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I've had nothing but bad experiences with crappy little satellite concessions bearing famous upscale brand names selling egregiously overpriced "on-the-go" offerings. Never works. It's always a sucker bet, a branding trap. Not once have I left happy.
Today I faced the perennial agony of finding a bite near Lincoln Plaza Cinema. Boulud Sud's snack bar stocked half-portions of airport-looking soups/salads/sandwiches for breath-taking prices (sucker bet/branding trap), and I couldn't get a server to look my way, though the place was empty in the dead of late afternoon. They were polishing the juice glasses. And you know what? I'd like to thank them for helping me dodge the bullet ("Bullet Sud"?).
I heard Telepan serves pan pizzas at the bar on weeknights for mere double digits. A bargain! But they don't open till 5.
So I hit wichcraft's forlornly barebones-looking concession tucked into the corner of the office park at 61 w 62nd (the one that used to have wall climbing). First, I tried a cookie (oatmeal cream), and it was seriously one of the top ten cookies I've ever eaten. Two bucks! So I hesitantly ordered tomato soup. Five bucks. Quite good. Then (I was hungry) a roast chicken sandwich. Ten bucks and totally primo, with gorgeous chicken, righteous broccoli rabe, and ultra-fresh bread. Everything actually showed flair and care, not just coasting on ingredients and clever algorithms. The whole thing came to $17, and I felt as if I'd eaten a really good meal. Not good-for-what-it-is, but emphatically good, period. I never expected it. I'm still a little shocked. This just doesn't happen.
"Well, sure," I hear you say, "wichcraft is good." But, again, this was a satellite. The cookies should have been a little old, and transported from central bakery while still warm (screwing up texture), and everything else should have been mindlessly assembled by uncaring automatons. No, the dude who put stuff together seemed like a serious guy, and took serious care. That makes all the diff...not just having drones assemble food, ala Wendy's. You can't escape the need for a real cook, and they've really got one. In fact, I need to try other wichcraft satellites for comparison, but I'm thinking this might be all about him. We might have a go-to unsung chowhound magnet sensation on our hands here.
I'd bet dinner at Telepan you can't find a better $17 meal anywhere near here. I'm totally hooked.
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