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Best Meal Under $10

HUMMUS PLACE
109 St. Marks Pl.
212-529-9198

Sure, a $10 bill will buy you 50 fried pork dumplings in Chinatown, or an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet in Curry Hill, with a couple dollars to spare. But for a cheap, filling, no-nonsense feed, the impecunious epicure will find unrivaled satisfaction at Hummus Place, the tiny Israeli café (another recently sprouted on Macdougal Street) that elevates the humble Mediterranean chickpea spread to a protein art form. There's no menu to peruse. No appetizers to consider. Just three variations of the creamy, tahini-enriched, olive-oil-dappled paste, the richest and freshest we've tasted, all served with the ideal accoutrements: a basket of puffy toasted pitas, a dish of pickles and olives, and hot sauce upon request. Spring for a mint lemonade-or two-and remember to tip your harried waitress. Cheapness has its limits.

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