Wednesday, August 5, 2009


    We can all agree that the only thing that Midtown has going for it is Central Park. The food, the vibe, the stores, the buildings, they all suck. I have not met one person who does not agree. Its the type of area when you are visiting another city that you know you are wasting your precious sightseeing time while there, like Union Square in San Francisco. 
    Its the hardest place to find a healthy nourishing meal, except for Pret which I can never forget is owned by McDonald's so I think I am somehow getting poisoned. 
    I work in Midtown and needless to say pack my lunch everyday. Recently, I did a photo shoot for a new wine bar that opened up in Midtown (post to come) and this new Chinese sandwich shop called Mantao caught my eye because it was really the only non-corporate lunch break looking place on the block. I gave it a shot and I was pleased.
   I loved the super simple clean design because it made me feel like the food I would eat would also be simple and clean. What's a Chinese Sandwich though? I was curious to find out. 
    Julia the owner, along with two other business partners who plan on making Mantao a chain, was so delightful and she recommended the spicy pork. 
    One of those for me and a portabello sandwich for Erik. Plus a side of kimchee and some green tea butter cookies.
     Back at the shoot since I was all set up for food photography I took a few shots. Erik really liked his portabello sandwich, especially the sesame seed bun which was fresh and flavorful. My perfectly sized sandwich was decent, the meat was clean but not as spicy as I would have liked. The side of hot sauce really kicked it up with a good chili flavor and I enjoyed the crunchy pickled daikon. Overall it didn't sit heavy in me all day, which is a success in itself for any take-out. The kimchee was good, not too spicy. And the prices could not be beat. Well done. 
    Let's talk about the green tea butter cookies which were homemade by Julie's friend's Grandma. They were very delicate, not too heavy with a distinct green tea flavor that is often too subtle in baking in my experience. They were so pretty, too. 
    While I wasn't blown away by my sandwich, I would definitely go back to try other things on the menu because I like the vibe of the place and the owner was such a doll. Best of luck Mantao!

235 East 53rd (between 2nd and 3rd)
NY, NY 10022
(212) 888 - 2490


Rocco Galatioto said...

I'm still waiting for the "vastedda" piece. That is the Spleen and ricotta sandwich. A palermitan delicacy. Perhaps I can see what I can do from this end.

Marta said...

It looks Mantao is doing everything right to successful! Those green tea cookies looks devine, I love baking with green tea!
It's so nice to find a healthy lunch spot, I struggle with that always.

Rocco Galatioto said...

I'm dying to read about Midtown Sucks Part II.

Jen said...

Thanks for posting this! I literally work around the corner. I can't wait to try this place.