First Impressions: Num Pang Sandwich Shop

Num Pang roasted cauliflower sandwichThe second in a series of flash reviews of the restaurants at Hudson Eats in Brookfield Place. Previously: Black Seed Bagels.

I went to the original Num Pang Sandwich Shop on 12th St. years ago, when it opened to rave reviews, and I liked it quite a bit. My recent sandwich at Hudson Eats did nothing to change my opinion: It was roasted cauliflower with (all of the sandwiches have the following) pickled carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, and spicy mayo. The menu online claims it also had “Chinese and Thai eggplant spread.” The roll was better (and softer) than it looked, although I do think they should slice the sandwich in half—it’d help with the messiness. I enjoyed the sandwich, but I don’t think I’d want one every day, because I bet they all taste sort of the same.

I also ordered market pickles and Cambodian slaw. The top half of the pickles was great: cucumbers and turnips (market, my ass), most of which I put on the sandwich. The second half was all shredded cabbage, and I don’t think anyone ordering seasonal market pickles should get shredded cabbage. The slaw is described online as spicy, but not on the menu board, so I was in for a shock. After two bites I had to toss it: It started out bland and went fiery fast, and it’s one of the sad facts of my life that my tongue can dish out the spiciness but it can’t take it. I also had a ginger lemonade, which was fantastic.

I ate at a table over by the window, and even 25 yards away I could hear Num Pang workers yelling out order numbers. They probably want to work on a better system.

The next morning, I considered the Num Egg Sammy, but prebaked egg—even if it was cooked that morning, as they insisted—makes me nervous. But it comes with scallions, sesame, and herbs, which sounds good, so I may be back.

A general thought about Hudson Eats: I’m starting to get tired of eating out of takeout containers—staying or going, you get the same packaging at Num Pang, Black Seed, Little Muenster (more on that soon), and presumably the rest. And I’m feeling guilty about the waste. Some of the trash cans are labeled with the recycling symbol, but it’s unclear whether that means more than glass, plastic, and aluminum, and ultimately, recycling is great but reducing is better. For a place that’s pretty contemporary, it’s worth comparing to, say Mulberry & Vine (with bins for food, trash, and recycling), or Sweetgreen (where everything is compostable).

Num Pang sidesRecent New Kid on the Block/First Impressions articles:
• Hudson Eats: Black Seed Bagels
Tutto Il Giorno
Union Bar + Kitchen
Il Principe
Arcade Bakery
Sweet Green
Hotel Hugo
El Vez
Racines NY
Juice Press
By Suzette

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  1. I’ve been to Num Pang and Dig Inn so far and Sprinkles. Everything was good but the chaos at lunchtime is not worth it. I work in the WFC and during this weather, I would rather take a walk outside and they are expensive. I miss the Food Trucks and the three restaurants that were available outside the Winter Garden the past 2 or 3 Summers. They were crowded but outside it didn’t seem as chaotic and there was always a place to sit. I guess Hudson Eats must have had some agreement that once they opened, the rest had to go. I will still walk across to Wei West and Harrys. That might change when Blue Ribbon Sushi opens though.

  2. I strongly agree about the recycling and sheer amount of waste. I was disappointed that there is not a better system in use.

  3. I agree with these comments regarding waste. It appears that many of the vendors are using paper containers versus the heavy duty plastic, and this must mean a smaller impact. However, there’s always opportunity to reduce waste! Are any of the restaurants using reusable trays, or only takeout bags? For those restaurants providing disposable utensils, does every customer need them? Even those picking up dinner and going to their homes? We have terrific takeout/delivery food options in NY, but we need both providers and customers thinking about and executing on minimization of waste.

    • Last night, Mighty Quinn’s asked if I was staying here or taking it to go, and when I said the former, I got a plastic tray. I hadn’t seen any trays before that, so maybe they just arrived?

  4. I had the steak sandwich yesterday at Num Pang and was very pleased. The chicken rice soup was thin, but spicy and tasty. They also advertised being on Seamless, which I expect to make use of.