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Staying in Park Slope- NYC for cheap (adventurous) midwesterners

My husband and I are coming to New York for five days around NYE and need some dining suggestions. We are staying in Park Slope near 5th & Union. I have been several times over the past few years but this will be my husband's first time in the city.

We are broke graduate students, so we'd like to experience the food scene as much as possible, but keep things pretty casual. We have a couple of weekdays in our itinerary, so we'd love suggestions for a couple of higher-end restaurants we can try during lunch (when we can be cheap without being hated on). We're not big drinkers, and my husband is a military man/science nerd (read: not impressed by the trendy/hipster scene).

We will probably stick around Brooklyn some of the time and will definitely be in Manhattan one or two days. Here are a few things we'd enjoy to spur ideas:

-bagels
-sushi
-hot dogs
-thai
-seafood
-Jewish Deli
-Asian Noodles
-general breakfast & lunch spots

Thanks!

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  1. al di la is near to where you'll be staying and is worth checking out especially for a nicer lunch (its not cheap but far from high end, the lunch thing is mostly a function of it being much easier to get into - its not hip really either, its been around a long time, just very very well done).

    for hot dogs id definitely check out Bark on bergen. my tip is to get the all beef upgrade (its not super obvious on the menu board but i enjoy them more).

    1. How cheap is cheap for you? When I was in grad school, $20 on a meal was a lot.

      Bagels are always cheap, but finding good bagels is a different matter. There are plenty of threads you can search on the boards about bagels.

      Good sushi is never cheap. Cheap sushi is never worth it for me. That said, Hibino is very good and reasonable in my view.

      For deli, try Mile End, though the sandwiches are a bit pricey. Its Montreal style Jewish deli.

      For Thai, head to queens.

      Brooklyn Fish Camp for seafood.

      For noodles, go to Ganso and try their ramen. Its not the best in the city but its pretty good. Much better ramen in Manhattan.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bkeats

        I'd say we're happy to spend $50-60 for a meal for the two of us. Will possibly also do one splurge meal ($200). Would also like to throw in a few cheap casual meals (hot dogs, tacos, sandwiches) to balance it out.

        1. re: lemonseleven

          For hot dogs you can go out to Coney Island for Nathans though it will be cold and I am personally not that enamoured with Nathans as I didn't grow up with it. Many fans in Brooklyn but I think a healthy helping of nostalgia is a key ingredient. You could go gourmet dogs with Japadog on the lower east side.

          I'm not the best person to speak about tacos in Brooklyn but Calexico is solid.

          Lots of people like Defontes for sandwiches.

          $200 for a splurge meal is ok if you are not drinking but cuts out the high end places if $200 is meant to cover dinner, tax and tip. Battersby and Prime Meats come to mind.

          1. re: lemonseleven

            Im still not getting a good idea of what you are looking for - eating reccomendations convenient to your homebase worthwhile specifically related food excursions or what. Many of the recommendations given so far are in different neighborhoods of Brooklyn or even Queens and wouldnt meet a convenience criteria.
            Here are a few observations and recommendations
            -NY is not really a hotdog town. try a street dirty water dog while you are perambulating - shakeshack makes a chicago style dog but why stand in line for that in NY? Ive not been to Bark (expensive for what it is, it seems to me, so cant comment beyond that)
            -famdoc made a recc for a worthy sushi place below - there are others in Park Slope area - search sushi Park Slope and you will find them.
            -some good mideastern places for cheap eats, we like Mr Felafel on 7th - they have good kefta, soup and other dishes as well as felafel, Kulushkat on Dean nr Barclays Center - excellent sephardic israeli tastes (takeout or perch on a stool)
            -Surfish Bistro on 5th - chef is peruvian, seafood and meat, nice for lunch or dinner small plates and larger dishes,(I dont have any seafood specific reccs in neighborhood but this guy has a good hand)
            Al Di La - Italian Italian, not Italian American, if you know what I mean - very delicious and not pricy for what it is.
            -no outstanding Jewish deli food in Park Slope - need to travel elsewhere for this
            -Runner+Stone on 3rd near President has very nice breakfast pastries and breads and serves all day - would be worth a try for a breakfast or lunch
            -no outstanding Thai in Brooklyn (if you are from chicago you have much better there) you will have better luck in queens or Manhattan - search and you will find
            -Asian noodles - not sure what you mean - there are some fusiony places in Manhattan that style themselves this way - your best bet is to catch the train to chinatown in sunset park or Manhattan for noodles. There are a couple of ramen places in Park Slope - Zuzu on 4th and Naruto on 5th but Ive not been to either so cant comment.
            -there are several BBQ places in Park Slope area - a couple very near you - if you like that - do a search for BBQ on this Board and you will find some.
            -Pizza is a Brooklyn cheap eats mainstay - in addition to famdocs reccs which are not all that convenient there are several othr places which feature whole pies (neapolitan style individual, coal or wood over) rather than the NY slices. which tend to be industrial. If you are interested in pizza, post again and I am sure you will get many reccs.
            -breakfast, in addition to Runner+Stone there is a oldline doughnot shop on 7th Ave nr 9th (near the F station)that is a neighborhood diner fave - someone was just raving to me about their corn muffins yesterday (havent sampled),

        2. You'd get more bang for your buck in Queens.

          Sushi - Takesushi
          Thai - Sripraphai
          Seafood - London Lennie's
          Jewish Deli - Ben's Best
          Asian noodles - Biang, Golden Mall
          Lunch - Hunan Kitchen, Jade Asian
          Breakfast - Nan Xiang
          Tacos - Tortilleria Nixtamal

          In Brooklyn:

          Hot dogs - +1 to Bark
          Breakfast - Egg
          Seafood - Oyster happy hour at Blue Ribbon

          6 Replies
          1. re: Pookipichu

            It depends on how they value their time - its easily an hour to any/all of the places on your list, each way. Im all about encouraging visitors to use the subway (its amazing, really, and the defining feature of NYC life, for the most part) but a 2 hour trip (though i guess some of it would be above ground at least) to save 5 bucks is not what i consider a value proposition.

            1. re: tex.s.toast

              I agree with you, it's a schlep from Park Slope... a real schlep. But I wanted to provide some info for the visitor, if not for this visit, maybe the next. Brooklyn is cool but Queens food is often a better value.

            2. re: Pookipichu

              In Queens for Thai I would go for Ayada, Chao Thai or Nusara... if you want a nice steak dinner try La Fusta, an Argentine place. You are staying near the R train on so that does go to Queens.. need to change to the 7 for some of these restos.

              1. re: chasamark

                The R train from where they are staying does NOT run to queens at present - the Montague street tunnel sustained damage in Hurricane Sandy, so at times the R runs in two sections one in manhattan and queens, one in brooklyn. (other times it runs over the manhattan bridge like an N train - do not assume from looking at a map that it will take you where you want to go)

                1. re: chasamark

                  I love Sripraphai because it's bigger and easier to get seated and their wonderful Thai desserts. I usually need to wait longer to be seated at Ayada. I love La Fusta and agree it's a good value. The owner will chastise you for calling it Argentine though :) it's Uruguayan.

                2. re: Pookipichu

                  I've never been to Queens- maybe we can fit a visit into our agenda

                3. I agree with the Al di La suggestion. With the passage of years and the dozens of new restaurants that have opened in Park Slope, Al di La remains, in my mind, the highlight of Park Slope dining.

                  A new sushi place, Katsuei, has recently opened in Park Slope. I, and others, have written about it elsewhere on Chowhound's Brooklyn board. A splurge on their omakase menu will delight you.

                  There's a Chinatown minutes away from Park Slope, in Sunset Park. You'll find much written about it on these boards, but I suggest dim sum on weekends at South Harbor and dinner at Lucky Eights. There are also food carts, a food mall and lots of small places featuring cuisine of lesser-known regions of China. Search here (and eatingintranslation.com, for example) for suggestions.

                  Come to Brooklyn and not have pizza? Shame on you.
                  Paulie Gee's, in Greenpoint, is my favorite, but don't forget a slice or two at Di Fara's, a coal-fired pie at Totonno's or a square pie at L&B Spumoni Gardens.

                  Walking distance from Park Slope is a very fine French-Caribbean place called Kaz An Nou. The food is wonderful and the prices well within your budget. Plus, it's BYO.

                  Hope that's somewhat helpful.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: famdoc

                    We love dim sum! We don't really have a free weekend day on our docket though, as we are there Tuesday-Saturday. Will definitively head to ChinaTown though! I don't know how I forgot pizza....

                  2. Hi folks. Here are some economical and reasonably convenient ideas.

                    Ba Xuyen / Great Taste Dumpling.
                    4222 8th Avenue / 4317 8th Avenue

                    Ba Xuyen sells the what are widely considered to be the best banh mi sandwiches in the city. Get the grilled pork. $5 each. (It closes at 6:00 PM - keep that in mind.) Just down the street is Great Taste Dumpling. 5 for $1. Plump and tasty.

                    From Union St. take the R train towards Bay Ridge and change to the D at 36th St. Take it 1 stop and get off at 39th St. Travel time - 20 - 25 minutes.

                    Nha Trang Palace
                    5908 8th Avenue (at 59th St.)

                    Good Vietnamese. Stick with the pho (the Tai is a favorite of mine - combination rice noodle beef soup with fresh eye of round). Also recommended - Beef with vegetable salad and peanuts, Three flavored grilled beef with lettuce on rice vermicelli, and Grilled beef sesame seasoned on tiny rice stick with lettuce, cucumber and mint leaves.

                    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7102/72...

                    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7100/72...

                    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7230/72...

                    From Union St. take the R heading towards Bay Ridge to 36th St. Change to the N. Take it to 8th Ave. Travel time - 25 - 30 minutes.

                    And finally, David's Brisket House.
                    533 Nostrand Ave
                    (between Herkimer Pl & Fulton St)

                    An old Jewish deli now being run by Muslims who kept everything the same. Ridiculously good pastrami sandwiches and ridiculously low prices. (Yes, they have other stuff. Get the pastrami.) For once Yelp gets it right -
                    http://www.yelp.com/biz/davids-briske...

                    http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8179/79...

                    http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5301/55...

                    From Union St. take the R towards Manhattan. Get off at Jay/St/. Metrotech and switch to the Brooklyn bound. C or A. Get off at Nostrand Ave. Travel time - 25 minutes.

                    Added bonus - you get to tell people you went to Bed -Stuy.

                    I've got a few more for you. I'll post them in a few days.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                      A few other spots for you.

                      Bonnies Grill
                      278 5th Ave (at Garfield)

                      Good burgers, terrific chicken wings. True buffalo style - not saucy but very well spiced and juicy. Get the medium heat ones - they're plenty hot.

                      Bar Toto
                      6th Ave at 11th At.

                      A very pleasant bistro with excellent paninis. Their panini burger is excellent and their sopressata panini is especially good. For starters I recommend you split one of their their grilled pizzas. The one with pepperoni and arugula is especially good.

                      Milan's
                      710 5th Ave at 22nd St.

                      A Slovakian place. They sell a variety of dishes but the one thing that's an absolute standout is the pork goulash. It's perfectly tender and the gravy is rich and velvety. Perfect for a cold winter night.

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6966...

                      This place is a bit of a hike if you're walking from Union St. You may want to take the R train to 25th St. and walk up to 5th Ave.

                      On a sunny day a walk down 5th Ave. in the afternoon is a lot of fun. The street life is tremendous and there are lots of little stores to poke your head into. The type that sell weird and funny stuff, especially as you get past 9th St. On your walk you might want to stop off for an old fashioned NY street slice of pizza. Luigi's is one of the best. Old Brooklyn all the way and very good. 686 5th Ave, (between 20th St & 21st St)

                      You can't eat all the time - sometimes you want to drink. For a quiet drink near where you're staying I recommend High Dive., 243 5th Ave at Carroll. Unassuming and pleasant with a non jerky crowd. (It's Park Slope - you can't take that for granted.

                      )

                      Farther afield, one of the best beer bars in NYC is in walking distance - Pacific Standard. I started going to this place in 2009 and it's still outstanding. Lots of info here.

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6053...

                      Enjoy Brooklyn.

                      1. re: Bob Martinez

                        One last thing. I love Queens - it's a great place with lots to see and great food. That said, if you're staying in Park Slope it will take you 90 minutes on the subway to get there. Each way. To me that might place a little damper on the day.

                        If you find some of these Queens destinations appealing I suggest that you come back another time and stay in Queens. That way you can spend more of your time eating and exploring and less time sitting in subway cars riding through tunnels.

                        Just a suggestion.

                    2. My suggestions are limited to just the Park Slope neighborhood.

                      Bagels
                      1. Bagel Hole on 7th Ave -- best limited to take-out only as there's no seating.
                      2. Bagel Pub if you're looking for seating. Bagel Pub's bagels are fluffier than Bagel Hole. I prefer Bagel Hole but I find that it's a matter of personal preference.

                      Asian noodles -- there are lots of options in the Chinatowns of Brooklyn and Manhattan. But if you want to stay in the neighborhood
                      1. Talde -- wonton noodle soup and lobster tom kha gai. A bit more on the expensive side ($12 and $15) but can be done on your budget if you share an appetizer and limit drinks. I also like their breakfast ramen only served during brunch.
                      2. Dumplings and Things. Never had their noodle soups, only their baos.

                      General breakfast and lunch spots
                      1. Du Jour Bakery on 5th Ave for their pastries and desserts. I've never had their savory stuff though. Cute comfortable place to hang out.
                      2. Zito's for their sandwiches. My favorite is eggplant parm. They now have only one location -- 5th Ave.
                      3. Meltkraft for grilled cheese sandwiches.

                      1. Sorry but you have to leave Brooklyn for the best deli. Katz's on Houston Street. Katz's also has the best NY hotdog. Hot dog- Nathan's in Coney Island. Uzbekistan food, great at lunch, long waits at dinner, called Nargis on Coney Island Avenue. That's a start. Chow mentioned Geido for a sushi in Park Slope.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: shayneraze

                          I actually have been to Katz's Deli- was a great meal!

                        2. Bob's suggestions are great.

                          If you want bagels, you must go to Bagel Hole. Among the best in all of New York, and bagels are increasingly difficult to find. Accept no substitute.

                          I advise against DiFara's, much as I love it. Unless you're on a pizza pilgrimage, it's just too much time to spend, and too frustrating, for a slice. I also recommend a search on the board for pizza to see all the Bklyn greats, but will put in a word for Sam's on Court St, fairly convenient to your hotel. It doesn't get all the Chowhound love, but it's really good, classic, and the place has a true old Brooklyn vibe. Court St. has great Italian bakeries and salumeria as well.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Amy Mintzer

                            Re: DiFara's

                            The wait, at off hours, is rarely more than twenty minutes. And, during those twenty minutes, the opportunity to watch Dominic make pizza is worth the wait. Just my opinion. Wouldn't go on Saturday at noon.

                            1. re: famdoc

                              I love DiFara's and think it's a great recommendation, but the wait times might vary greatly. I was there early evening on a Wednesday in September and my wait was over 2 hours from when I ordered to getting my large square pie. The shortest wait time I've had is 1 hour and 15 minutes to get a large square pie and I was third in line before they opened. Maybe slices are faster?

                            2. re: Amy Mintzer

                              I grew up in Park Slope and my first stop when I am home is always Bagel Hole. The bagels are so good. They are exactly what a bagel should be. Ask what's warm.

                              If you find yourself in Bay Ridge for any reason, Jean Danet's eclairs are also a must stop for me (5th Ave and 76th st)

                            3. hot dogs: Nathan's on Surf Ave in Coney Island. The original, plus they got frogs legs, fried clams and crinkle cut fries that taste great smothered in cheese. While you're out there, hit Totonno's for brick oven pizza.

                              thai: Zabb Elee in Manhattan

                              Asian Noodles: Xian. Multiple locations in Manhattan.

                              lunch spots: Hanco's for banh mi.

                              1. Yunnan Flavour Garden, in Sunset Park (Brooklyn neighborhood south of Park Slope). Not walking distance, but not far on the R train. Excellent noodles.