Carnegie John at work

I was very busy today, so I stayed close to my office for lunch.

You hear a lot about all the gourmet food trucks around town, but one of my favorite “old school” street vendors is Carnegie John. He has been serving delicious New York street food for the past 10 years right behind Carnegie Hall, on 56th St just east of 7th Ave. If you stop by around lunchtime, there are usually a dozen or so people getting lunch, and John always keeps everyone’s order straight.

IMHO, Carnegie John serves the best chicken over rice around, and it’s only $6, but I’ve never had his steak over rice platter. Today’s Lunch is the steak platter ($7) from Carnegie John.

Those of you who are familiar with Carnegie John know that one thing setting him apart from other street vendors is his white tzaziki sauce. The white sauce from most street vendors is mayo-based, but John’s is yogurt-based, making it much thicker and richer.

The other thing John does differently is to charcoal grill the meat before finishing it on the flat-top grill. This gives his meat an extra dimension that flat-top grills alone will not provide.

The steak John uses is an actual steak, not thin, chopped beef like you get from most carts. The steak had a nice charcoal-grilled taste, but there was a little too much fat that had to be removed before eating. The steak went great with the tzaziki sauce and hot sauce once it was cleaned up a little.

The yellow rice is good, especially once the sauces and juices from the meat start to permeate it. The last few bites of rice are the best.

John’s salad is real too, not just a little lettuce. There were large pieces of tomato, cucumber and lettuce with an Italian dressing on it that finished the meal well.

Today’s Lunch of a steak platter from Carnegie John’s was pretty good, but it was a little fattier than I would have liked. I still have to recommend the chicken platter as the go-to dish from Carnegie John’s, although he makes a pretty mean hamburger too.



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