141 East 44th Street
New York, NY 10017
(212) 867-6730

Manhattan is awash in Starbucks. Just read my last post. Don't get me wrong, I love Starbucks, but variety is the spice of life. So it's nice to see an alternative to the superstar of the coffee world.

Macchiato is only open on weekdays, and on those weekdays it's only open between 10AM and 3PM. These hours, in a word, suck. It opens too late for breakfast, though it does have a limited "breakfast" menu, and it closes too late for late afternoon snacktime. How it can survive paying midtown rents with a 25 hour workweek is beyond me.

But that doesn't detract from its appeal. Would it be nice if it was open late(r) so you could meet someone after work and hang out? Yeah. But during the times that is open, its clean-lined, trendy, upscale atmosphere is a nice place to be. I wish I had the time to sit down an enjoy a meal there.

Macchiato is an espresso bar, but appears to spend more energy on food than on coffee. Its coffees, Danesi brand, are very good and, for those who can afford the time to to stay and enjoy themselves, can be had in a real cup. It serves muffins, croissants, cookies, danishes, bagels, salads, and sandwiches. All of the prices, it should be noted, are comparable, if not higher than Starbucks, its aforementioned most obvious competition. Penny pinchers should look elsewhere for their cheap joe.

Of their food items, I've had their Blueberry Muffin and Cranberry-Walnut Muffin, which were moist and delicious. They charged me extra for butter, but I guess they have to cover rent somehow. I've also tried the Butter Croissant, which has to have been one of the flakiest, sweetest croissants that I've had in a very long time. That's a good thing, but you'll need a plate. No breakfast on the go with these puppies. Too many other places serve them dry and brittle (not the same as flaky) or rubbery. The Egg and Cheese Sandwich, on a ciabatta roll, is PRVixen's breakfast of choice when she wants a Macchiato breakfast, though she wishes that they sold eggs on their own.

On the lunch side of the menu, I'm not a big salad person. But I can't turn down a good sandwich, so one lunch, a co-worker and I went on an sandwich excursion. She ordered the Prosciutto Sandwich and IMed me to tell me that she thought it was "amazing". It comes stuffed with prosciutto de parma, mozzarella, fresh basil, balsamic-dipped tomato, avocado, and an olive tapenade. I ordered the Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich on whole grain. One of my new favorite sandwiches. The inside is hot and tender with a pesto mayonnaise over lettuce, tomato, sun-dried tomato, and onion. What would turn this sandwich into something really exceptional is some brie.

PRVixen and I found our way back to Macchiato about two hours before writing this paragraph. My choice was the Roast Beef Sandwich. I ordered it because it seemed very similar to a roast beef sandwich offered by Cosi across the street. Arugula, Monterrey jack cheese, and tomato come perched beside the roast beef with a smearing of wasabi mayonnaise. I'll stick to the Cosi version when I want roast beef. Don't think it was bad or anything, but given that it was supposed to be wasabi mayonnaise, I expected some tang, but instead it was tangless and verged on bland. And let's be honest. Can anyone compare to Cosi's bread? I mean, that stuff's like crack. PRVixen chose the Caprese Sandwich, a vegetarian option that filled a baguette with buffalo mozzarella, balsamic-dipped tomato, basil, and an olive tapenade. She loved the olive tapenade, but felt that the rest of the sandwich was merely okay and not something she'd go out of her way again for, saying that she preferred a similar sandwich at Delectica that cost about the same.

With tax, by the way, these sandwiches come within pennies of $10 each.

It would seem that Macchiato is best for European-styled coffee, a trendy atmosphere, and breakfast pastries, but that its sandwiches are hit-or-miss.

Correction 10/08/07:
I made a boo-boo about the hours that Macchiato is open (thank you dear readers). It's in fact open from 7am to 6pm. But it's still closed on weekends and I don't out of work before 7, so I still can't meet people there after work for a coffee.

Update 12/21/07:
Macchiato, as I have already mentioned, has incredible croissants. As I wander out of the office for my mid-morning coffee fix, I head off to Starbucks. A few minutes later, coffee in hand, I suddenly and unexpectedly begin to crave a croissant. So off I head, and inside I go, to Macchiato.

"What are you drinking?" comes a voice from my side, finger extended towards my trespassing Starbucks cup. "Coffee. But I just want a croissant."
"How about a coffee?"
"I have one."
"How about one of ours free?"
"Same size? A trade?"
"Seems silly."
"You give us that coffee, we'll give you a large one on us." I ponder this. Do I keep the coffee I like for something that most assuredly tastes the same, just so I can get a slightly more expensive version that gives me the privilage of being their office advertisement? Whatever, it'll make for a good story.
"Sure, knock yourself out." And away goes my venti into the trash can, replaced by their Danesi blend. It must be noted that it was not, in absolute fact, the same size. It was smaller. So I lost out. Stupid. Next time, I'm keeping my coffee.
"We're very proud of our coffee," she said. Yes you are.

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