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Underground/ Hip/ Cheap dinner spots?

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Meeting two NYC friends for dinner tomorrow. They love trendy places like Mission Chinese and slow food restaurants. Any good similar restaurants? Also underground restaurants w/ unique experiences are a plus. However, we have a limited budget (less than $20 a person, the cheaper the better).

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  1. $20pp BEFORE tax and tip? Or after? Makes a big difference on such a low budget...

    1. Tacombi?
      get a taco or two and rice/beans, and a beer, prob about 20. I like their food, and its a pretty cool space.

      1. Ramen Misoya
        Katsuhama
        Mad for Chicken

        1. You're not going to find many trendy slow food places at that price, unfortunately. But here are some good ones that might meet one category or the other:

          Xi'an Famous Foods (the Bayard St location will be less crowded / has more seating than the St. Mark's location)
          Pok Pok Phat Thai
          Cocoron
          Spicy Village (fka Henan Flavor)
          Meatball Shop

          ...or grab a few tacos at the Tacos Morelos cart on 2nd & A, and take 'em to the bar across the street.

          You could theoretically do Mission for that price, since everything is served family-style. Wouldn't leave much budget for drinks, though.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sgordon

            Speaking of Morelos, it's going brick-and-mortar ... http://evgrieve.com/2013/06/on-east-9...

            1. re: squid kun

              Oh, I hope the cart stays up! I imagine it will, since the cart is 24/7 and a B&M probably couldn't be.

              Wondering if the B&M will have a more expansive menu, though... I'll definitely check it out. They have a B&M out in Queens, have to see what their menu is like, if it's much different.

            2. re: sgordon

              Not sure about hip, underground and cheap. So i'll stick to cheap.
              I 2nd Pok Pok Phat Thai, Meatball Shoppe,Ramen Misoya ( not really hip),
              Then I throw in Yokocho, Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches, Nam Peng, Yunnan Kitchen, Pig and Khao, Inoteca ( Ludlow),
              Taisho, Luke's Lobster Roll, Kuma Inn, Japadog, Cha'An, Motorino, Pala