St. Marks Yakitori
Until now I seem to have overlooked Yakitori as a cheap food option. I've strolled down St. Marks several times while on my way elsewhere (I find the street a bit irritating) and I have always noticed all the Yakitori places which all seem pretty busy. I'm willing to brave the crowds for good cheap food. Is one of these places universally considered the best? when looking at Menupages all I could find was Taishu so I couldn't make much of a comparison. While I like yakitori, I will eat pretty much anything so if there is any other kind of cheap japanese bar food that these places specialize in that'd be good to know too.
The menus at Yakitori Taisho and Oh! Taisho, the two main yakitori places, are essentially the same (same owner?) and you can find them online. These two are a haven for college kids looking for cheap beer & eats, especially during the end of the week, so the wait can get pretty long. Village Yokocho is a little less known, and while they don't specialize in yakitori, they do have a huge menu of much more varied cheap eats, with a few more Korean-inspired ones as well. It's also a lot less cramped and hectic (though no less popular) so it might be better to go there -- I personally prefer VY better for the atmosphere and food.
There's also a place called Zen on the south side of the street (the one with outdoor seating and the okonomiyaki griddle outside) that serves up some cheap bar food as well.
I am a huge fan of these Yakitori places, but have to admit they're all pretty much the same, at least to me. Village Yokocho is probably my favorite, but mostly because it's a little roomier and has a great bar in it. It's not on St Marks though, it's on 9th St above the around the clock cafe.