Wasabi, a by-the-piece sushi shop, is the latest fast food import to hit Times Square.
From a distance, the tiled mosaic sign announcing 100 Montaditos in a vaguely Basque font and diners standing around the marble-topped bar could almost fool a passerby into thinking this isn't a typical West Village watering hole. The cheap eats Spanish chain couldn't have picked a better location for its recent New York City debut.
Unusual flavors like blue cheese, salmon and white pepper asparagus have grabbed a little media attention at this Park Slope ice cream shop. But most of the gelati, which are creamy with a light quality, and sorbets, about 16 in total, are less radical.
Sure, you can have sushi or ramen at Ootoya, the large Japanese chain that recently sprouted its second US branch between Bryant Park and Times Square, but that would be missing the point. New York already has more than its share of single-minded specialists and Ootoya excels at less common teishoku, set meals with miso soup, rice, pickles, and egg custard, plus dish-specific sides, all presented in eye-pleasing ceramic and lacquerware.
The shiny new midtown branch of Ipuddo may be garnering the most recent ramen attention, but it's not the only Japanese import worth talking about. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between the two. Both serve Hakata-style ramen characterized by pork-based tonkotsu broth and thin firm noodles. Also like Ipuddo, you'll get the shouted welcome upon entrance. Unlike Ipuddo, you probably won't have to wait in line for the privilege.
This new branch of the Dutch-based Chinese fast food chain offers stir fried rice and noodles that are fresher than the steam table competition, but it's not exactly a destination.
Two foreign purveyors of chilled treats—each with a very different M.O.—have recently opened in Manhattan.
Though not exactly treading in Big Mac territory, this modern sandwich import, portable and available to go, is the closest thing we currently have to Danish fast food.
Just as you'll never come to a consensus on the best NYC slice or Philly cheesesteak, there isn't a unanimous Baltimore crab cake winner either. Duda's Tavern, a slightly divey bar in less-than-divey Fells Point, serves a pretty exemplar rendition, though.
Hot pot has never been in short supply in New York City, but that didn't stop Little Sheep, a big-in-China, Mongolia-based chain from opening its first local branch in Flushing.
The concept of this premiere U.S. outpost of a Korean chain isn't unfamiliar: the emphasis on coffee drinks and customers parked with laptops feels Starbucks-y; the pick-your-own pastries in the front wouldn't be out of place in Au Bon Pain; and the refrigerated case of salads, sandwiches and wraps is reminiscent of Pret a Manger. The Korean influence is not particularly obvious.
Making a lunchtime decision amidst the food courts corralled on Alder Street is no easy task. One of Portland's largest pods, you can try anything from Ethiopian dora watt to Peruvian lomo salt ado. But your nose might lead you to the unmistakably porky scent wafting from The People's Pig, which specializes in sandwiches made from its namesake animal. And your eyes need skim no farther than the top of the menu: porchetta ($8).
Çiğköftem is the name of both the establishment and the base for all three menu items. The product is a mixture of bulgur, tomato paste, and an unnamed 18 spices that sits in plastic-wrapped pre-formed balls waiting to be used.
Country of Origin: Australia Locations Worldwide: 70 in Australia and one in the US NYC Locations: One, in midtown Midwest transplant Steak 'n Shake may have initially stole the thunder from down under meat pie chain, Pie Face, just...
The new year has already seen the arrival of a delicious foreign invasion. Vancouver's Japadog is proving that there's more to Canadian fast food than Tim Hortons.
Lower Manhattan just went from zero to two kaiten (conveyor belt sushi) spots in the same week. One kosher, one Mexican. Yes, Mexican.
Overflowing knife-and-fork sandwiches are Pine State Biscuit's calling card and the Reggie Deluxe ($8) is like brunch on a plate. The homespun kin of KFC's Double Down, but on a biscuit, this cooked-to-order treat contains fried chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese and gravy, topped with an over-easy egg (that's the deluxe part).
In a city already teeming with chilly treats—both homegrown and from abroad—you might wonder if we really need a new interloper. Maybe we do. Amorino, a Parisian import that opened in early June, is the latest gelato chain to make an appearance in NYC. It strikes a balance between the purist seriousness of Grom and Timi's unabashed kookiness (don't forget those sundaes with faces).
When South Korean 'BBQ Chicken' came to NYC in 2007, it took a familiar path and set up on the international fast food row of St. Marks Place, and Chelsea; the chain followed this typical trajectory and eventually shuttered both Manhattan locations. Now, there are two remaining branches walking distance from each other in Flushing, a logical location, and one that makes no sense geographically in Sheepshead Bay.
Situated in a small greenhouse-like structure in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, it's not immediately obvious that overgrown kiosk is anything more than a standard café. It's not until the word Istanbul and the charmingly awkward slogan "Superior Food by Dessertist" comes into view that the stand's foreign origin becomes apparent.
One of the many brightly lit Indian restaurants lining Lexington Avenue's "Curry Hill," vegetarian Saravanaa Bhahan (also listed as Saravanaas and Saravana by the company) isn't instantly recognizable as a chain. And being a franchise certainly doesn't repel crowds; on any given evening there will be a wait for seating.
Unlike many coffee chains, Israeli Aroma Espresso Bar is as much about the food as the java. In fact, most of the customers filling the red leather chairs at communal tables aren't drinking coffee at all, but nibbling on the tiny chocolate bar that comes free with each order.
Country of Origin: Japan Locations Worldwide: Over 120 in Australia , Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the US NYC Locations: One in Manhattan's Chinatown and one in Flushing's Most people don't...
Country of Origin: Italy Locations Worldwide: 29 in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, and the US NYC Locations: One, near Union Square Maybe because Piola has been covered in scaffolding for ages, but the Italian chain (which...
Just like CheoGaJip, South Korean Kyedong Chicken also just one New York City shop in Flushing. Unlike CheoGaJip, there are no unusual pizzas on premises. Instead, this fried chicken specialist gives second billing to another animal altogether: the pig. Pig's feet, pork belly and blood sausage round out many of the combo meals.
Editor's note: In "Fast Food International," Krista Garcia will take us around New York to the many international fast food chains that have landed in the five boroughs. She blogs at goodiesfirst.com. Country of Origin: The Philippines Locations Worldwide: Around...