PROFILE: Downtown Lunch’er “Christian”
Name: Christian Cervegnano
Occupation: Apple systems engineer in the IT department at a small educational book publisher.
Favorite kinds of food: Mediterranean cuisines; Flavorful food with a nod to healthy eating but I’m also a sucker for fried fish, I must admit.
Least favorite foods: Chinese or Thai stir-fry dishes typically turn me off. And I know these are hamburger days in NY but I can only eat about one burger a month.
Favorite lunches downtown: Ulysses Folk House on Stone Street is my go-to place. It’s cafeteria-style, but don’t let that put you off. I get the fish of the day and an assortment of veggies with potatoes and salad. For about $17 it’s a great deal for lots of fresh food with a selection of real vegetables. Financier (Multiple Locations) – I love their Croque Monsieur. It comes with an excellently-dressed side salad that helps balance the heaviness of the sandwich. It’s one of the least expensive sit-downs around and I love to go there when I want to sit at lunch alone and play Words With Friends. Cabana on South St. at the Seaport. It’s a bit of a hike from my office, but when I can take a little extra time I make a bee-line for the Seaport and head for the third floor. I always get the pollo a la parilla for $12. It’s a filling plate of chicken, yellow rice, sautéed spinach and delicious beans and comes with soup or salad. Nothing beats the ratio of price-to-quantity-to-deliciousness in the area! At Pita Press on Cedar (btw. William & Pearl) I get the chopped dako salad and add grilled chicken which makes it much more substantial. The salad is savory and flavorful with lots of olive oil, and the chicken is nicely grilled big white-meat chunks. I tend to choose sit-down lunch places so I can get out of the office for a bit and don’t mind spending a few bucks extra for good food and a place where I can sit and unwind during lunch.
The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: Nu Sushi on Pearl St. (btw. Hanover & Broad) is good, but not great. The bento boxes have a good amount of food and are fairly priced. I don’t love this place but I like it enough to keep going back. Haru, which is nearby at Beaver & Pearl, has better sushi but is expensive and the green tea isn’t complimentary!
Dream job location, purely for lunch purposes, and why: Tribeca. Certainly there are lots of great restaurants to choose from but it’s also the neighborhood that attracts me. The well-defined borders of Tribeca make it easy and fun to discover, and the scale of the buildings and the history of the area are exciting and make me feel like walking around. I would be happy getting a Pane Panelle sandwich to go and then wandering the streets for an hour looking at architecture.
Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch: Downtown readers? Is there any good pasta below Fulton Street? When I really need pasta I have to go all the way to Barbarini on Front Street. Where is the little pasta joint owned by someone in the new wave of Italian immigrants in FiDi? Most NYC neighborhoods have such a place, but this one does not. And I’m not talking about pasta with meatballs. I want flavorful bolognese or ravioli with butter and sage.