The basics

Pizza, burgers, dogs, soups, salads and sandwiches-we pick the best of the old standbys (with street eats, too).



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Cheap Eats 2007: Pork ball sandwich at Open the Sesame
Pork ball sandwich at Open the Sesame

Photo: Nicole Braun


El Toro Partido
The phone rings constantly for delivery at this Mexican place in Harlem. We understand why. A football-size torta (sandwich) costs a measly $6. Try the al pastor: spicy ground pork served on a Bollio bread roll layered with black beans, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, creamy fresh avocado, mozzarella-like quesillo cheese and half an eye-popping pickled jalapeo. 3431 Broadway between 139th and 140th Sts (212-281-1587)

Open the Sesame
In a neighborhood where it is hard to come a cheap quality bite, this Thai spot has stepped up. Our favorite of the four $6.25 sandwiches offered is the ciabatta bread stuffed with cilantro-and-garlic-infused pork meatballs, fresh lettuce, pickled carrots, more cilantro and a drizzle of spicy-sweet Thai chili sauce. 198A Orchard St between E Houston and Stanton Sts (212-777-7009)

Despite a recent renovation, you can still get two meals out of one cheap sandwich at this 37-year-old Caribbean-soul takeout joint. No matter the time of day, customers queue patiently out the door for eats like a slab of meat loaf ($4.50) or three pieces of juicy chicken ($4.50) smothered in thick gravy, served on two slices of simple white bread. 141-22 Rockaway Blvd between 141st and 142nd Sts, South Ozone Park, Queens (718-529-3576)

Silent H
There are plenty of Chinatown dives where you can get a banh mi for pennies, but this gourmet Billyburg spot has added a few twists to the Vietnamese staple without gouging you for the favor. For $6, you get the Classic Special: thin-sliced rounds of white salami and a layer of homemade pork pt topped with julienned daikon and carrots, fresh cilantro, sliced jalapeo and a fiery aioli. 79 Berry St at North 9th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-218-7063)—Pervaiz Shallwahi

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