From Wednesday, January 29 through Saturday, February 1, Broadway from 34th to 47th streets will be renamed Super Bowl Boulevard and a number of attractions will be installed. You can kick a field goal, have your picture taken with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, toboggan down an artificial hill (tix for the 180-foot run, $5), get an NFL player to autograph almost anything, or watch a free concert at a 39th Street stage every evening from 8 p.m. till 10 p.m., probably shivering uncontrollably as you do.
Even if the celebration of a football game not anywhere in New York, but in Jersey swampland under the sclerotic eye of Chris Christie sounds like a big yawn, you can still enjoy some great eats in the vicinity of Super Bowl Boulevard. Heck, these places are so good, you may want to treat this as a Times Square dining guide for your out-of-town pals. Real New Yorkers, of course, won't go near Times Square unless they have to for work.
Cho Dang Gol (55 W 35th St, 212-695-8222) — What could be better on a frigid day than a jiggly bowl of freshly made tofu, steaming hot but also fiery hot from its chile-laced broth? Other Korean standards such as bibimbaps, jeons, and jigaes also available at this long-running palace of soondubu (fresh tofu).
Schnitzel Express (1410 Broadway, 212-997-7770) — This glatt kosher eatery, with an austere and brightly lit dining room on one side, specializes in breaded chicken cutlets with Cajun, Greek, Japanese, and Middle Eastern flavoring schemes, but also offers such startling oddities as a "double dog delight" (two franks laid end-to-end in an elongated poppy seed bun), schnitzel sushi (No, it's not raw!), and a memorable pastrami burger.
Kobeyaki (110 West 40th St, 212-391-1600) — A strange Japanese fast-food chain, Kobeyaki nevertheless delivers some very tasty food, including over-rice beef, chicken, and shrimp bowls; maki rolls; noodle soups; and twisted kobe burgers with "tempura sweet potato fries." The food is unfailingly fresh, and the shrimp bowl most recommended due to its component of lightly sautéed vegetables and slightly sweet sauce with plenty of deveined crustaceans.
Margon (136 W 46th St, 212-354-5013) — The persistence of this Cuban lunch counter in the heart of Times Square long after the actual Cubans have departed is something of a mystery, let's just say the gastro-gods have smiled on us. Sit at the counter or one of the well-used tables and enjoy the city's best Cuban sandwich, or, on a menu that rotates on a weekly basis, the roast pork pernil or Dominican chicharron de pollo. Always available: pulpo, a lively octopus salad.
Minar (160 E 46th St, 212-949-0245) — This location is the sole remaining exemplar of this once-mighty Punjabi chain, which instituted the admirable innovation of wok-cooking many of its offerings fresh, while leaving the ones that improve with age pooled on a steam table. The food is cheap and ginger-pungent.
St. Andrews (140 W 46th St, 212-840-8413) — This agreeable Scottish gastropub, the only one in town (I consider Highlands a bistro), offers lush burgers in a golf-themed setting, very dry martinis, and Hibernian culinary commonplaces such as cock-a-leekie soup and a fussy restructuring of haggis, the national dish. Alas, no sheep's bladder, but pretty good anyway!
Café Edison (228 W 47th St, 212-840-5000) — Just off the lobby of the revamped but still slightly seedy Hotel Edison, Café Edison (once known familiarly as the "Polish Tearoom") is a better-than-average diner with an arcing Formica counter, chandeliers that look a little out of place, and a menu offering many Eastern European Jewish specialties, from plump cheese blintzes to brisket-based hot sandwiches to lox platters.
Sapporo (152 W 49th St, 212-869-8972) — This joint has been regaling homesick Japanese businessmen, students, and tourists with ramen since 1975, long before the slender wheat noodles washed over the city like seaweed in a hurricane. Gyoza, katsudon, curry, and other home-style treats also top-notch.
Tad's Steaks (761 7th Ave, 212-767-8348 ) — Maybe you think I'm crazy recommending this place, but the country was paved with lowbrow steakhouses like this a half-century ago, places where a tough-but-flavorful cut was flame-grilled to order, then plated with plenty of starch (Mmmm—the drippings-laden Texas toast!), and a side salad at bargain prices. The smell and sizzle of the meat is enough to drag you back.
And here are Robert's recommendations in map form:
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