Midtown Survival Guide: Bread & Olive
One of the biggest problems with Midtown is finding something healthy eat that is not just a salad. My fallback when I’m looking for relatively healthy yet filling food is Middle Eastern cuisine, and one of my preferred spots is Bread & Olive located at 24 W. 45th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues). There is also a downtown location at 20 John Street for those of you stuck in offices closer to Wall Street.
The menu features pretty standard fare: grilled kebab and shawarma, falafel, hummus, etc. As with most food in Midtown, the flavor can’t compete with what you can get in other neighborhoods with large Middle Eastern populations. However, beggars can’t be choosers. This is as good as it gets when you have to manuever around rotund Midwestern tourists on a daily basis.
Be warned: the space where you stand in line to order is very small and the place gets very crowded during peak Midtown lunching hours. Try to go before noon or after 1:15 pm. Also, to cut down on wait time, you can call in your order ahead of time for pick up.
My preferred method is to order things that don’t take a lot of prep time from the small kitchen. Save your kebab and shawarma cravings for another time and focus on the pre-made salads. Some really good options include the stuffed grape leaves, mushroom salad, roasted cauliflower and white bean salad.
I usually get the small combination (two salad choices) with hummus and tabbouleh and supplement it with a few pieces of kebbeh (also pre-made and quickly reheated). Kebbeh is roasted lamb and onion that is stuffed inside a crust made from beef blended with bulgar wheat. Every order comes with a tomato-based hot sauce and tahini as well as pita.