Archive for July 2013

Need A Solid Slice Of Pizza? Cucina Bene Is Highly Recommended

If you don’t know Cucina Bene on Exchange Place (btw. William & Broad) exists, you aren’t alone. I’ve probably walked by the block that this pizza place sits on hundreds of times, but unless you look over and see the neon sign proclaiming “Pizza” you wouldn’t notice it. Its entrance it right in front of one of those raised things to prevent cars from driving down the street, and across from a Blimpie sandwich shop.

Enough about its out of the way location…you want to know about the pizza, right? Well, I’m here to tell you they served me some of the best, no-frills slices I’ve eaten in my time as Downtown Lunch editor.  Read more »

Halal Gyro Express Brings The FiDi BBQ Chicken Lo Mein Mash Up

When the Halal Gyro Express cart reappeared at William St. & Maiden Lane after apparently being damaged in an accident, I noticed there were some menu additions taped to the window. In addition to biryani and fish over rice, there was one that made me stop in my tracks. “Chicken lo mein? Really?” I thought to myself.

Of course I had to see what this street meat/Chinese mash up would be.  Read more »

Open Kitchen Bringing Coffee, Market To Lower William St.

I’d seen work being done on the massive retail space on William St. (nr. Beaver) for quite some time, but there were no signs of what would be coming. Now we have the answer as the paper came down on the windows and signs went up proclaiming it to be Open Kitchen.

It will be a gourmet coffee shop and market, and the inside – walls covered in white subway tile, nice light fixtures hanging from the ceiling – looks like somewhere I’d actually like to eat lunch. If nothing else, I’m sure those of you working in the area will welcome an alternative to Starbucks coffee.

Vendy Awards Announces 2013 Rookie, Dessert Nominees

Yesterday the Vendy Awards, being held on Sept. 7 at Industrial City by the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center, announced the finalists for the Rookie, Dessert, Market and New Jersey categories. Most of those are not vendors we ever see in Downtown Lunch territory, but some of the carts and trucks in the Rookie finalists stood out.  Read more »

Cocina Mexicana: Serving Up Amazing Tacos And Made To Order Guac

It’s taken me awhile to check out the Cocina Mexicana cart. They showed up amid the cluster of food carts at Liberty St. and Nassau before all of them were booted from the spot. While most of the others relocated, it was Cocina Mexicana and a smoothie cart that stayed put, moving over to the opposite corner along Liberty St. Some days the cart hasn’t been there when I’ve stopped to check it out, or they still had the window shuttered when I walked by around noon.

But one day luck was with me and I got in line to see what this cart could do. My hopes ran high as I saw the man working the window making fresh guacamole in a molcajete.  Read more »

Downtown Links (The “Tuna Dosa And Short Order Cook Dreams” Edition)


Is cilantro tuna in dosa weird? Via FitR.

OBAO’s Thai Makes Welcome Return After Long Post-Hurricane Closure

One of the last lunch spots to open after flooding from hurricane Sandy in the Pearl St./Water St./Coenties Slip area was OBAO at the corner of Water & Coenties. It reopened at about the same time as Zigolini’s and its various offshoots next door, bringing Thai food back to the lowest part of the Financial District.

I was curious if they had changed the interior or menu after the long closure and decided to stop in for lunch. While I would recommend getting your food to go (no air conditioning!), I was pleased with the amount of food I got in my express lunch special, and it was certainly better than the pho.

Read more »