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: Lobster Place
Lobster Place

Photo: Nicole Braun

Soup

Caf Medina
Bypass the omelettes and panini on the lengthy menu at this Union Square eatery in favor of liquid fare that's much tastier than a bowl of chicken noodle. Sip from a rotating roster of five ethnic-inflected soups including African chicken peanut, Moroccan vegetable couscous, bouillabaisse and parsnip bisque ($5 for a medium). 9 E 17th St between Fifth Ave and Broadway (212-242-2777)

Lobster Place
This Maine-style seafood bar and market sells more than million pounds of its lobster every year, so you know the sweet Nova Scotian meat pureed into its decadent lobster bisque ($5 for a medium) is plenty fresh. It might not seem larger than a paltry serving at nearby soup chain Hale and Hearty, but a cup of the creamy soup is decadent enough to share. Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave between 15th and 16th Sts (212-255-5672)

Mott Pho Bang
Despite its harsh fluorescent lights and bustling Chinatown location, this Vietnamese joint is surprisingly enticing. Marble-topped tables and wicker chairs create a grand setting that's reminiscent of a Parisian caf. Luckily, for $5.50—little more than the price of a latte—you can slurp more than 15 varieties of steaming-hot pho, a soothing Vietnamese beef broth teeming with rice noodles, bean sprouts, fresh basil leaves, tender brisket and paper-thin slices of eye-of-round steak. Adventurous types can opt for silky tendon and chewy tripelike om0sa—a cow's third stomach. 157 Mott St between Broome and Grand Sts (212-966-3797 )—Helen Yun

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