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Best of New York 2009 • Eating

Best Bargains

Our critics’ favorite cheap food.

  • Adam Platt
    Robin Raisfeld
    Rob Patronite
    Little Owl's bacon cheeseburger has all the elements, but the key is the fresh-baked molasses-tinged bun.
    90 Bedford St., at Grove St.; 212-741-4695
    Wood-grilled and nestled between slices of house-baked country bread, Beacon's eight-ounce burger costs $12.95 (with good garlic fries) at the six-seat burger bar at lunch— a $6 discount from the regular menu price.
    25 W. 56th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-332-0500
    Dram Shop Bar's great, greasy old-fashioned double-cheeseburger defies the new burger-blend-burger competition.
    339 9th St., nr. Fifth Ave., Park Slope 718-788-1444
    Hot Dog
    So what if the Rusty Knot's $4 pretzel dog isn't technically a real hot dog?! At 2 a.m., after eight or nine Dark and Stormies, nothing tastes better.
    425 West St., at 11th St.; 212-645-5668
    Is the $4.50 baguette-swaddled "dog” at Dogmatic worth $1.40 more than Katz's gold standard? Yes, when it's the spicy lamb version drenched gyrolike with minted yogurt sauce.
    26 E. 17th St., nr. Broadway; 212-414-0600
    What fiend would put ketchup and mayo (okay, tomato "molasses” and deep-fried mayo) on a nice frankfurter and make us like it? That would be PDT's guest menu-contributor and hot-dog sage Wylie Dufresne.
    113 St. Marks Pl., nr. Ave. A; 212-614-0386
    In a city filled with imagined, overhyped pizza meccas, Di Fara remains the original.
    1424 Ave. J, at E. 15th St., Midwood 718-258-1367
    Unwieldy, gloppy, with a crust that tastes vaguely of fry bread, Artichoke Basille's Sicilian slice is strangely compelling and utterly satisfying.
    328 E. 14th St., nr. First Ave.; 212-228-2004
    Artichoke Basille's Sicilian slice is nearly as good as Di Fara's, not to mention 50 cents cheaper, and the whole experience is as endearingly kooky without the commute.
    Char No. 4's BLT is a diabolical, tea-sandwich–size construction of pickled tomatoes, aïoli, and braised fried pork belly, with a healthful layer of romaine.
    196 Smith St., nr. Baltic St., Carroll Gardens 718-643-2106
    Some might say Wilfie & Nell understuffs its corned-beef-and-Gruyère sandwich, but the charms of the sweetly quartered morsel, with pickles and mustard on the side, are lost on such vulgarians.
    228 W. 4th St., nr. W. 10th St.; 212-242-2990
    At a buck a pop, the Peking duck buns doled out at dizzying clip from a takeout window at Flushing's Corner 28 are hard to beat.
    40-28 Main St., at 40th Rd., Flushing 718-886-6628
    Ippudo's "Akamaru Modern” pork-rich soup is the new favorite of my ramen-obsessed daughters. "If you don't choose it, Dad, you're an idiot,” one of them said.
    65 Fourth Ave., nr. 10th St.; 212-388-0088
    Great soba, alas, is seldom cheap, but Matsugen's $14 goma-dare soba are nutty, pleasingly coarse, and so fresh they taste like a gourmet bargain.
    241 Church St., at Leonard St. 212-925-0202
    There are Scared Straight inmates less formidable than the waitresses at Food Sing 88 Corp., but the noodles are terrific, and, at $4 to $6.50, pocket change.
    2 E. Broadway, nr. Bowery; 212-219-8223

From the 2009 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine

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Other Best Of Guides

So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).