Wasabi, a by-the-piece sushi shop, is the latest fast food import to hit Times Square.
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Japanese import Ootoya specializes in teishoku, set meals of meat or fish with sides like rice and steamed egg custards, but you need to start your meal somewhere, and the Homemade Tofu Salad with Special Bonito Flakes ($12) is a fine way to do so.
Paul Denamiel, chef and owner of Le Rivage, offers a dry aged steak special for two on Monday nights for a very attractive price: $99 for two 18 oz. New York strips.
Sure, you can have sushi or ramen at Ootoya, the large Japanese chain that recently sprouted its second US branch between Bryant Park and Times Square, but that would be missing the point. New York already has more than its share of single-minded specialists and Ootoya excels at less common teishoku, set meals with miso soup, rice, pickles, and egg custard, plus dish-specific sides, all presented in eye-pleasing ceramic and lacquerware.
This new branch of the Dutch-based Chinese fast food chain offers stir fried rice and noodles that are fresher than the steam table competition, but it's not exactly a destination.
Two years ago we shared our picks for where to eat near Times Square, the focal point of New York's tourist economy and home to many a chain mega-restaurant. But amid the mammoth TGI Friday's and Guy Fieri's 500-seat restaurant, you'll find plenty of quality places for a quick bite, a casual lunch, or a full sit-down meal. This guide covers the picks from our original guide, plus our new favorite spots we've encountered since July 2011.
Every restaurant exists in context, of neighborhood and price, of cuisine and competitors. Guy's American Kitchen and Bar—the massive big-box restaurant that Food Network star Guy Fieri opened last week in Times Square? No one expects it to be good, per se. The questions you're answering: would a tourist wandering in after a Broadway show have a better meal than he would elsewhere in the neighborhood? Would a Food Network fan visiting from out of town enjoy her Slammin' Jammin' Chicken Parm? Basically—is Guy's American Kitchen and Bar better than the Cheesecake Factory?
This fried chicken sandwich with pickles and mayo may remind you of one that's been in the news of late, but it's a pretty tasty lunch in its own right.
The concept of this premiere U.S. outpost of a Korean chain isn't unfamiliar: the emphasis on coffee drinks and customers parked with laptops feels Starbucks-y; the pick-your-own pastries in the front wouldn't be out of place in Au Bon Pain; and the refrigerated case of salads, sandwiches and wraps is reminiscent of Pret a Manger. The Korean influence is not particularly obvious.
Of all the restaurants we've reviewed this year, Elsewhere may not be the best, but it certainly answered the biggest question: "Where do I get brunch/pre-matinee lunch/pre-theater dinner/drinks near Times Square?"
Few things could ever persuade me to venture through the crowds of Times Square, but when a friend told me of a cocktail at the newly opened Qi Bangkok Eatery named "Krungthepmahanakhon Amornrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharat Ratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphiman Awatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit" (pictured), I couldn't help myself.
Lunch in Midtown is a challenge in so many ways—time is limited, good eats may be scarce, and service is by necessity rushed and harried. While lunch at Pongsri Thai Restaurant on West 48th Street is not exactly a relaxing experience, the restaurant's wonderful food and attentive service make it, against all odds, a delightful place to go have a family lunch.
At Elsewhere, the Passionfruit Pavlova ($6) is served only during lunch and weekend brunch. It features a duo of cheerful meringue boats filled with a tart, creamy passionfruit curd and rounds of a housemade coconut ice cream.
Times Square is probably one of the single most frequented sites in New York among tourists. Visitors from far and wide flock to be at "The Crossroads of the World," or just to purchase discounted theater tickets at the TKTS booth. While there are plenty of chain restaurants, convenient for eating on the run as you try to catch up to your tour group, there are also numerous independent restaurants better for a good sandwich, a quick meal, or a nicer dinner. Here are some of our suggestions.
Even with a history dating back to 1899, Japan's Yoshinoya serves fast food in the modern sense of the phrase: quickly, cheaply, with less than appetizing results. However, that doesn't put a damper on the Times Square hordes testing the limits of the orange-and-white chain's 82-person-capacity. On a chilly Saturday evening, tourists were jockeying for seats and resorting to sharing plastic booths with strangers as if they were eating dim sum in Chinatown.
Had the pork been the succulent, melt-in-your-mouth experience I had hoped for, I still think that I would be hard-pressed to recommend Aureole for lunch, when one can get do better for less money.
[Photographs: Chichi Wang] If you happen to find yourself in Midtown today, it's worth going over to Times Square to check out the 3rd annual International Chinese Culinary Competition, which is being held live in an outdoor arena on...
At Pop-Tarts World, you can eat any number of Pop-Tarts creations. And we're not just talking about toaster pastries—think peanut butter-Pop-Tart sandwiches and Pop-Tarts as sundae toppings, Pop-Tarts as a crumble crust and Pop-Tarts "sushi." We ate our way through the menu.
[Photo: Robyn Lee] In another installment of the continued and delicious saga entitled "Shake Shack Takes New York," this week saw the opening of the new Theater District outpost of our favorite burgers-and-custard joint. We headed over to check...
Hundreds of people eat at this restaurant every day, and savor every last fried or grilled bite. But nary a food critic or food writer or blogger among them. Until now. The serious eaters hit Dallas BBQ en masse last week, and I for one survived with my palate intact... and my stomach full for a full week afterwards.