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East Village ideas, not Italian

fornaio Jul 14, 2006 07:08 PM

Hi all,

I'm looking for a cheap, sit down dinner in the East Village that isn't Italian (and wouldn't have a long wait tonight). Any suggestions?

I searched the boards, but most suggestions were Italian, which we had for dinner last night. I thought about SEA Thai, but I imagine there would be a wait there on a Friday night (and while it is cheap, it isn't really somewhere I planned to try again).

Thanks all.

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    Peter Cherches RE: fornaio Jul 14, 2006 07:18 PM

    What's your definition of cheap?

    How about Madras Cafe?


    1. Steve R RE: fornaio Jul 14, 2006 07:20 PM

      Well, I'm not sure what you mean by cheap so I'll use my judgment on it.

      1- E.6th St Indian. The better ones (Banjara, Angon, Brick Lane) arent incredibly cheap but some folks like Sonali as well & it is.
      2- The E.European places like Ukranian, Veleska, etc (2nd Ave)
      3- Bleeker St falafel type places. Mamoun's especially.
      4- Dojo on St Marks

      These arent the best food in the world but not bad for non-Italian cheap meals with little chance of a long wait.

      1. p
        Peter Cherches RE: fornaio Jul 14, 2006 07:37 PM

        "These arent the best food in the world"

        major understatement.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Peter Cherches
          Steve R RE: Peter Cherches Jul 14, 2006 08:07 PM

          Agreed, but for "cheap, sit down, and no wait" with no other defining parameters... hey, Hearth was out and probably so was Uovo.

          dojo is okay for some things. And, look at the positive side... I didnt recommend the 2 dinners for $7.95 special at BBQ on 2nd Ave or even MaryAnns for Mexican. How 'bout Mo Pitkins?

          1. re: Steve R
            Peter Cherches RE: Steve R Jul 14, 2006 08:13 PM

            I love the chickens at bbq.

        2. wleatherette RE: fornaio Jul 14, 2006 07:48 PM

          argh! dojo is so disgusting!!

          a few ideas:
          village yoko cho (above sunrise mart on stuyvesant & 3rd ave)
          grand sichuan on st. mark's between 2nd & 3rd
          zerza (moroccan) on e.6th between 1st & 2nd
          haveli (indian) on 2nd ave & 6th (i think)

          1. p
            Peter Cherches RE: fornaio Jul 14, 2006 08:05 PM

            I never understood Haveli. I find it about as bad as the rest of the 6th street dumps.

            1. s
              Simon RE: fornaio Jul 14, 2006 08:07 PM

              how about Cafe Mogador?...tasty Moroccan tagines and decent wine by the glass

              1 Reply
              1. re: Simon
                kvn RE: Simon Jul 14, 2006 08:22 PM

                I second Mogador. Best suggestion so far.
                Grand Schezuan is also good, but a lot of these other suggestions are terrible.
                don't go to dojo.

              2. p
                Peter Cherches RE: fornaio Jul 14, 2006 08:13 PM

                Great merquez at Mogador too.

                I haven't been to Sapporo East in years, but they used to be reliable.

                1. wleatherette RE: fornaio Jul 14, 2006 08:25 PM

                  sapporo is still a solid choice, especially for cooked dishes. sushi is so-so.
                  cafe mogador is a good idea, and there's also cafe orlin further west on st. mark's. a bit like mogador but with more of a european menu.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wleatherette
                    Pan RE: wleatherette Jul 14, 2006 11:16 PM

                    I used to go there late at night, but not since they swapped the real Parmesan cheese for that stuff that comes out of a jar. Not recommended!

                    Good suggestions so far:

                    Grand Sichuan St. Marks (probably where I'm getting my dinner tonight) is excellent, delicious, and a blessing in this neighborhood. There could be a wait on a Friday.

                    Cafe Mogador is lovely but there will probably be a wait. Consider Nomad, which has yet to be discovered by the crowds. I had a very good meal there on Wednesday. East side of 2nd Av. between 4th and 5th.

                    Madras Cafe, an evergreen. For best results, get South Indian specialties, but you can't go wrong with anything but their achar (pickles), which taste like turpentine. If you want spicy food, ask for the little green chilis to be added to your utthapam or masala dosa and order rasam.

                    Caracas Arepa Bar. Very pleasant place, but I'll bet there'll be a line even with the welcome expansion.

                    Congee Village will definitely have lines on a Friday night. Call for reservations or see if there's room at the bar (probably not would be my guess). I love Congee Village.

                    Some more ideas:

                    If you want Eastern European food, there won't be a wait at Teresa's. It's not transcendant, but it is reliable.

                    Mancora, the Peruvian restaurant on the corner of 6th and 1st, is good. Have a look at their menupages.com menu to judge the price range, but keep in mind that they serve very large portions, so that an "appetizer" like Anticuchos is really a main dish portion, and you won't want to eat an entire appetizer and main dish by yourself. Plus, salad and maduros are likely to be on your plate as part of your dish, so you won't need to or want to order sides.

                    If you're in the mood for ramen, you can have a cheap and satisfying meal at Menkui Tei. Share an order of gyoza and get ramen that costs less than $9.50 (the $9.50 bowls are huge crocks) or share a $9.50 bowl.

                    That's all for now. I'm hungry. [laugh]

                  2. Melanie RE: fornaio Jul 14, 2006 08:27 PM

                    Not QUITE the east village, but Congee Village is located on the lower east side and is quite cheap, but delicious.

                    1. spchang RE: fornaio Jul 14, 2006 08:28 PM

                      Caracas Arepa bar is pretty cheap and tasty. And they have more room now that they expanded, so it won't be as long of a wait.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: spchang
                        Peter Cherches RE: spchang Jul 14, 2006 08:33 PM

                        Hey, great news about the Caracas expansion.

                      2. d
                        Drew E RE: fornaio Jul 14, 2006 10:24 PM

                        A little haphazard, maybe, for a group but Zum Schneider at 7th St and Ave. C is a good cheap place for german food. Big mugs of beer, pretzels w/ hot mustard. Good meat, cheese and salad plates. Real casual, friendly service

                        1. j
                          Jorel RE: fornaio Jul 14, 2006 11:37 PM

                          Mogador and Madras are good suggesstions. I'll add Holy Basil (Thai) on 2nd Ave and Itzocan (Mexican) on 9th St.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Jorel
                            Peter Cherches RE: Jorel Jul 15, 2006 02:07 AM

                            Itzocan is great, but I don't know if I'd put it in the cheap category. Also, I wouldn't call the dinner menu Mexican, but French-Mex fusion.

                            I was unimpressed by Holy Basil.

                            1. re: Peter Cherches
                              Pan RE: Peter Cherches Jul 15, 2006 03:23 AM

                              I was unimpressed with Holy Basil, too, when I went there years ago. Small portions for higher prices with less spiciness. Nice decor, but I can't eat decor.

                          2. r
                            raybird RE: fornaio Jul 17, 2006 05:21 PM

                            yes, mogador is so great! thanks for the reminder. what about flor's kitchen? pretty inexpensive. i used to love to go to yaffa and just get little snack things and a beer and sit outside - pretty cheap and fun for hangin out.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: raybird
                              Peter Cherches RE: raybird Jul 17, 2006 06:49 PM

                              I've only been to the W. Village Flor's Kitchen, and the tuna ceviche was great, but the arepas were awful. Better to stick with Caracas for arepas.

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