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Best cheap eats in E.vill/U.Square area?

wanted to get a quick cheap bite at shake shack tomorrow night with a couple friends, but heard the rain might be coming our way, and dont want to risk getting stuck sitting outside in bad weather. so we're looking for an alternative spot - doesnt have tobe too similar at all (not looking just for burgers - im too loyal to the shack), and doesn't have to be quite shake shack prices, but wanted to keep in the cheap eats game. will be meeting right in u.square, so nearby is good, but we can walk a little. we all like just about every type of food i.e. ethnic is good, as long as there are some vegetable based options (one veggie in the group.)

any suggestions much appreciated!!

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  1. SEA (Thai)...2nd Avenue between 4th & 5th
    http://spicenyc.net/sea.html
    Momfuko Noodle Bar...1st Avenue between 10th & 11th
    Kabab Garden - 1st near St. Marks

    1 Reply
    1. re: kcijones001

      re: Kebab Garden--first time I ate there, about 6 months ago, it was pretty good. Had that authentic Turkish thing going on. But today--TOTALLY different story.

      The hummus--definitely instant. Not even canned--instant. It was powdery and so salty I couldn't eat it. The salads were stretched thin with finely chopped white onion. The chicken was tasteless, rubbery and dry. Rice was oily. The okra--from a can. Why can't they use cheap frozen stuff? Canned Okra? YUCK!! Tzatziki--which I'd hoped would be labneh--was probably canned as well. This was absolutely disgusting, revolting, inedible food--bottom of the barrel. STAY AWAY. Plus, they raised their prices to $6.99/lb.

    2. Ippudo for out-of-this-world Japanese ramen. 9th St. and 4th Ave.

      4 Replies
      1. re: librakitty

        2d Ippudo--went there on a rainy night recently, and it was very good.

        1. re: Lucia

          Although some people might argue that $13/bowl of ramen isn't really cheap eats per se....

          1. re: kathryn

            if i dont love ramen, i wouldnt like ippudo...fair assumption?

            1. re: sam1

              Pretty much. They have other stuff on the menu (lots of mediocre reviews for the appetizers), but are known for the ramen.

      2. Nice Japanese place called Ennju (not sure of the spelling) right off Broadway and 17th I believe.... pretty fast, cheap, and yummy food.... nice little crowd too. It's totally casual, basically a cafeteria.

        1. Artichoke Basille's Pizza on 14th St, cheap and yummy

          1 Reply
          1. re: misnatalie

            Problem is, their hours are inconsistent.

          2. Veselka on 2nd Avenue and 9th street. An array of options.

            1. The Hummus Place one St. Mark's between 1st Ave and Ave A is delicious. Very cute, cozy restaurant. www.thehummusplace.com
              Maoz Falafel is right at Union Square on the East Side. A take out place, but you can get cheap falafels and pile on your own toppings at the salad bar.
              I also agree with SEA Thai...it's definitely more trendy, not very "authentic", but the food and drinks are good and cheap.

              3 Replies
              1. re: nycknowitall

                I really like Little Poland (200 2nd Ave - Btwn 12th & 13th St ) great soups and perogis - I also recommend the combination platters.

                1. re: dmleo

                  I second Little Poland- teriffic little fried pierogies and blintzes.

                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/fudee

                   
                  1. re: FuDee

                    YUM, Little Poland. That's the best deal in town. The food is GREAT, very inexpensive for the area, and the portions are huge. Favorite dishes: bigos w/ dumplings, Hungarian potato pancakes (WOW), swedish meatballs with dill sauce, cold borscht, and of course the combination platter.

              2. Caracas Arepa Bar! (7th st btw 1st &A)
                Cheap and excellent. Probably not the healthiest but might be the tastiest. I'm vegetarian (not vegan) and always have what to order there without repeating the same thing over and over. No worries, there is enough meat as well.
                http://www.caracasarepabar.com/
                Notice that they have two locations right next to each other one for table service and one to-go.

                3 Replies
                1. re: daniagee

                  Second Caracas Arepa - that place is so good and so cheap! And great for non-meat-eaters, too - my co-worker is vegan and raves about the place.

                  1. re: daniagee

                    This place is very overrated. Plus if you eat more than very little, you will spend 20 bux there which ain't so cheap for that type of food.
                    It is not bad, it is just not a great set of arepas.
                    As other joints of this nature, overrated because there are few.
                    Go to South America and you will see they are much better. Best in Manhattan? Maybe, I don't know, doesn't mean they are great.
                    They aren't even 80% as good as a really good version.
                    Easy to make better yourself.
                    Well, I am sure they will continue to prosper.

                    http://foodonlymatters.wordpress.com/

                    1. re: foodonlygood

                      I must say I agree about Caracas-overrated and not that cheap if you have a reasonable appetite

                  2. My sister found a place on St. Mark's place that sells $1 pizza slices. I think the place is called Two Brothers or something with Brothers in the name. For a starving NYU student, I don't think it gets cheaper than that. :) For ethnic cuisine, Mamoun's also a place on St. Mark's and sells falafels for $2.50.

                    1. Grey Dog Coffee (University and 13th) has pretty standard sandwiches, the food is good, not incredible, but the place itself is very cute.

                      Spice (University and 10th) is very cheap Thai, super-sweet and addictive Thai iced tea and good food.

                      Azuki (Park Ave and 20th) really good sushi, reasonable prices, and if you spend 15 dollars a head on food you get unlimited white wine or sake. Great way to start the night!

                      East village is full of great food and deals but for the really good stuff you're going to have to walk at least to 1st ave...