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Jan 3, 2008 03:40 PM

Great cheap eats: Park Slope and Beyond

I'm in town from Portland, OR doing some cooking at the Beard House and Le Bernardin. A friend of mine has been kind enough to let me stay on the couch at Butler and 4th Ave. in Brooklyn (Park Slope Area). I have reservations at couple of nice places– Le Bernardin and Babbo– and am looking for some suggestions for cheap/authentic ethnic food to fill me up during the interum. Ideally, these places would be near where I'm staying but suggestions of standout favorites in the other burroughs are also welcome.

Thanks in advance for all of your thoughts and contributions!

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  1. Park Slope is not the nabe for cheap/authentic ethnic food.
    Scan this board and you'll see plenty - there's thousands of different answers to your question, all over Queens and Brooklyn.

    Sheep Station at 4th and Douglass is your new local
    : )
    It's not cheap ethnic, but it's good, good value, and close to you - a bar with a very solid short menu.
    Al Di La is our super star, Piedmontese Italian. 5th Ave and Carroll. Reasonably priced, very good. I'll stack her pasta against Babbo any day - try the malfatti or the beet ravioli.

    In close walking distance you have a sushi place Taro (on Dean near Sixth Ave), Tamari (Japanese, noodle soups and very fresh fish/sushi, 5th Ave @Union/Sackett), Bonnie's (burgers, crack fries and hot wings, 5th Ave near Garfield), El Viejo Yayo (cheap trashy Dominican, 5th Ave near Flatbush) or El Gran Castillo de Jagua (Flatbush and Park Place, near the Q train 7th Ave stop), LA Taqueria on 7th Ave at Berkeley for Cali-Mex

    West Indian
    closest is Stir It Up on Atlantic.
    The Islands in Prospect Heights near the Brooklyn Museum is even better

    Tanoreen in Bay Ridge is the best middle eastern, but Atlantic Ave is closer to you.
    World Tong is the dim sum mecca of Brooklyn.
    ICI in Ft Greene is quite nice, and serves breakfast-lunch-dinner
    Egg on N 5th St @Berry in Williamsburg if you're over there

    Read the board for more more more - or check out Robert Sietsema's Counter Culture back columns on

    1. I wouldn't even regard most of the places posted below as cheap.

      Ghoroa in Jamaica (169th and Hillside by the 169th F train) , Chengdu Tian Fu (Chengdu Heaven) in Flushing (No Eng spoken or on the menu so go with your order written in Chinese characters or memorize some on the train like I did. In the basement food court of a mall. Check the post on it for details.), Lomzynianka (at the literal end of Bedford in Greenpoint where Manhattan Ave and Bedford form a T. A block from the Nassau G. Black sign. Small.), any of the Bukharan/Uzbek Jewish establishments in Forest Hills/Kew Gardens/Rego Park such as Arzu or Cheburechnaya (the latter has a much better selection as far as kebabs go, but I haven't seen striking differences), all of Jackson Heights' GLORIOUS street food which primarily begins at 82nd St and Roosevelt (including the pan de bono place on the left side of 82nd heading to your right off Roosevelt if you're facing Sheah and increasing street numbers. Get pan de bonos there. Check out the Jackson Heights street food post for more details. The main good concentrations are near 82nd and near Junction. This includes excellent tacos with freshly made tortillas, fresh quesadillas, elotes, suckling pig/hornado, fritate, etc. A bounty of Mexican and Ecuadorian delights with Colombians providing the baked goods. ), La Economica at 231st and B'way is probably the best Dominican restaurant in all of New York with chicken that is a transcendental experience in itself, Chao Thai has amazing Thai food in Elmhurst on Whitney off of B'way (Queens.) For more Brooklyn stuff, Cafe Glechik has good rabbit stew (Brighton Beach on CIA) but it's pricey, they don't have it sometimes (GRRR) and the service is actually WORSE than service in Russia. MUCH worse. Eh, Glechik is too expensive. You'll be dissapointed in it if you go to Lomzynianka beforehand too. The lower portions of Chinatown house a wide variety of Fujianese businesses which primarily serve delicious hand made noodles, but that's for another forum. Karam in Bay Ridge has a damn good shawarma (4th Ave and 86th.) You have to go to Di Fara pizzeria (WEDNESDAY NIGHT! Observe my ordering instructions on other posts. They work like a Swiss watch.) A sprawling Chinatown is now quite close to you on 5th Ave, though it's primarily unexplored thus far. Other closer eats include a mountain of Bed Stuy jerk and roti establishments, the best of which are on Nostrand and are literal hole in the wall locations. Deback Malick on Fulton and Bedford serves up excellent Nigerian at prices that are so low that you think you're insulting the restaurant by paying only them.

      Have fun. I'll probably think of more later.

      5 Replies
      1. re: JFores

        Some of those places are over an hour and a half away by subway--might as well drive to Philadelphia and eat a cheesesteak than take the subway to Riverdale.

        There's plenty of good stuff along the R line. Go down to 45th street, walk up to 5th Avenue, and check out the Mexican scene around there. Check for recent recommendations under by searching for Sunset Park on this board. You can then walk up to 8th Avenue and be in Brooklyn Chinatown. While there's pretty good Chinese food in Portland, there's nothing like a bustling 20 block strip of Asian businesses.

        If you keep walking east, you'll end up in Borough Park--along 13th Avenue, the largest Hasidic Jewish neighborhood outside Israel. No standout restaurants, but try finding a restaurant in Portland that sells five types of Kishke. There's a great Salvadoran place on 14th Avenue and 42nd Street, as well.

        The R also goes to Bay Ridge--once again, do a search. Tanoreen is down there. If you go up to Atlantic Avenue and change for a 2 or 3 train, you can land either in Carribbean Crown Heights or Flatbush. I wouldn't leave town without getting a Roti. And, while a bit far away, you have to go to Jackson Heights at least once.

        1. re: PAL

          I live farther from them then he does and I still find myself at at least one every single day. Also, Jackson Heights and Flushing are culinary paradises that should not be missed.

          1. re: JFores

            And the pizza places in New Haven.

            1. re: JFores

              Wow! Really? I mean, I love to go explore various NYC neighborhoods far and wide when I have time and, believe me, I use my unlimited Metro card well. But you really eat that far away from where you live/work every single day??? If so, it seems like it might be a good idea to go ahead and move to that part of Queens. I live in Bay Ridge and it seems like so many Park Slope posters on this board talk about Bay Ridge as if it's on another planet or in another state. Like it would be a major major trip from Park Slope to Tanoreen. Queens is actually another borough and quite a trek from Park Slope. A worthy trek, sure. But every day?

              1. re: Kitchop

                I'm in Bensonhurst and I am in the city daily regardless so the 7 ride to either JH or Flushing is nothing. I also have to visit someone in Jamaica very very often (girlfriend.) It's not literally an every day thing, as I eat many meals in Chinatown, but it's probably 4-5 days a week. It also helps me finish books a lot faster than I otherwise would.

                I couldn't imagine associating "Park Slope" with the words "cheap" or "authentic" for a second. Park Slope is the cardinal opposite of any such thing. In a very unpleasant way.

                BTW, I would like some other people to give me their opinions of Deback Malick or the other Fulton Nigerian spots. I'm not familiar with Nigerian food and while their dishes tasted delicious, I don't know if they're particularly high quality. However, you can't argue with 6 dollars for two people (two whole fish, two large helpings of a rice-like grain and two vegetables.)

                I still don't see how a self-respecting lover of food could miss out on JH or Flushing though... Or one of the Elmhurst Thai spots.

        2. Pitu and PAL have made some nice suggestions above so I'll just add a Sunset Park transportation note. If you take the R and transfer to the N train at 36th St. you can take it 2 stops to 8th Ave. and 62nd St. Then walk north on 8th Ave. and you'll be in the heart of Sunset Park's Chinese and Vietnamese district. The alternative of staying on the R local train and getting off at a 4th Ave. stop (the R runs directly under 4th Ave.) means you'll have to walk 4 very long uphill blocks. If the weather is cold or rainy you might not want to do that.

          Subway map -

          Sunset Park recommendations -

          6 Replies
          1. re: Bob Martinez

            Good tip, Bob. Getting the express v local trains down makes a huge difference in quality of life around here!
   is invaluable for plotting transportation and
   has scrollable maps of some neighborhoods, including PS

            but I really came back to add
            good strong coffee, roasted locally, at Gorilla Coffee
            which is VERY close by on Fifth Ave @Baltic
            their baked good are nothing to write home about
            There's several really good patisseries nearby: Joyce, Trois Pommes, Chocolate Room
            And good cafe con leche at either Viejo Yayo or Gran Castillo

            Hong Kong Market (61st St and 8th Ave in Sunset Park) has a wonderful world of frozen buns, dumplings, and spring rolls, and a whole bunch of everything else you'd expect in an Asian grocer (butcher, fresh fish, produce) for cheap fabulous eating at home. You are also super close to the best conventional grocery nearby, Key Food on Fifth Ave.

            report back, and enjoy your stay!

            1. re: pitu

              close to park slope is christies for jamaican food on flatbush (very cheap) as well as kombit for haitian (not as cheap but reasonable.)

              1. re: oystersallday

                Don't think much of either Christies or Kombit. Better Jamaican food is at The Islands 803 Washington Avenue. Cheap but good food in a high rent area is probably not happening. Better to pay a little more and enjoy your food.

                1. re: soupcommie

                  Hey, The Islands is pretty cheap - only financially! Breast, back, drumstick and wing of jerk chicken, 10" bowl of gussied up rice, plantains, slaw - $10!! And full of flavor...Almost always stop in when I'm down from Boston.

                  1. re: fredid

                    It's good, but it's kind of expensive. Their jerk chicken is very bland, but everything else on the menu is pretty much spot on. Still though, nothing I would consider cheap. It usually comes to the high 20s for 2 people.

                  2. re: soupcommie

                    obviously islands is better for jamaican food but christies has decent beef patties and desserts. it is just further from the slope. as for kombit--my one experience was decent. what is your take?

            2. Walk up from park slope to carroll gardens (head up butler away from the park, take a left on smith st) and there are a few:

              1) Joe's Perrette (smith and 1st) for the rice balls and amazing proscuitto balls
              2) ferdinando's foccaceria (union btw hicks and columbia) for the panelle sandwich
              3) lucali's (henry btw. carroll and 1st) for very good pizza, tho not as good as difara's.

              1. You can get cheap eats in park slope and prospect heights easily:

                beast on vanderbilt for great tapas in huge portions
                wing wagon on flatbush - love the buffalo chicken wrap
                geido on flatbush for great sushi at really low prices
                song on 5th ave for the best thai I've had with nothing costing more than $8-9
                lighthouse tavern on 5th with their great bar menu at low prices
                little miss muffin on park place in prospect heights for the best beef/chicken patties I've ever had at only $2!
                Mitchells on Flatbush for sandwiches that'll last you two meals
                Burrito Bar on Flatbush offers many options under $10 and they're pretty good too

                plenty of options as you can see....