By Claire Stern
Updated Apr 03, 2015 @ 10:00 am
Credit: Jennifer Davis for

When you walk into the entryway of City Kitchen, The Row NYC Hotel's newly opened food market on 44th Street and 8th Avenue in midtown Manhattan, a quote from Cesar Chavez is scrawled across the wall: "If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him... the people who give you their food give you their heart." The storied farm worker's words have never rung more true than in the impressive 4,000-square-foot space, which functions as a foodie heaven for midtown office dwellers who've been sitting at their desks dreaming of better lunchtime options.

All seven of City Kitchen's vendors hail from N.Y.C. food epicenters like the Upper West Side and Williamsburg, and offer limited menus with items never-before-seen in Times Square, including grilled steak tacos from Gabriela's Taqueria, lobster rolls from Luke's Lobster, burgers from Whitmans, dulce de leche doughnuts from Dough, chicken shawarma from ilili Box, spicy tuna rolls from Azuki, and ramen from Kuro Obi—cult-favorite noodle shop Ippudo's brand-new outpost created exclusively for the venue. Plus, this spring there are two additional seasonal options: Wooly's shaved snow cones (with toppings like Pocky sticks and mochi) and hand-rolled pretzels from Sigmund's in the East Village.

Each dish can be enjoyed cafeteria-style, à la Chelsea Market or Smorgasburg, above sweeping views of the Theater District, or alternatively, in your office: Starting this month, City Kitchen will provide delivery service to the adjacent hotel and surrounding areas. In the name of research, we decided to pay a visit to the buzzed-about eatery, and subsequently consume an inordinate amount of food for your average fashion girl's lunch. And although we regrettably weren't able to get to everything on the various menus, we still managed to pick out some favorites for your ogling pleasure. Trust us—we'll be going back for seconds.

Gabriela's Taqueria

While $6 for a taco may seem a bit steep, the generous portion of tender grilled steak made it worth every cent. And as if it didn't already have enough flavor, the creamy green sauce and chipotle aioli took it to the next level. Slightly less filling—but equally tasty—was the chicken empanada.

Azuki and Sigmund's

Credit: Jennifer Davis for

The lunch deal at Azuki, which consists of two sushi rolls and a miso soup or soda, is tough to beat. Top it off with a $4 pretzel from Sigmund's (in an exotic flavor like truffle cheddar, feta olive, or the above cinnamon raisin) and you'll be full until well past dinnertime.


Credit: Jennifer Davis for

This dulce de leche doughnut tasted like a hybrid of caramel ice cream and a brioche bun. Suffice it to say, it was delicious.