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How to eat cheaply without getting chased down the street?

I'll be visiting New York for the first time at the end of the month and am very excited about the food possibilities. I'm a big Food Network fan (esp. Top Chef and Iron Chef) and would really like to have the experience of tasting the type of food I've seen prepared on TV. I almost never eat out, and never at upscale places but I do a lot of cooking at home. Homemade bread won't impress me but sous-vide would be a total novelty.

The catch is I'll be travelling with my mom* and she has said that she thinks all this fancy food is a waste of time and money (my dad also likes these shows and has a tendency to do both because of it).

How can I get a taste of this type of cuisine in a way that will be inexpensive and worth it?

I'm willing to pay up to $100 total for both of us including tax and tip. The obvious thing is to go in and order an appetizer and a glass of water, but that seems kind of rude. Is there any way I can get this experience without being disrespectful?

*so that you don't get the wrong idea, I'm 26 and we live on opposite sides of the country

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  1. To explain the title my cousin tried this a couple of years ago and was chased down by an angry waiter and extorted out of a second tip.

    3 Replies
    1. re: TravellingCanuc

      forget food network, head to chinatown

      1. re: TravellingCanuc

        Lol, I thought the title was a reference to "dining and dashing," i.e. skipping out on the bill.

        1. re: redfish62

          0_0

          Good thing I explained. That interpretation hadn't even crossed my mind.

      2. I would recommend you go to Peter Luger's in Brooklyn for lunch and just get burgers. A little pricy for a burger at about $13.00, but might be the best you've ever had!

        http://burghfeeding.blogspot.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: Burghfeeder

          Second the burger @ PL...and make sure to order a side or two of onion rings. They're fantastic.

        2. seek out places with a bar, lounge or happy hour menu. or try going for lunch instead of dinner, if a place offers it.

          1. We went to Babbo a few years ago and our dinner for two with a bottle of wine was $150 before tip. It can be done easily, IMO. I just checked the menu and what we had are still there. We had an antipasti, a primi and a secondi. I'm not saying go to Babbo (too late for a res anyway) but you can do places like that within your budget. I'd search the Manhattan board for some of the oft-recommended places and then check their menus. BTW, our server was in no way miffed with us. Even comped us some prosecco to celebrate my husband's birthday. You're going to have a great time.

            2 Replies
            1. re: c oliver

              I'm math-impaired, but $150 for two before tip seems very different to me from $100 for two including tax and tip.

              1. re: Sneakeater

                My point was HOW to do it, not WHERE to do it. Just saying that we ate at a highly touted NYC restaurant and spent FAR less than many/most people do.

            2. Go to lunch at Jean-Georges! You won't be disappointed.

              1 Reply
              1. re: pikawicca

                Thanks for the suggestion, the menu looks great!