PROFILED: Midtown Lunch’er “Nantini”
Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. Today it’s Nantini, a “creative recruiter” who has extensive dreams about traveling around Italy sampling all the food. She also has put together the most comprehensive (and by that, I mean longest) profile of all time. You know what I say… the more the merrier.
Occupation: Creative Recruiter
Where in Midtown do you Work?: Organic, 37th & Broadway
Favorite Kind of Food: I enjoy the eating and the dining experience. It can be a solo act, or a joining of friends and can be relationship building. I always love good company, conversation and for lunch, to be able to get away from the office & from work as a break in the day. I love food that tantalizes my tastes buds, enlightens my senses, keeps you coming back for more, makes for good company and conversation, a sensual experience of decadence and culinary delights from all parts of the world. I always gravitate towards Thai, Vietnamese, French, Italian, and Japanese.
Least Favorite Kind of Food: Pedestrian American food (iceberg lettuce, weird mayonnaise “salads” like egg salad, potato salad, jello salad, deviled eggs, tuna/chicken salad). I think you get idea, these concoctions scare me and I’m frightened of heavy mayo foods. This may sound anti Asian, but I am not fond of Korean food. I’ve tried a handful of Korean restaurants in Ktown with American and Korean friends.
Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
- Macaron Cafe (36th btw. Bway+7th.) My coworker introduced me to this new place just before it was written about on Midtown Lunch. I’m a Francophile and it’s a tiny cheerful joint misplaced, but very much appreciated in the Garment District! Being there makes me reminisce of Paris and this boulangerie in Le Marais. It is a charming gem, placed in a strange location, something you would expect to be in Nolita or Soho. I loved their Italiano (fresh crusty baguette and soft/chewy inside, served with carved Bresola, large fresh buffalo mozzarella, and grape cherry tomatoes, all drizzled with olive oil. My favorite dessert is the coconut only macaroon, and the other is hot chocolate with a dark chocolate French macron. My friends love their lattes and cappaccinos topped with a frothy heart stamp on their cozy beverages. The French guys handle all the hustle and bustle along with the line out the door very well, they are sweet with their French accents. They’ve added French onion soup, and Croque Monsieur on Tuesdays. I still need to try their chocolate croissants and crepes.
- Pho 32 (32nd btw. 5+6th). This is the only Vietnamese restaurant in Ktown. I always love a medium size bowl of Pho with rare beef slices, matchstick rice noodles, their broth has an amazing savory flavor and not greasy. In particular in the winter cold, I love to get the steaming bowl and top it with the fresh bean sprouts, basil, jalapeno slices, cilantro, scent of lime and finished with tons of Sracha and hoisin sauce. You can never go wrong with a healthy dish of Pho here at this place.
- Kati Roll (39th btw. 5+6th). Love their potato kati along with the chicken or lamb. All of the selections are so flavorful and savory with the marinades and seared in spices. I usually just eat one but I think it’s a tad expenive for two Katis.
- Olympic Pita (38th btw. 5+6th). I think this place is overpriced and expensive but most of the Kosher places in Midtown are. It is clean and the service is efficient, most of the time. The best thing to try is their laffa bread with hummus or babaganoush. I love their “salad bar” with fresh toppings and the best is the fried eggplant. The laffa sandwhiches are huge and a bit too much food for me. My coworkers love the Baby chicken and the Spicy sausage laffa sandwich. The Spicy Sausage is amazing, nice flavor and smoke without too much fire and no grease. Aura. It’s not in the specified Midtown area but they deliver and I love that! I am addicted to their Beef Pad woon sen, requested extra spicy. It’s a simple dish of wide sautéed noodles, with beef, egg and Chinese broccoli. My other favorite dish is their Duck wonton egg noodle soup at
- Aura Thai (9th Ave. btw. 35+36th). The broth is dark, rich with cardamom, cinnamon, a hint of sweetness and duck flavoring. Its not ideal for delivery, so it’s best enjoyed in the restaurant in the large bowl, heaping with egg noodles, topped with fried garlic shavings, cilantro, duck slices and a few fried wontons. Duck tends to be a little fatty, but full of goodness. I usually add crushed red pepper, vinegar, chili and a spritz of fish sauce. It’s rich but ooooh so delicious! Their prices are reasonable for being Thai as well, not too inflated. I never think you should have to over pay for Asian food but of course I do when I find certain places and dishes that are worth it!
The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: Pret a Manger, Metro (36th & Bway), Just Salad, Atrium (7th btw. 36+37th), Pergola (39th btw. 6+Bway), Guy & Gallard (34th btw. Park+Lex), Ginger’s (7th Ave. & 38th), Mandoo Bar (32nd btw. 5+6th), Pow Wok (7th btw. 37+38th), Pick a Pita (38th btw. 7+8th), Le Pain Quotidien (40th btw. 5+6th) & Zia Café.
Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch (if any)? All the newly opened places…
If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Since the sky is the limit and a girl can dream about the perfect job, I’d love to be traveling in Italy for lunch as my duty to find the best haunts. This would be so I can savor and taste each culinary delight found in all the regions of Italy. Rome: Have the best gelato near Trevi Fountain, try to find the best Spaghetti Carbonara, eat Spaghetti Amatriciana for lunch outdoors while you hear the sounds of the water fountains, the best roman pizza served by the kilo, a slice of Bresoal, arugula, olive. I would like try the best fish in Sardinia and sail around to each marina around the entire Island. I am imagining eating fine cuts of antipasti, cheeses, breads, bruscetta, squid & potato salad for long lazy lunches with a nice glass of Italian wine. Northern Italy for the rich pasta dishes, Tuscany for the vineyards, cheese and red wine. Sicily for the best pizza and spicy light pasta dishes and seafood in trattorias. Capri for the lemons, olive oil and fresh seafood and the fresh ocean breeze. I would jaunt down to Parma to find the best parmesan wheel and discover the best proscuitto. My favorite thing in the summer is to eat proscuitto y melone for snack on the beach or appetizer in a cafe with chairs looking on the passers by. It’s all about the eating walk to the next destination, enjoy light white wine during the day and taking in the senses. I’d watch the cute guys in suits or summer clothes hop on their vespas and scoot around the streets and piazzas.
Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers?: Where can you a get a good cocktail with friends in midtown without being cheesy, sporty, a dive, pub or too high brow? Is there such a thing in our location, Midtown?
Wow... that’s a pretty tall order. And considering that yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, this question may be one day too late. There is always the end of the week though! Anybody got a suggestion? The not wanting “cheesy” may automatically disqualify every bar in Midtown… but it’s worth a try. Got a suggestion for Nantini? Post it in the comments…
And as always, if you want to be the next Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er, or you’d like to nominate somebody in your office, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org