Master pizzaiolo Giulio Adriani, the man who kicked off the city’s current fried-pizza craze at his Williamsburg joint Forcella, devotes his latest venture to the wildly popular dish. Sample pies ($6–$12) in varieties such as mushroom or pepperoni, or spring for the three-course special ($11). The deal includes an appetizer (a cheesy arancino); Adriani’s signature montanara pie, topped with pools of milky mozzarella, tangy tomato sauce and sprigs of basil; and a Nutella-based dessert. • (lamontanarapizza.com)
You’ll have to queue for a table at the Red Hook offshoot of chef Andy Ricker’s Portland, Oregon, hot spot. But for the city’s most studied northeastern Thai food, it’s worth the wait. And even better, most of the dishes on the extensive menu come in at $16 or less. We love the khanom jiin naam ngiew (described as “hard to say but easy to eat,” $14), a savory broth floating with hulking portions of vermicelli, tender short ribs and minced beef, plus pickled mustard greens from the condiment plate.
Owner (and Virginia transplant) Keedick Coulter mined family recipes for his menu, offering hearty, inexpensive comfort food like a seared boneless pork-chop sandwich ($9.50) and—our favorite—the exceptional three-piece fried-chicken meal ($11.50), served with a flaky buttermilk biscuit. The birds are brined in house-made sweet tea (which you’ll also find at a self-serve beverage station) to lock in moisture before breading and frying, and it works: The meat is so tender it slides from the bone. Swing by during happy hour (daily 3–7pm) for $1 fried bread-and-butter pickles, served piping hot in a jacket of flour breading.
Chef Sam Richman (formerly of London’s Fat Duck and Jean Georges) serves a number of inexpensive options at this Dumbo newcomer, combining traditional Mexican techniques with top-notch, sustainable ingredients. There are plenty of small, shareable plates on the menu, including tacos ($6–$7) stuffed with fillings like fish, tongue and braised peppers. Or line your stomach with the torta ahogada ($11), a pork sandwich served in a pool of spicy chili sauce that’s so deliberately sloppy it comes with a rubber glove.
White marble tables and brass fixtures echo nearby Euro eateries like Balthazar (not surprising, since the owners met while working there). But this new Nolita gem offers indulgence at a slightly more bohemian price point. The homey menu includes dishes like a skirt-steak sandwich served alongside hand-cut fries ($13), and piri-piri-hot-sauce-marinated chicken kebabs ($12). Or cobble together a meal of quirky, multiculti small plates, like matzo ball soup ($6), fried zucchini sticks ($6) and grilled halloumi ($8).
One of Manhattan’s most beloved burgers finds a second home at the new Long Island City outpost of Corner Bistro. The owners wisely retained the affordable menu from their West Village flagship: Pair the Bistro Burger ($8), topped with cheese and bacon, with a side of sweet-potato fries ($3). • (cornerbistrony.com)
Move beyond the rows of fresh veggies at Foragers City Grocer, a three-month-old organic market, to find this locavore eatery. While a single plate from the ingredient-driven menu will satisfy, you’ll get the greatest bang for your buck by coming with pals and sharing a few dishes. Don’t miss a hefty pile of wok-tossed Berkshire ribs ($15), whose crispy, black-pepper–crusted exterior gives way to tender meat that falls from the bone. They pair well with lighter, rotating vegetable sides like baby bok choy ($7) and spring pea tendrils ($7). • (foragersmarket.com)
Mexican brothers Cosme and Luis Aguilar teamed up with the owners of Bar Henry to open this small Long Island City eatery in March. Cosme mans the stoves, drawing on his late mother’s traditional recipes from Cintalapa, Chiapas, as well as dishes from Puebla and San Luis, where he also lived. Sample a few of the hearty appetizers, such as the moist short-rib-and-brisket albondigas ($9), which rest in a chipotle-spiked tomato sauce, or one of five varieties of tacos ($8–$14), including house-made chorizo or slow-roasted beef tongue.
Chef Travis Post (Franny’s) and former Standard Grill manager Erika Chou are behind this tribute to China’s Yunnan province, a rarely represented southwestern region distinct for mingling influences from Laos, Vietnam and Burma. Nothing on the menu is more than $13, with sections devoted to shao kao (meat and vegetable skewers seasoned with cumin and multi-spice powder), as well as hot and cold plates (we like the delicate jasmine-flower scramble, $7, which incorporates buds imported from Yunnan). The real stars here, though, are the chewy rice cakes ($11), seasoned with a spicy fermented chili paste and served with springy beech and shiitake mushrooms and Chinese broccoli.
Pull up a chair at this new Flushing spot, the first sit-down venture from Jason Wang, the mastermind behind the Xi’an Famous Foods chain. Every item on the menu is priced $10 or less, so you can sample Xi’an mainstays (such as cumin-spiced lamb served with wide noodles, $7.50) alongside new additions like the quio mian liang he luo ($6), a heaping pile of freshly pressed buckwheat noodles doused with a lip-tingling chili oil, plus cooling cucumber, cilantro and vinegar.