Munchery: Better Than Seamless?

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As I’ve discussed previously, I view food as being undeniably intertwined with personal style. There are some of us content to eat Spaghetti O’s from a can. (No shame — a decade ago, that was me.) But there’s an element of pride that comes with looking your best, and the same emotions come into play when you’re selecting your chow.

But let’s face it — sometimes the Spaghetti O’s just seem easier. That is, until earlier this week. A mysterious postcard arrived, announcing a new food delivery service called Munchery.

The postcard promised chef-made meals delivered-to-order. Unlike Seamless, these orders arrive cold and you heat them. Unlike Blue Apron, you don’t have to cook the food yourself. The first meal was free, so I gave it a shot, starting with the braised short ribs, clocking in at $15.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Above is the promotional photograph. Enticing, right? Of course, the food arrives encased in a plastic coffin. Here’s what it actually looks like when it arrives:

How the food arrives.
How the food arrives.

As I mentioned the food arrives chilled, so you’ve gotta fire up the oven and the burners. For this particular meal, you shove the cardboard tray (minus the plastic cover) into a 350-degree oven. Then you plop the sauce into a saucepan over low heat until it transforms from gelatin to liquid.

Some light cooking is required.
Some light cooking is required.

After 10 minutes, everything is done and ready for plating. Each meal can make two small meals, so it’s ideal for couples. Here’s how I plated the short ribs:

TADA.
TADA.

There are some hiccups — the delivery was achingly slow. (To Munchery’s credit, they called me to apologize for the delay unprompted, and they knocked $5 off the delivery costs.)

Overall, I was impressed. The food has the type of complex flavorings that typically elude delivery fare — the mashed potatoes were laced with garlic, the red wine sauce was delicate but packed a punch and the broccoli raab was the real deal — it’s one of those veggies you can’t freeze without ruining it, so I was satisfied that it was fresh.

And best of all? With comparable prices to Seamless, the experience seemed more civilized — my meal even came with a hand-written thank you note and a complimentary cookie.