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Hole-in-wall finds

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I'm hunting for hole-in-the-wall finds for cheap eats in any borough (well, don't know how often we'll want to hit Staten island, but if it's great and cheap...). We know where to go to pay a lot, but cheap is good.
When I moved to NYC the first time, I had a book about everything on the cheap--restaurants, clothes, pans, whatever. It was great. There seems to be no such thing anymore, is there?

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  1. Which borough/area are you in? What's your budget
    (what's the range before tax and tip) and are you looking for places accessible by car or subway?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pookipichu

      We're in upper Manhattan. No car--hate them. $25 for 2 before tax & tip, but I'm usually happy enough with an appetizer to squeeze the belt (ha-in both senses.

      1. re: palomalou

        Some to start you off:

        Souk el Shater (Lebanese) - Delicious Middle-Eastern food, made fresh and served with a smile. There is very little seating, imagine a counter in a cramped deli. The lamb shawarma is juicy and very good. It's an excellent value.

        7 train to 40th St.

        Nixtamal (Mexican) - Homemade tortillas and masa are the star at this restaurant. The guacamole is a superb value compared to the ridiculous prices in Manhattan. The chef has daily specials that are often excellent. The taco el pastor is a must. Can get very crowded/busy and the hours can be random.

        7 train to 103rd St.

        Biang (Chinese) - The grilled chicken wing is delicious, as is the Biang Biang hand pulled noodles. The lamb dumplings in soup are hearty and delicious.

        White Bear (Chinese) - Wontons and dumplings at this very small restaurant are made daily. The red oil wontons are the star. Seating is limited.

        Fu Run (Chinese) - Lamb chops are a must, superb, very hearty portion and a very good value.

        Nan Xiang (Chinese) - Soup dumplings are the reason people flock to this restaurant. Their other dumplings are excellent as well, especially recommend the pan-fried pork buns.

        7 train to Main Street Flushing

    2. Oh, Pookipichu, thanks so much! we can hardly wait to try them!

      1. Take the R train to 63rd Drive (Rego Park) and go to Ben's Best. One of the few remaining KOSHER delis. Get the pastrami on rye...$12.75....comes with delicious cole slaw and pickles. Your dining companion should order the potato pancakes (3) with applesauce... $11.95. Trade 1/2 of your sandwich (don't worry...they are hefty) for some of the potato pancakes and applesauce. Mmmmmm.....

        3 Replies
        1. re: Anne

          Three potato pancakes for $11.95?

          Kinda pricey, no?

          1. re: Bob Martinez

            I say get the kreplach instead of the potato pancakes.

            1. re: Bob Martinez

              they're the hubcap style that some folks prefer, so pound for pound, not a bad deal. I just never cared very much for the extremely thick, size-matters kind served here.

              the pastrami, on the other hand, is some of the best I've had in nyc. and the chopped liver and derma both have magical properties.