C, E at 50th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
42nd St. to 62nd St., Fifth Ave. to 12th Ave.
Its space-age name, combined with its high-traffic address, might trigger fears of a lame intergalactic-themed restaurant near Times Square, but Cosmic Diner is, in reality, a much more earthbound kind of place. A wall of framed Broadway posters nods to the Great White Way (not the Milky Way), two-top and four-top booths accommodate thrifty theatergoers, and a takeout counter caters to locals on the go. Despite the basic grub (which costs no more here than diner food elsewhere in the city, Zip Code be damned), Cosmic Diner dishes prove less greasy than you’d expect. Ditto for the design: an autumnal color scheme, hardwood floors, and sleek metal light fixtures. The wall-size mural of a Greek landscape may hark back to the establishment’s founders, but in truth the offerings here are no more ethnic than those at Applebee’s.