists $5.49/container without indicating the size/weight of the container.

                            Buying prepared tuna salad is unreasonably expensive everywhere and rarely cost effective. These UWS stores price it for 2 uses. Rich/busy UWS residents who will buy it without thinking about the price, and people buying for catering orders where it needs to come from a certified store and you can't just make it at home. For all other cases you're better off opening a couple cans of tuna and mixing in some mayo yourself.

                            1. re: avitrek

                              Even in the 5 Towns area, tuna is a crazy price per pound...When I saw a package with a price tag at a seudah shelishit, I was shocked...Do you think that more than half the time it's from a big vat of Sally Sherman? In any case, typical deli tuna isn't albacore or similar.

                              1. re: whitewater

                                Yes, most of the time it will be Sally Sherman, although some places 'doctor' it when putting it in the showcase. Sally Sherman is available in 5LB and 30 LB pails for the industry. My local produce wholesaler stocks it along with their other salads and supplies many trief restaurants. If I am sponsoring a kiddush or Shalosh Suedos I often will pick up tubs if egg salad, tuna salad, cole slaw, mac salad, potato salad at the wholesaler. I'll not ay the kosher caterer to supply the same thing (bought from the same place) at 4 times the cost.

                                Back in the late 70s when I had my deli, if we ran out of any of the Sally Sherman salads on a Sunday, I could always borrow an unopened pail from Friendly's in the same shopping center and replace it when my order came in on Tuesday. We used to sell the Sally Sherman items as our base salads, and our homemade at another $1.50 per pound.

                                1. re: bagelman01

                                  One lb of tuna salad by sally sherman at shop rite (online) costs $5.99! http://www.shoprite.com/pd/Sally-Sher...

                                  1. re: koshergourmetmart

                                    not fair to compare:
                                    #1 NJ supermarket
                                    #2 this is a prepackaged container for retail sale

                                    That said, it shows how ridiculous the price of tuna salad weighed out at the deli is

                              2. re: avitrek

                                Yep, wish I could make a good tuna though. There's a good Chow thread on tuna but I still haven't made anything like I'd expect from the restaurants...

                                1. re: tamarw

                                  Tamar, this is a scaled down version of the tuna salad we made and sold in our kosher deli back in the late 70s. It has a similar look and consistency to the Sally Sherman product. You can adjust seasonings to taste.

                                  Deli-Style Tuna Salad
                                  This was the recipe we used for tuna salad sold by the pound in our kosher deli back in the 70s. It has been adjusted for retail size cans and home use.

                                  2 Cans (5-6 ounce each) white meat tuna packed in water
                                  3 Tablespoons Hellman’s Mayonnaise
                                  1 Rib celery finely minced (optional)
                                  2 Tablespoons unflavored bread crumbs
                                  ¼ Teaspoon white pepper
                                  ½ Teaspoon lemon juice

                                  Open tuna cans and press down lids, hold with thumb, invert and drain.
                                  Place tuna in mixing bowl and add bread crumbs, celery, white pepper and lemon juice, mix well with table fork. If your tuna is a very solid white albacore, you may want to use a hochmesser (mezzaluna) in a wooden bowl to break it up before adding other ingredients.
                                  Add mayonnaise and mix well. Depending in your preferences you may want to add up to 1 additional rounded Tablespoon of Mayonnaise.
                                  Chill in refrigerator 20 minutes before serving.

                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                    Thanks so much. I'll definitely give it a try :)

                            2. re: tamarw

                              Well I don't know about the rest of you, but I am shocked, shocked!, to find that there might be price gouging of kosher food by Jews.

                            3. re: avitrek

                              I would second Grill 212. I really like the food and good service as well. Plenty of options of sandwiches,but I also really like the soup with Kubbaneh.