My great friend, Justin Eusebio, who I met the very on my first day of my collegiate life has just written a brilliant article on his experience of 53rd and 6th. He is the weekly writer of the “Cuisine Corner” for The Stute and this happened to be his very last piece. I have included his last article below which you can also read here on The Stute’s website and make sure to visit his Yelp page here for other reviews from a countless other places.
If you have enjoyed the experience that is 53rd and 6th then you’ll enjoy this article just as much. If you have no idea what this is, then MAKE SURE you read this article and go out tonight to enjoy the food. For those that don’t get it — it is located on the corner of 53rd Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan.
Cuisine Corner – 53rd and 6th
People thought I wouldn’t do it, or that it couldn’t be done. But here I am, in my last review that I will ever write for The Stute, writing about the pinnacle of my college dining experience. I was introduced to this miracle on wheels over five years ago when I was a young freshman, and it has kept me coming back more times than I can even imagine. While it is known by many names, 53rd and 6th, Chicken and Rice, Lamb and Rice, or Platters, there is only one experience that is second to none.
A few weeks into my freshman year, my new friend, but now long time roommate, told me about a place in NYC that he has been going to for years. While at first I had thought we were going to a brick and mortar restaurant, I was surprised to find that our destination was a once random street corner. Marked by the iconic yellow plastic bags and yellow sweatshirts, the line said it all. Never have I stood in line for an hour for street meat, but I was assured it was worth the wait. Platters can be enjoyed in all physical conditions; however, when you are at the brink of starvation, this meal can take you to nirvana. That night I felt like my insides were cannibalizing themselves, which made for the perfect conditions to enjoy that meal. With my first bite, I saw heaven, and the angels were eating Platters. Since then, I have gone in sweltering hot evenings, monsoon-like rain, and blizzard level snow, but like the postal service, no elements have kept them from being open.
Being a self proclaimed Platters veteran, here are some common misconceptions and rules to follow if you’re going for the first time.
Firstly, you can only get true authentic Platters between the hours of 7:30 and 4:00 at night. Don’t let the similar yellow sweatshirts fool you; the daytime vendors are officially unaffiliated with the true Chicken Guy. True Chicken and Rice comes in a round aluminum tin and is placed in the iconic yellow bags. No exceptions.
Second, the carts across the street serve the same food. If it is your first time, then you definitely have to experience the line wait, which always leaves a story. However, if you are a no nonsense gyro guzzler, the shorter line on the east side of 6th street is the spot for you.
Third, there isn’t really a menu at the carts. You can choose from chicken, lamb, or both and between gyro or platter. You also better have your order ready when you’re on deck because any delay will invariably cause aggression from hungry diners behind you. If you are unsure of how to get it done, I fully advocate going with a veteran and letting them handle the order.
Fourth, always be friendly to inquisitive tourists. We have all been platter virgins at one point in another. While you can feel bad that they have never experienced euphoria, that does not excuse a grumpy or sarcastic attitude towards the ignorant.
Fifth, apply white sauce liberally and hot sauce cautiously. There are times when I like my white sauce with a little bit of Platters, so there should be no worry about over applying the mysterious white sauce; however, the hot sauce is not your grandma’s spice. Many hot heads think they can handle the Chicken and Rice red stuff, but time and time again they are reminded that “pride comes before the fall.” Everyone’s white and red sauce balance is different, so if you are getting a platter for a friend, it’s better to get the individual packets instead of guessing. P.S.- Don’t bother asking what is in the white sauce; no one knows and no one cares.
Finally, and most importantly, there is no cutting. It does not matter whether your parents, siblings, or lovers are waiting. If you cut the line, the line can, and probably will, cut back. Literally. There have been documented cases of line cutters that have been stabbed, so consider yourselves warned.
I have introduced countless friends and family to Platters, and it has never disappointed once in the past five years. The only thing as good as the meals themselves have been the memories I’ve made at that street corner. I’ve seen it all, from Snookis getting decked to Power Rangers riding motor cycles in my trips to the cart. Just like it says on their website, “All the people of the world can be put into two categories: those who have had the platter, and those who have not.” Therefore, there should be no question as to if you are going. You will go. The only question that is left is chicken or lamb? For more information, visit http://www.53rdand6th.com/.
Bottom Line: I pity the fool that hasn’t tried Platters.
It has been my pleasure writing for The Stute. I used to joke that I didn’t care if anyone read my articles, but it has always been the highlight of my day to find out that someone actually took the time to read one of my blurbs. Whether you have agreed with me or not, hopefully I’ve gotten you to try something new, or at least made you laugh. If you like my reviews and want to read more from me, follow me on Yelp! with the username imadjustin. The pleasure has been all mine and bon appétite!