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Apr 19, 2008 10:57 AM

Cheap and Tasty...

Hey all -

Im new here, just found out about this place and you're all awesome! Anyway, Im from Brooklyn (actually live on E 14th and J.. Walk by DiFaras everyday and laugh that its the only nonkosher place to go in the neighborhood...) and my boyfriend is coming in to visit - and hes cheaaap. Really cheap - so all you crazy Chow-ers out there, help me out. Im used to just using Smith St as my back up but I dont know if some of the prices there are gonna appeal to him and he eats alot. Like a linebacker - and I dont want to send his whole visit listening to whining about prices - so heres the thing. I need that pie in the sky, fanciful place that is at all times tasty, big portions and cheap. Help! It doesnt need to be in Brooklyn - anwhere is fine I know the city and the outerboroughs pretty well by car and subway and well, if not? Thats what google maps is for right?


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  1. rei309
    Welcome to ChowHound!
    NY has some of the most expensive... And some of the cheapest restaurants, in the country. You should start by figuring out what types of food your b/f enjoys. Probably the greatest concentration of 'Cheap and tasty' is to be found in Queens. As a very general rule, neighborhood, Asian and Mexican food tends to be less costly than, say, European food. Once you narrow the field a bit, You should get some great recs here.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Tay

      If he's a no nonsense football player type I'd recommend 2Toms but I'm not sure it's exactly dirt cheap - but the gigantic pork chops and steaks are ridiculously thick.

      If he's adventurous, Korean food is also not dirt cheap, but with all the free sides, you can eat a ton - although you have to like that kind of thing.

      Aunt Suzis in Park Slope is really cheap - but you get what you pay for. You're better off with a bottle of Ragu at home. :)

      Down the street you can have a good Thai meal at Song for a little more than song.

      Dim Sum in one of the Chinatowns is pretty darn affordable.

      Some places in Little Italy are more or less all you can eat family style, but not dirt cheap.

      Take him on a tour of NY's best street vendors - or maybe Subway? :)

      1. re: dark knight

        dk 's post reminded me that in terms of 'bang for the buck,' you cannot beat the, all-you-can-eat buffet's that are...Everywhere.
        A lot of Brooklyn and Staten Island Pizzaria's also serve very plentiful portions of decent traditional 'red sauce' Italian food.and many serve gigantic hero's.
        I reread your post. I'm not sure what you mean by 'fanciful' but the Smith St restos are not cheap, so if those are your back up places and you're ok with their cost, you'll have a very wide variety from which to choose.

    2. ok i think i need to clarify... thanks dk - 2toms is one of my favorite places for a porkchop, but i dont know if thats his thing - tay, smith st. is my backup... its def not going to be his. and trust me the ragu (well my own homemade thankyouverymuch!) idea has occured to me too, but id love to take the cheapskate out somewhere too - fanciful doesnt = ambiance, its more of a "i know this is a total shot in the dark" - anywhere else?

      1. If your boyfriend is open to authentic Vietnamese and Chinese food, I would venture south to the Ave U strip (the neighborhood is sort of in limbo between Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, and Midwood), which is not too far from where you live. There's a fantastic Vietnamese place called Pho Hoi on Ave U, between E. 19th Street and Ocean Ave. Personally, I think they're the top Vietnamese joint in all of NYC. The food is great, ingredients are fresh, and it's dirt cheap. Top pho in the city--hands down, the best beef broth. You can eat like a king for $10 bucks.

        A block up, on the same side of the avenue, between E. 18th and 19th St., is a hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant (the name escapes me) that serves good, authentic, and inexpensive Cantonese food. Amongst the local Chinese residents in the area (including my fam), they're known to carry the best Chinese roasted meats (the ones you see hanging in the windows) in all of Brooklyn. They're famous for their roast pork, roasted spare ribs, and crispy roasted pig (and if you're lucky, crispy roasted suckling pig). Also, if you see flattened roasted duck, try it. It's quite good and less fatty than their regular roasted duck--it's seasoned better, and the flattening technique renders more of the fat while roasting. Besides their roasted meats, inquire about their seafood specials, which you won't see on their Westernized menu (they'll be listed solely on the menus written in Chinese). Their steamed oysters on the half shell w/ black beans, ginger, & scallions is tasty, as are their clams (regular or razor) sauteed in a spicy black bean sauce. Their whole-fish dishes tend to be good, especially black fish if they have it, and their crispy skinned roasted chicken dishes (phonetically: ja-jee-guy) usually hit the spot (either the plain kind served with toasted salt & lemon wedges, or the ones served with a thin soy-based sauce with either roasted garlic or ginger & scallion). You'll get a lot of food for your buck here.

        If you'd like to revisit the Carroll Gardens area (not on Smith St, though) there's a great Italian spot called Fragole on Court Street (between 1st & Carroll) that's not too expensive and serves generous portions. Their pasta dishes are particularly good--my favorites are the pappardelle w/ short-rib ragu, rigatoni bolognese, and spaghetti w/ lamb & black olive ragu. Chances are, you won't leave hungry here.

        Hope this helps.

        4 Replies
        1. re: BklynBlaise

          Wonderfully descriptive recs!
          If you ever recall the name of the resto with the great roasted meats, please post.

          1. re: Tay

            As a matter of fact, Tay, I'm going to be schlepping out to the Vietnamese joint tomorrow, so I'll check on the name of the Chinese place for you.

            1. re: BklynBlaise

              The Chinese place is called East Ocean Seafood Restaurant (1818 Ave. U, between E. 18th & 19th St).

              1. re: BklynBlaise

                That was very thoughtful of you,
                Thanks so much. :-}

        2. Take him to Spicy and Tasty (szechuan) in Flushing, Queens, for their lunch special, it's mon-fri till 3pm sharp! For about $6, you have a great choice, big portions, and it comes with free app and soup, and you could order another appetizer from their incredible cold selections. The shrimp with spicy turnips or squid are fantastic, and their noodles in red chili sauce and sesame noodles are divine, and plenty to share for 2. You'll leave there stuffed for less than $20. Then you can walk around Flushing Chinatown and explore. If he isn't impressed with this, dump him!

          1. Ba Xuyen for the best Bahn Mi sandwiches in NY (and cheap). Take out only. Under $4
            Lan Zhou Hand Pull Noodles for broth, wonderful hand pulled noodles and choice of meats. Under $5
            Kai Feng Fu Chinese Dumplings 8/$2

            Ba Xuyen
            4222 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

            Wong Good Hand Pull Noodle
            5924 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

            Kai Feng Fu
            4801 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

            1 Reply
            1. re: bobjbkln

              I was just thinking Ba Xuyen. Definitely check it out. The sandwiches are incredible. I'm a huge fan of their spicy pork bahn mi.