Over the summer I, along with several of my colleagues, were relocated from our tony Rockefeller Center digs in Midtown Manhattan down to Soho. All the girls squealed with delight because now they can visit shoe boutiques on their lunch hour, but I thought it was a downgrade. Midtown is where the action is, baby, and I miss it. The street meat in Soho is practically nonexistent. What I’ve found so far is drab and mushy.
The company I’m consulting for has a few offices in the city, including one still in Rockefeller Center. I’ve become a bit of a mercenary. I am sometimes sent to a hot spot to help out with the workload. I’ve been back at Rockefeller Center for the past week and it feels like home to me.
I celebrated my good fortune with a visit to Margon, a Cuban cafeteria-style joint on 46th Street. It’s tiny. If you’re not looking for it, you’ll pass by. The Cubanos are pretty popular but I’m not a fan. I go on Thursday or Friday for the ox tail.
Is ox tail actually from an ox or is that just the name of it? Who the hell raises ox? And I’ve never heard of ox meat for dinner. Are they raised simply for their delicious tails and to pull carts? I’ve never seen an ox. Do they even have tails? God, they’re good. That’s a plate of black beans, rice and fried plantains on the side. I glamor the girl behind the counter, so she always pours a little of the ox tail gravy on my rice and beans.
It’s pretty narrow and cramped. The crowd is a mix of laborers and suits. During peak lunch hours, you may end up eating with a total stranger if there are no other seats available. If you don’t like having your personal space violated or if you’re squeamish about eating off of plastic plates and trays, you’re probably in the wrong city, anyway. The food is scrumptious and that’s enough to keep me coming back.
In this one small section of 46th Street, within steps of each other, you can get an Irish meal at O’Brian’s, a Cuban meal at Margon, and an Indian meal at Minar. You can get a haircut, your nails done, a waxing, and your eyebrows threaded. You can also sell your excess gold for cash. You can go to St. Andrews, a Scottish bar/restaurant with a large LARGE selection of scotch whiskey. It’s the only place in town where you can order haggis. Again, this is all within about 10 paces of each other. Multiply that times 1,000. That’s New York City.