PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Dani”

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. This week, it’s Dani an account executive/food blogger who answers all of our profile questions, except for one: How do I get invited over for Mom’s Indonesian home cooking!?!

Name: Dani

Age: 34

Occupation: Account Executive (and Food Blogger)

Where in Midtown do you Work?: 40th and Madison

Favorite Kind of Food: Mom’s Indonesian home cooking (specifically her risoles, which are breaded, crepe-like pastries filled with a creamy chicken and veggie concoction), sushi, dim sum, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, seafood, potato chips, Southern cooking

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Try as I might, I’m not a big fan of cheesecake, which leaves many people simply speechless, especially my co-workers who rave about the cheesecake at Juniors. Jiggly desserts like jello and pudding do not thrill me either. I also can’t get into organ meats unless it’s “broken down” like in pate. I’m also not a big steak eater.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: Even sans the salmon topping, the Caesar Salad at Salmon River (on 40th btw. Mad+5th) is the best; the dressing seems to have much more zing than other places. I also cannot get enough of the Ma Paul tofu at Szechuan Gourmet (39th btw. 5+6th); great sinus-clearing spiciness and massive portions that will carry you to the next two meals! Tokyo Restaurant (on Lexington btw. 39+40th) offers giant bowls of ramen and hearty sushi in a serene traditional atmosphere. Cafe Zaiya (on 41st btw. Mad+5th) for pretty much anything like the chicken katsu, udon noodles and pastries. $10 at Japas (on 38th btw. Mad+5th) will buy you a robust lunchbox of three sets of maki rolls, miso soup and salad.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? Chipotle (on 274 Madison Ave.) for its burritos and chips and guac. Pret a Manger (on 287 Madison Ave.) because it’s literally next door to our building; prices may be hefty but you really are getting fresh, quality ingredients. Pera (on 303 Madison Ave.) to wow clients or celebrate victories (Mediterranean fries are to die for). The sister cafes of Food Exchange (on 309 Madison Ave.) and Food Merchants (on 26 E. 40th Street) for fresh, gourmet grub at fairly reasonable prices; Food Exchange always has complimentary bagel chips to pawn off which get nice and chewy when dipped into their thick soups like the beef stroganoff!

Place(s) you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? Thanks to Midtown Lunch, oblivious me found out about Cafe Zaiya and its super close proximity to my office! Also, I have not ventured there yet, but I’d like to try the bahn mi at Boi Sandwich (on 3rd Avenue between 44th and 45th streets). Hey, we’re not in Chinatown so the hefty midtown price for a bahn mi will have to do.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? And speaking of Chinatown, it would be dreamy to work in that wallet-friendly part of Manhattan. Bakeries with cheap but yummy pastries, dim sum, bowls of noodle soups and Vietnamese joints here and there (with affordable bahn mi) would never bore or disappoint me.

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? I’m a Baltimore native and would like know where I can nab a decent crab cake that’s full of lumps and almost empty of filler? Do you have a suggestion other than the Oyster Bar? Thank you!

Got a crab cake recommendation for Dani? Put it the comments. And as always if you want to be next week’s Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email me at



  • Anyone who works by Cafe Zaiya and would ever walk into Chipotle for lunch is certifiably insane.

  • Those shirts in one shot are like crossing the streams in Ghost Busters…

  • All the crab cakes I’ve had have been the crappy filler kind, with no lump crab meat. So sad. The search continues.

  • My dearest Dani:

    Next time just throw your gum away when you are being photographed. Only children stick in on their thumb or finger and then into their mouth again.


  • I hear Doc Chuck in an expert in lumpy crabs…

  • A Midtown Luncher who doesn’t like offal, cheesecake, or STEAK??? (and frequents chipotle, pret a manger, and food exchange?!)

    Are we sure she’s reading the same site as us?

  • My dearest Mamcita:

    I am an expert on my beloved Maryland Blue Crab, and on many, many, many other things (I am a retired “educator,” you know).

  • I’m sure any of the upscale fish places would have crabcakes sans filler. But be prepared to spend close to $10 a piece.

    The last crabcakes I had was from whatever fish place was downstairs from 1251 AoA (I forget the name, it was like 5 years ago) had good crabcakes, but again, it was pricy (2 martini’s and an order of crab cakes, I think I spent over $40).

  • Chucky is also an ‘expert’ in fat flap fungal infection and wiping his arse with a sponge ona stick.

  • Tyler,
    Ml isn’t listed on her websites: “blogs I follow” list.

    Hopefully we can rectify that, and get an invitation to dinner at Mom’s!

  • Do you hear that Zach?

    She doesn’t even have you listed as a blog she follows…

    …for shame.

    (and good crabcakes [like good BBQ] don’t exist in NYC)

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    Dani has a unique blog.

    Wow, you guys are mean & not culturally aware.
    Not liking Cheesecake is a genetic thing.

    You can’t accept someone different but unique in New York? -> Go back to the South!

  • Dani’s coworker just logged on. Ha!

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    Good crab cakes (though pricey) at Thalia’s on W 50th St as well as City Crab (on Park Ave s.) DelFriscos, Blue Water Grill and Le Gigot (on Cornelia St).

    My fave being the ones at City Crab- they are so full of lump crab I’m shocked they hold themselves together!

  • Jenn can afford to eat at pricey places because she scores the child portion discount

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