Midtown Delivery: A Novel Chip Off the Butcher Block
Of the occupational hazards associated with making a living in Midtown, a prevalent but understated risk is lunch. The path of least resistance is sometimes the hot plate buffet at a deli, but nobody wants to admit that they partake. I can't remember the last time I saw an Instagram of tuna salad next to a spoonful of pasta in a clear plastic container. I shudder to consider the hashtags.
John Luong Brooklyn Brisket Melt at Butcher Block
If you're trying to stave off depressing thoughts of that nature, you can always step it up to a safe, generic, uncreative meal at one of the ubiquitous quick serve lunch chains: Guy & Gallard, Hale and Hearty, Pax. These are more socially acceptable, but nothing to write home about.
Fortunately, delivery conquers all, but it only works when suitable merchants make themselves available. Butcher Block (16 West 45th Street, 212-757-1691), delivers to the Midtown area, and it begins to differentiate itself by utilizing products from known local suppliers (Balthazar Bakery, Sullivan Street Bakery, Satur Farms, FreeBird Chicken). It also builds interesting sandwiches from those ingredients.
To assess its worth, I selected two of its popular sandwiches, the bacon, guac n' cheese and the Brooklyn brisket melt, plus sides of the horseradish pickles and the sweet Asian slaw.
John Luong Bacon, Guac N' Cheese at Butcher Block
Though some reviews on Seamless indicated some difficulties with delivery, this particular delivery arrived in under 40 minutes, within the 30 to 45 minute delivery window.
The bacon, guac n' cheese sandwich was pleasant and not exceedingly indulgent: The bacon was absent of excessive grease, the cheeses (cheddar and manchego) had been melted but not to a molten state, and the kale, tomato, and guacamole balanced the contents of the sandwich gently within the crisp ciabatta bread.
The Brooklyn brisket melt featured lean brisket that was supported by a combination of onions, peppers, and jalapeño, which provided a nice complementary burn on the same fresh, crusty ciabatta bread. I upped the heat with the horseradish pickles, which added mild spice.
One issue: I ordered the Asian sweet slaw, but the standard picnic slaw was delivered instead with no notice. However, two complimentary bags of popped truffle popcorn were included in the order to allay my disappointment. A good touch.
The Morning After: After a night in the office mini-fridge, the bacon, guac n' cheese congealed to the texture of a pastry filling. The Brooklyn brisket melt became somewhat spongy, yet maintained subtle peppery hints.
Repeatability: Butcher Block provides thoughtful, well balanced offerings that don't overwhelm the senses. And while the reviews that point towards delivery issues might deter you, the appeal of free popcorn may make it worth the risk.
16 West 45th Street (between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue)
New York, NY 10036
|Hours/Limitations:||$10 delivery minimum|
|Delivery Estimate:||30-45 minutes|
|Delivery Time:||38:33 minutes|
|Distance:||0.6 miles; 4 minutes|
|Ordered at 1:11PM, Cloudy|
|Time is measured from confirmation page to entry to office suite.|
Distance and time estimate is based on biking via Google Maps.