PROFILE: Downtown Lunch’er & Downtown Alliance President “Liz”
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 the president of the Alliance for Downtown NY, Liz Berger, who not only works in lower Manhattan, but has also lived there for 30 years.
Name: Liz Berger
Occupation: President, Alliance for Downtown New York
Where you work: Broadway between Cedar and Pine streets
Favorite kinds of food: Anything delicious, fresh and not too sweet, from Shaun Hergatt’s take on haute cuisine to the fantastic new food trucks at the World Financial Center. Right now, I’m craving crunchy, Asian home style and fusion, Italian or anything grilled, but I’m easily entranced by other flavors and cuisines. I love to eat, am fascinated by foodways, and co-authored a book about food many years ago in which I interviewed Julia Child, among other great cooks, chefs and food writers. I’ll never forget what she said her favorite dessert was: a perfectly ripe pear.
Least favorite foods: I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t like yogurt, a staple of so many cuisines and a really versatile lunch. I’m also not so fond of dishes that gild the lily – lobster mac and cheese, brownie hot fudge sundae, anything “supersized”; while I’m happy to redefine authenticity, sometimes more is too much!
Favorite lunches downtown (when listing a place, let us know what you order there): There are so many choices in Lower Manhattan. Great moules frites six different ways at Les Halles on John St. (btw. B’way & Nassau); pernil with that fabulous green sauce at Sophie’s Cuban (Multiple Locations), anything on the menu at Trinity Place but especially the tartare duo and Asian soba salad (make that a large), any of the antipasti at Barbarini Alimentari on Front (btw. Peck Slip & Beekman); the classic banh mi at Baoguette on Nassau (btw. Fulton & John); any torta at Toloache Taqueria on Maiden Ln. (btw. William & Gold); sweet and spicy chicken at BonChon on John St. ( (I have to have both, plus the cole slaw); the extraordinary Greek salad at Harry’s Café on Hanover Sq.; the burger at The Libertine (my son’s favorite) on Gold St. (at Platt); the shrimp parm hero at The Grotto (back to my childhood) on New St. (btw. Beaver & Exchange Pl.); the wacky but delicious French/Japanese combos at Takahachi Bakery on Murray (btw. Church & B’way); any of the pastas at Inatteso Pizza Bar on West St. (at 1st Pl.) or the egg dishes at North End Grill on N. End Ave. (at Vesey), with a trip around the corner to Francois Payard Bakery (Multiple Locations) to get macarons for dessert!
The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: Variety is the spice of life, so I’d have to name three: Financier Patisserie (there are four in Lower Manhattan and the grab and go is terrific); Alfanoose on Maiden Ln. (btw. B’way & Nassau), for fantastic falafel, foul and the best fried cauliflower; the Korilla BBQ truck, a favorite among our staff.
Places downtown you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: Downtown? Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwiches on Nassau St. (nr. Ann). I’m going to have to try it.
Dream job location, purely for lunch purposes, and why: I have it. Our office is at the center of Lower Manhattan, so everything is within walking distance. And, with a two-block commute, I can always go home for lunch!
Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch: Downtown readers? With summer heading our way, what are favorite outdoor dining spots below Chambers Street?
I’m partial to City Hall Park for a little people watching while I eat. Where do you all go for outdoor eating when the weather gets nice? 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 email@example.com.