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CHALLENGE ALERT! Who's up for it?

A friend and I have been roaming the city in search of off-the-beaten path ethnic restaurants. So far, we've gone to Brooklyn for Yemeni food, the East Village for cous cous, the West Village for Portuguese and the LES for Italian. We've got plans to find another spot for tomorrow. There will be three of us, coming from the UWS, UES and the West Village so I'm looking for a centralized location if possible. One of us is a vegetarian. Any suggestions for a must-try dining experience? About $50/person, max? Thanks in advance!

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  1. queen of sheba on 10th ave & 45th for ethiopian? it's pretty good and there are vegetables to be had.

      1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

        ethnic? off the beaten path? I find their brick oven pizzas to be a bit thick and leaden for me . . .

        1. re: bigjeff

          OP mentioned "Italian" as an ethnicity. Arturo's IS in fact Italian. (Pizza on the menu is usually a dead give away.)

          Old decor. Classic Village hangout. Jazz piano and singer stuffed in a corner. And a rare coal oven in the kitchen. Yes...it's off the beaten path.

          As for their pizza...nirvana. (I usually get the onion.)

          1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

            I guess I think of pizza and even a place like Arturo's as pretty well-integrated into the downtown streetscape; it's right on Houston and pretty high profile, as opposed to some taxi-cab stand (Pak deli on 2nd ave and 2nd st for instance). Been there a couple times and the 2 or 3 times I've had the pie, I really found the crust pretty darn thick; if it's not meant to be a thin-crust style like Lombardi's or John's, then I don't think the pizza is that great. some of the pastas are good and some of the apps, but if I wanted pizza like that, I'd go to even Patsy's instead although granted, the decor is nicer at Arturo's.

      2. Ivory Coastal cuisine (and Ghana too) at Florence's on 8th Ave. in Harlem. Hard to get any more "off-the-beaten-path" than that.

        Recently discussed and seems to be gathering steam with other hounds, though I haven't been yet myself:

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/322376

        For other West African fare in Harlem and "Little Dakar," you could try La Marmite on the SE corner of 121st and 8th or slightly more upscale, Africa Restaurant (formerly Africa Kine) on 116 and 8th. Make sure you go to both for lunch, which is when they serve the homestyle items as opposed to French-influenced grilled meat dishes.

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. Apparently there was some confusion regarding "off the beaten" path. What I meant was unheralded restaurants and/or not yet discovered spots worth trying. With that info in mind, any more ideas?