Midtown Survival Guide: Kwik Meal Cart
If you are not familiar with working in Midtown Manhattan, your two esteemed bloggers can provide you with some helpful insight after many years of running on the hamster wheel that keeps the cogs moving within the machine known as Corporate America. Located in the area sprinkled around Times Square, Rockefeller Center and Grand Central, Midtown is home to many large national and international corporations as well as the many fancy law firms that provide legal services to those corporations.
With respect to dining, Midtown also happens to be home to some of the best restaurants in the country, if not the world. A small sampling of fine establishments in the area include Le Bernadin, Sushi Yasuda, Aquavit, Daniel and Jean Georges. These options are great — if you have an expense account. Unfortunately, for the average worker on the average day, the options are boring and expensive (not Le Bernadin expensive but $10 for a salad expensive). The usual, flavorless options come from fast food joints, or interchangeable delis offering mediocre and overpriced salads, soups, sandwiches, pizza, sushi or whatever else one can quickly scurry out to get and return with to enjoy at one’s desk.
As with other diners in the area craving actual, flavorful food, J. Frankfurter and I have spent countless years hunting down delicious yet affordable options amongst the many ripoffs. When the invaluable blog Midtown Lunch came along, we were pleased as punch to see many of our favorites featured and given favorable reviews. In this recurring series, we will teach you the basic survival skills you need satisfy your taste buds, keep your belly full and not break your bank account.
Food trucks have become all the rage in New York City and have spread to Los Angeles, Washington DC and other fine locales. Competition is fierce for parking at desirable locations and there are even awards given for tastiest dishes.
Kwik Meal was one of the first trucks to catch the public’s eye for its lamb and chicken over rice dishes. Much has already been written about Bangladeshi-born, former Russian Tea Room chef turned street meat champ, Muhammed Rahman. While a few other options are available, I prefer the house specialty, lamb over rice (the chicken is also good; some people prefer the meat in pita rather than over rice).
The meat is flavorful and tender, not overcooked. What sets Kwik Meal apart from the many other lesser street meat carts is that the lamb is marinated and cooked to order rather than just sitting at the corner of a grill all day.
The lamb over rice comes with a tastier version of the “white sauce” that is now a ubiquitous part of the New York street meat scene. A dressed side salad rounds out the meal. J. Frankfurter and I concur that it is likely the best best lamb you are going to get from a cart in Midtown.
Although prices have risen over the years, as of publication, one can still get a satisfying lamb over rice meal for a mere $7.50. Long lines can be found during peak Midtown lunching times, so try to get there before noon or wait until after 1:30 pm.