Lower Manhattan’s premiere tasting event: Dine Around Downtown, a community restaurant food fest

Brisket burgers hot off the grill from Watermark Bar.
Brisket burgers hot off the grill from Watermark Bar.
(Photo by Tequila Minsky)

Downtowners are gathering in-person, finally. Sampling the fares of 35 local downtown restaurants, lunchers, neighbors, and foodies filled Fosun Plaza (between Liberty & Pine, and Nassau & William) at lunchtime on Tuesday, June 7 delighting in the return of Dine Around Downtown sponsored in part by Downtown Alliance.

A brilliant sun and live jazz added to an ambience of New Yorkers happy to be out, about, enjoying each other while tasting the variety of foods on the menus of nearby restaurants at this annual festival of Lower Manhattan fooderies.

Keeping it simple, restaurants served two or three items from their menus that folks could easily carry off to various seatings including picnic tables under umbrellas on the north side of the plaza. Menu items ranged from $5 to $9.

Getting ready to chow down —steak sandwich and mac and cheese.(Photo by Tequila Minsky)

Restaurants served sliders of all sorts—beef, meatballs, pulled pork, lobster, and short ribs. There was no shortage of meat offerings— ribeye or other steak sandwiches, brisket burgers, lamb chops or chicken kebabs and also seafood selections of crab cakes, shrimp burgers or dumplings, lobster rolls, or tuna nachos.

Variations of mac and cheese appeared on many a menu as well as other side dishes. Non-meat eaters selected from a chickpea stew (samosa chaat), falafel, gnocchi (Pomodero or pesto), skewered vegetables, spinach cheese pie or various salads. Non-alcoholic drinks like apple cider, watermelon juice or lychee mango lassi helped wash it all down. Quick moving lines snaked around the plaza at many booths.

Rocco DiSpirito, celebrity chef, author of Keto Comfort Food Diet converses with a fan.(Photo by Tequila Minsky)

Author and celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito signed copies of his keto book and at the Downtown Alliance booth, a spin prize wheel offered visitors a chance for a tee-shirt or hat that boasted DowntownNYC. The outdoor food festival supplied many professionals their lunch; they balanced their selects, carrying them back to the office.

Local Hudson Square resident Al Di Raffaele met three friends from Brooklyn. “After the incredibly tasty brisket burger I ate, I had a really fresh Greek salad,” Di Rafaele reports. “We all ordered different things, ate under the red umbrellas making a whole afternoon of it, “ he said, admitting he left there completely stuffed. “We had a great time.”

Lambchops,(Photo by Tequila Minsky)