PROFILE: Downtown Lunch’er “Zachary”

As is customary here on Midtown Lunch, every Tuesday we’ll profile a different lunch’er and get their recommendations for places to eat in Downtown NYC. This week, we have Zachary who has an interesting food dislike and would rather dig into a plate lunch.

Name: Zachary Lerner

Occupation: Program analyst

Where you work: Broadway & Worth

Age: 31

Favorite kinds of food: Now that it’s feeling a bit more like Fall, I’m looking for soups and stews with a thick wedge of bread. As long as it’s not cream-based there’s no need for a second course.

Least favorite foods: Thai food.  This is probably my own fault, I have a really hard time finding standout Thai restaurants in the city.  One blends into the other and it ends up a sugar, basil, lemongrass and chili blah.

Favorite lunches downtown: The takeout pho at Thai Son on Baxter (btw. Bayard & Walker), where they give you the broth in one container and the meat and noodles in another.  The banh mi is a good value at $4.  Yeah, I know I said I don’t like Thai food and the place is called Thai Son.  It’s a Vietnamese joint, trust me. Church near Canal St. may be my favorite area.   The Spanish-American place (West Side Coffee Shop ) next to Sea World is very filling even though its best dishes breach $10.  If you don’t overeat it’s two meals for sure. Where else…the Pane Panelle sandwich place that opened off of Stuzzicheria on Church St. (at Walker) is good too. The first time I went there I was irritated with the small portions.  The sandwiches are 1/2 to 2/3 the size of what you might find at a typical deli.  However, about ten minutes after eating I was full so it may turn out to be the correct amount of food.  Also, the complimentary caponata served on the side is delightful, caramelized eggplant and pine nuts. When I’ve really earned it, I’ll walk up to Salume on West Broadway (at Grand).

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: The dim sum place on Chatham Square with the red awning, Google says it’s called Hop Shing?  I’m not sure of its name.  What I am sure of is it has some of the best baked pork buns I’ve ever tasted.  It also stays within the standard $0.80-0.90 per bun price range.  It’s more of an afternoon snack than a meal.

Places downtown you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: Downtown? Baba Ghanouge on Church (btw. Reade & Chambers), specifically the chicken beiruti baguette sandwich.  The other food on the menu is solid too.  If they fix their assembly line delivery and speed things up it’d be even better.

Dream job location, purely for lunch purposes, and why: Hawaii.  Plate lunch, plate lunch, plate lunch.

Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch: Downtown readers? Has anyone tried the Mexican food at Shorties?  I’ve been tempted, but would like to hear a good word or two.

I personally haven’t eaten at Shorties but I’ve heard their tacos are at least serviceable. Who else can give Zachary the scoop on Shorties? And as always, if you would like to be next week’s Profiled Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email us at


1 Comment

  • Yeah, my coworkers and I have eaten at Shorties a lot. If you go there, stick to the tacos, nothing else. They are very cheap and load a ton of meat into each taco. Even though they don’t have it on the menu, I ask for their pork (it’s like a pernil) in the tacos and I like their oily, crumbly chorizo tacos as well (though I heard they recently and unfortunately switched to sliced sausage instead). They also tend to get flustered here if you order more than 3 tacos at a time, forgetting what you ordered etc. Their salsas are very tasty, they give you limes, and they properly double-tortilla.

    For Thai, outside of Downtown I have 2 recommendations for you of places that I find “stand out”. Zabb Elee in the East Village does Isaan region Thai, so no Pad Thai or anything like that, and beware of their spiciness. Also, Wondee Siam in Hell’s Kitchen, but you have to order off of their “Secret Menu”. The dishes like Mien Ka Na and Yum Moo Yang are my favorites.

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