Cheap eats for every occasion
Thu Jul 10 2008
At this French-Italian spot, a lowly $7 buys chickpea fries with a fava and white-bean puree. 630 Ninth Ave between 44th and 45th Sts (212-956-1800)
Tightly packed two-tops fill this slim Austro-Hungarian eatery. Go for shareable fare like house-made bratwurst with juniper-scented sauerkraut ($8) and soft, salted pretzels, presented with sharp Liptauer cheese ($3). 79 Orchard St between Broome and Grand Sts (212-219-9545)
Nothing on the extensive Vietnamese menu tops $12, and the healthy contingent of six-buck plates—shrimp-and-pork-belly summer rolls, eggy turmeric rice cakes topped with diced pork—means that you can impress your honey by ordering like a Rockefeller. 143 Grand St between Crosby and Lafayette Sts (212-431-7999)—Jordana Rothman
Borough-bound romantics can channel Manhattan style at this sleek Jackson Heights eatery. Seriously firey food includes a green-curry fried rice ($8) and red snapper doused in garlic and black pepper. 72-19 Roosevelt Ave between 72nd and 73rd Sts, Jackson Hts, Queens (718-803-9001)
This serene eatery is an under-the-radar cheap eats haven (until now, anyway). Bring a date to the brick-walled nook for Japanese small plates (few top $10) like sizzling grilled whole squid doused in soy sauce. 647 E 11th St between Aves B and C (212-777-1582). Cash only.
Ah, SEA, that old skinflint stalwart. Haul your fling out to Billyburg for reliable Thai eats like pad Thai and massaman curry (both $9) in the eatery’s space-agey environs. 114 North 6th St between Berry and Wythe Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-8850)
This cozy Greenwich Village rathskeller offers Mediterranean small plates—grilled housemade merguez with couscous, labna and harissa ($8.50), fried goat cheese balanced with sticky lavender honey ($7.50)—ideal for a grazing rendezvous. 64 W 10th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-505-7777)
The homey aromas of red-sauce Italian should offer all the ambiance you need. Rustic pasta dishes such as the Pugliese, tossed with broccoli rabe and spicy Italian sausage or Ortolana, a ricotta-topped plate of wholewheat pasta with vegetables, garlic and olive oil, weigh in under $10. 1274 Amsterdam Ave at 123rd St (212-531-2221). Cash only.
We’re not bold enough to dive into a messy burger on a date, but we’d never underestimate our readers. If you’re going glutton, do it in style at candlelit Zaitzeff, where tidy grass-fed sirloin patties are tucked into Portugese muffins ($8.25). Fries are extra, but voluminous portions of the handcut sweet potato spears are worth the addition $4.75. 18 Ave B between 2nd and 3rd Sts (212-477-7137)
The menu is basic, but wonderfully executed at this colorful caf from Jimmy’s No. 43 owner Jimmy Carbone. Puglian eats include tuna bruschetta with hard-boiled eggs and capers ($8.50) and a mortadella and fontina panino ($8). The recently acquired wine list also list some budget by-the-glass gems. 1 Dominick St between Sixth Ave and Varick St (212-647-0202, ext 308)