Downtown Lunch: Rosario's

Making Downtown office workers jealous is something this blog has been doing for awhile now. To even the score, I’ve brought on Daniel Krieger as an official Downtown Lunch Correspondent to write up some of the tasty stuff you can get in the lower half of Manhattan. He’s a great photographer (insuring good food porn), but more importantly he is a lover of cheap, unique and delicious eats (or as I like to call it- Midtown Lunch’ish food). This week he leaves the comforts of Chinatown, for a great sandwich shop a little farther south…

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From a bang-for-your-buck perspective, it’s going to be tough to beat last week’s dirk diggler sized hot dog for a dollar, which remains so far- one of the best deals I’ve seen downtown. Not surprisingly as you move farther downtown from Chinatown, you move a bit higher in price- but for one of the best sandwiches below canal, you’ve gotta bite the bullet and go to Rosario’s.  

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Here’s the deal. The sandwiches are not Chinatown cheap, but it’s no more expensive then what the suckers in Midtown are paying. Most ring in at about $8, but the sandwich are H U U U U U G E. I went with the famous Italian Combo (notice the size you get for your $8.50) and literally ate half of it before realizing I should stop, and save the second half the following day. All I had to do was buy a 50 cent roll, and basically for 9 bucks I had a sandwich for two days.

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If you can eat this entire sandwich in one sitting, well then you’re a fatter man than I.

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When you make it downtown to this lunchspot, you’ll find Joe Rosario, who has been overstuffing sandwiches at this Wall Street location for the past 25 years. He suggests going with the Rosario’s famous Italian hero on a tuscan roll, which was a piling of proscuitto, supppresata, homemade mozzarella, provolone, cappacolo…(no wait there’s more)… salami, ham, and mortadella. The monstrosity is finished with your choice of hot or sweet peppers, and balsamic dressing. If you just turned vegan after reading those last few lines, you might want something a bit lighter (I use that term loosely at this place), like the Tuscan vegetarian on ciabatta, which starts off with olive salad, both grilled and fried eggplant, roasted red peppers, homemade mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, giardianara, before getting finished off with lettuce, tomato and the balsamic dressing. This thing could feed a small commune of hippies for a day.

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The line of mostly white collars moves fast and if you don’t want a sandwich, try the pasta with fresh spinach, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil- or one of the other daily pastas which, no surprise, is a heaping portion and rings in at just $5.75 tax included. The atmosphere is what it is, but you’re not paying $50 for lunch so you’re not getting table service or ambience, or much lighting at all. If you decide to eat there, just bring your appetite and a newspaper.

If you’re looking for dessert, the cake is as great as you’ll find in any NYC deli. If you go with the red velvet ($3.75), prepare to be impressed. You’ll break the 10 dollar barrier if you’re by yourself, but quite frankly, you could probably split sandwich and cake with a friend and leave satisfied.

Rosario’s, 38 Pearl St. (btw. Broad & Whitehall), (212) 514-5454‎

Photos & Post by Daniel Krieger

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