Down in our lower, Lower Manhattan work neighborhood, amongst the pizza places serving cheesesteaks and the catch-all spots trying to pull off turkey sandwiches, tossed salads and Udon, there are a few places that rise above the clutter.
We utilize the following spots for lunch when we don’t brown bag it, you may find them handy if you are caught showing some visitors around the Financial District or you get dragged down to Century 21 by a loved one. Of course if you work down here too, you may find some good intel here or you can add your own to the list.
Adrienne’s Pizzabar was a welcome addition to the area and was birthed via a partnership between Nick Angelis and the Poulakakos family who also own the best coffee spot and bar nearby, both conveniently located on the same block. The daytime pizzas ($15+), large Grandma style ones with parmesan tinged dough and rectangle in shape, come with top-notch toppings (Sausage is really good) and are available by the pie as well as the slice during busy hours. At night personal sized round pizzas are also available, and can be ordered dressed in some fancier clothes like the Toscana ($14) with prosciutto, potato and scallion.
Down this way, just about the only burgers worth eating are served at steakhouses. Whether you go with Delmonico’s, which has been serving since 1837, or upstart new arrival Bobby Van’s, you will be rewarded with a huge Burger (~$15) made from high quality beef. We prefer the formers burger, but love the fact that the latter is served with both french fries and onion rings. For a pretty penny, full steakhouse menus are also available, day and night, at both places in their formal and casual dining rooms. The casual dining room at Bobby Van's is visually arresting with a giant bank vault dominating, and the Fried Calamari at Delmonico’s deserves special mention.
We wanted to be excited about Chipotle coming to the area since we frequented the original shop on University Street in Denver way back when, but there are just too many hang-ups for us. The absurd, albeit fast moving, line, the hovering for tables and the underlying feeling, regardless of the founders oft stated highbrow mission, that it is just helping McDonalds further its agenda. Instead we opt for Tajin Restaurant, where the Mexican is just fine, and the scene was much less hectic during my visits.
A rice and beans line we can deal with, regardless of how unruly it can be, is the one at Sophie’s. Their plates of Cuban luncheonette standards ($7) come with excellent rice and your choice of beans. They have efficient table service as well as sandwiches and empanadas, but stick with the plates and slather on their garlicky green sauce.
For something lighter, Gothamist suggests Ruben’s Empanadas or one of the soups at Café Doppio. Ruben’s has a wide variety of fillings to choose for your empanada ($3.50, Shrimp $4), and they are all priced individually so you can buy based on how hungry you are. In addition solid soups, Café Doppio also serves sandwiches, oatmeal in the morning and very good coffee.
Seems proper to end with desserts and there is nothing better in the neighborhood than Christopher Norman Chocolates. The location is a hybrid operation in a Wall Street back alley – production in the back and a small showroom/café up front. The artisanal chocolates come are available in a whole host of flavors and designs, and some like the pear actually take the physical form of their flavoring.
Anyone have an opinion about Caracello Ristorante on Greenwich, thinking of giving it a try since Rosario’s does not do it for us.