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Is there an inexpensive foodie experience in NYC?


mlutzmann
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I'm coming to NYC with my wife and friends who do not share my value opinion of paying for great food. I would have us at Per Se but they will not be moved.

Is there anything out there at the moment that delivers the experience I'm looking for for a price that my companions will accept?

I have already gleaned the eG Forum for dumplings at Dumpling House and Italian at Celeste. Anything else I can fill my aching heart (pining for Ducasse and Per Se) with during our four night stay.

Thanks in advance from Stratford, Ontario.

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Oh my gosh. NY abounds with cheap foodie options. I'll leave it to the denizens to share their particulars, but a trip to Katz's is a must whenever I'm in town, and it's inexpensive.

"Inexpensive" is relative, but I'd also bet that you can get one of the best cocktails on earth at a number of places (Death & Co., PDT, Pegu Club, etc. etc.) for just a bit more than you'd pay for crappy drinks at most bars in Stratford.

Chris Amirault

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Chris beat me to the exact reply I was planning. Do what he said. Also add Chinatown dim sum to that list, or coffee and pastries at Payard for an inexpensive but high level treat.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Weekday lunch at Jean Georges -- one of the best restaurants in the country -- is cheaper than dinner at plenty of mediocre restaurants. To me it's the ultimate foodie bargain in New York City.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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So far all very good recommendations, but you have to know what you're in for and set expectations accordingly. A "foodie experience" can mean many things. From walking around the Greenmarket to Chinatown to Michelin-starred dining, all have their merits.

If your family doesn't "get" food, I might actually advise against Katz's. For every person I've taken there who has loved it, I have another who was near outraged at paying $17+ for a sandwich. Even to me, Katz's is not cheap, but it is still clearly worth a visit.

If lunch is an option, JG, the main dining room, is absolutely going to be your best bet. You might also check out the $50 tasting menu at Degustation, though the counter seating could be an issue if your family is large. The small plate features at the likes of DFF, Tabla, and Anthos are also worth checking for haute-ish food on the cheap.

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I know this might sound strange, but at least in my family there is no stigma against spending some time alone. If your heart is set on Per Se and you know that your family won't enjoy it, perhaps one compromise is to spend one evening on your own at Per Se, and let your family eat elsewhere that night.

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I'm coming to NYC with my wife and friends who do not share my value opinion of paying for great food.  I would have us at Per Se but they will not be moved.

Is there anything out there at the moment that delivers the experience I'm looking for for a price that my companions will accept?

I have already gleaned the eG Forum for dumplings at Dumpling House and Italian at Celeste.  Anything else I can fill my aching heart (pining for Ducasse and Per Se) with during our four night stay.

Thanks in advance from Stratford, Ontario.

The short answer has been given to you:

There are loads of good restaurants that are inexpensive to moderate in New York.

But the crucial point is: What price will your companions accept? Answer that, and we'll be able to give you more useful help. I think Emily also gives you a good suggestion that might work, depending on what your relationship with your wife and friends is like.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Thank you all for your information. We had a get-together last night and the concensus around the table seemed to be in the $50 per head range. I've seen the $35 prix fixe at JG's down-market spots. Any suggestion as to which on of them to try?

Lunch at JG about 3 years ago is one of the few meals that literally brought tears of joy. At that time, I skipped the prix fixe and spent $135 for my wife and I.

One of the recurring themes from my group (small - just 4 of us) was 'street food'. While I'm more than happy to try it, I don't know where to start with that one.

I thought about Emily's suggestion of eating alone but alas, I am one of the poor souls who revels in dragging others into my gastro heaven. Not to worry, my therapist says that someday I will be comfortable with my own company.

Cheers to all. NYC on Friday! Just two more sleeps!

Michael

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I would add Ippudo Ramen to that list, it definitely is a foodie experience and I have never taken anyone there who failed to love the place. There will likely be a wait to be seated, but for some apps, ramen and alcohol, maybe even dessert and you should fall in under $50/pp. Of course for just the ramen itself you can clock in at $20.

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Thank you all for your information.  We had a get-together last night and the concensus around the table seemed to be in the $50 per head range.  I've seen the $35 prix fixe at JG's down-market spots.  Any suggestion as to which on of them to try?

Lunch at JG about 3 years ago is one of the few meals that literally brought tears of joy.  At that time, I skipped the prix fixe and spent $135 for my wife and I.

One of the recurring themes from my group (small - just 4 of us) was 'street food'.  While I'm more than happy to try it, I don't know where to start with that one.

I thought about Emily's suggestion of eating alone but alas, I am one of the poor souls who revels in dragging others into my gastro heaven.  Not to worry, my therapist says that someday I will be comfortable with my own company.

Cheers to all.  NYC on Friday!  Just two more sleeps!

Michael

There are lots of Italian restaurants that fit within your range, including Lupa, particularly if they wouldn't mind actually paying a bit more, including tax and tip. Babbo would be too expensive, but some upscale places have "Cucina Povera" menus for $35/person or so. Hearth does, and I believe Insieme? You might be able to work an angle this way: They can have Cucina Povera and you can get a much more expensive a la carte meal.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I would add Ippudo Ramen to that list, it definitely is a foodie experience and I have never taken anyone there who failed to love the place.  There will likely be a wait to be seated, but for some apps, ramen and alcohol, maybe even dessert and you should fall in under $50/pp.  Of course for just the ramen itself you can clock in at $20.

Just a warning if you plan to go to Ippudo. The wait, in my experience, can jump to about 45 minutes after about 7:30ish until 10:00 or so, so plan ahead.

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

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The New York Times has some suggestions about cheap eats. Suggestions include:

Anthos, 36 West 52nd Street. (212) 582-6900.

Black Iron Burger, 540 East Fifth Street. (212) 677-6067.

Café Boulud, 20 East 76th Street. (212) 772-2600.

Congee Bowery, 207 Bowery. (212) 766-2828.

Dhaba, 108 Lexington Avenue. (212) 679-1284.

Gazala Place, 709 Ninth Avenue. (212) 245-0709.

Great New York Noodletown, 28 Bowery. (212) 349-0923.

Lassi, 28 Greenwich Avenue. (212) 675-2688.

Matsugen, 241 Church Street. (212) 925-0202.

Nam Son, 245 Grand Street. (212) 966-6507.

Spicy & Tasty, 39-07 Prince St. at 39th St., Flushing.

Sripraphai, 64-13 39th Avenue, Woodside. (718) 899-9599.

Sushi Yasuda, 204 East 43rd Street. (212) 972-1001.

Taïm, 222 Waverly Place. (212) 691-1287.

Wilfie & Nell, 228 West 4th Street. (212) 242-2990.

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I can't help but notice Anthos on that list. It is in no sense a "cheap eat." The cheaper sister restaurant of Anthos is Kefi. And even Kefi, while a great value, is not quite cheap, as far as I'm concerned, since it's around $30/person for dinner, plus tip.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I can't help but notice Anthos on that list. It is in no sense a "cheap eat." The cheaper sister restaurant of Anthos is Kefi. And even Kefi, while a great value, is not quite cheap, as far as I'm concerned, since it's around $30/person for dinner, plus tip.

If you read the article, Anthos supposedly has a $24 prix fixe. Whether that be at lunch or dinner, I do not know. (I just looked at the website--it's now $28 and it's for lunch.)

For some people, $30 per person is cheap, or at least inexpensive, especially when comparing it to Per Se.

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I didn't read the article; I went to Anthos for lunch and had the prix fixe, with a $5 supplement for the hake:

My meal report

The meal cost more than lunch at Jean Georges and was a poor value.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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