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Take-out Guide

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Gramercy Park
14th-29th Street // Fifth Avenue-FDR Drive

Curry in a Hurry
119 Lexington Avenue, at 28th Street; 212-683-0900; fax 212-685-6385
Cuisine: Indian
Price: Cheap
Delivering: Lunch and dinner
Delivery area: 18th to 38th Street, FDR Drive to Ninth Avenue

About the food: "We're like the Indian McDonald's," offers manager Masud Ahmed. In fact, the prices are comparable -- $1.70 for an order of samosas, $2.99 for mulligatawny soup, $6.99 for chicken tikka masala -- but the analogy undersells the place some. What Ahmed means is that Curry in a Hurry sells standards for cheap, and gets them to you quickly. Tandoori chicken is an obvious choice but still great; ditto the chicken tikka masala. Samosas, both veg and non-veg, come supersized and not too greasy.

Curry Leaf
99 Lexington Avenue, at 27th Street; 212-725-5558 or 212-725-1259
Cuisine: Indian
Price: Cheap
Delivering: Lunch and dinner
Delivery area: 20th to 44th Street, East River Drive to Tenth Avenue

About the food: Excellent vegetarian dishes like malai kofta (vegetable balls in a creamy tomato sauce) and navaratan curry (vegetables and fruits -- heavy on the cauliflower -- in a nutty gravy). For meat eaters, we recommend the chicken shashlik, with onions and gravy, and extra-spicy lamb vindaloo cooked, as the menu warns, in a fiery vinegar-flavored sauce. The side sauces that come with an order are generously proportioned. This restaurant's proficiency with spices is no surprise: Curry Leaf is owned by the folks who own Kalustyan's, the renowned spice market at 123 Lexington Avenue.

Galaxy Global Eatery
15 Irving Place; 212-777-3631; fax 212-777-3224; www.galaxyglobaleatery.com
Cuisine: Eclectic health food
Price: Moderate
Delivering: Lunch and dinner
Delivery area: 34th to Houston Street, Avenue A to Seventh Avenue

About the food: It's hard to put a label on what kind of fare Galaxy serves -- menu headings like "Comets," "Eospheres," and "Moons" don't give much of a clue. But once you go ahead and try something -- the Native American Hempanadas with Austrian black pumpkin-oil dipping sauce, for example -- chances are you'll order it again. At least the yucca fries with spicy banana ketchup and cornmeal-crusted tamarind tofu steak make for interesting alternatives to the standard takeout categories.

Irving on Irving
52 Irving Place; 212-358-1300
Cuisine: Contemporary American brasserie
Price: Moderate
Delivering: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Delivery area: 10th to 26th Street, First to Fifth Avenue

About the food: Expertly executed "comfort food with an education," as chef Stuart Alpert, a five-year veteran of Campagna, describes it. The fare runs the gamut from Irving's mini-burgers -- simply because Alpert likes White Castle -- to Artesian salads, a make-your-own mix of ingredients like Oriental-style coleslaw and curried peas with prosciutto. The menu includes panini, Damascus pizza, soups, and signature sandwiches like the Salmonator, Alpert's own smoked salmon on pumpernickel. The nightly specials are worth an extra look.

Pete's Tavern
129 East 18th Street; 212-473-7676; www.petestavern.com
Cuisine: Italian and American
Price: Moderate
Delivering: Lunch and dinner
Delivery area: 14th to 25th Street, First to Fifth Avenue

About the food: There are at least ten specials every day, from grilled chicken to rainbow trout to spaghetti puttanesca. But we recommend that you stick instead to the bar food, and in particular to the justly famed ten-ounce burgers with fries. How good is that burger? The folks at nearby Crédit Suisse First Boston once called to order 80 of them with cheese, 40 without. Pete's casual attitude toward presentation and accuracy bugs us, however. A pile of bread and crackers is thrown into the bottom of the paper delivery bag. Order minestrone and tiramisu, and you might get cream of mushroom and lemon pie. Bad lemon pie.

Pintaile's Pizza
124 Fourth Avenue; 212-475-4977
Cuisine: Pizza
Price: Moderate
Delivering: Lunch and dinner Delivery area: Houston to 30th Street, First to Seventh Avenue

About the food: Crisp, thin crust is what separates these pies from the Ray's variety, that and the unconventional toppings. The BLT comes with bacon, lettuce, plum tomatoes, and mozzarella; the Billy the Kid with goat cheese, eggplant, and pine nuts; and the Smoky Special with smoked salmon, red onion, and capers. Even the fromage-forbidden can dine here: Pintaile's offers the Nu-Tofu, a mozzarella-cheese alternative made from soybeans and canola oil. For dessert, throw in a pint of Ciao Bella gelato or sorbet.

Republic
37 Union Square West; 212-627-7172
Cuisine: Pan-Asian
Price: Cheap
Delivering: Lunch and dinner Delivery area: Houston to 30th Street, Avenue B to the West Side Highway

About the food: Not the usual Thai menu (witness the beautiful salmon-sashimi salad) and not the usual middling preparation. The food at Republic is exceptionally fresh and lively, especially at these prices (only one thing on the menu is over $8). We like the pad Thai, the spicy coconut chicken, and the fried wontons with pimiento-plum sauce. Lots of vegetarian choices, of course, as well as fresh-squeezed juices. Have your money ready when you call, because it's no exaggeration to say your food is on a bicycle ten minutes after you hang up the phone.

Sam's Noodle Shop
Bar & Grill
411 Third Avenue, at 29th Street; 212-213-2288 or 212-213-2279; fax 212-213-9762
Cuisine: Chinese
Price: Moderate
Delivering: Lunch and dinner
Delivery area: 14th to 44th Street, First to Eighth Avenue

About the food: You can eat two ways at Sam's: Either load up on the orange beef, spare ribs, and sweet-and-sour pork, or craft a Zone meal by requesting the steamed vegetable dumplings and chicken with broccoli with sauce on the side. Either way, it's classic New York Chinese food that doesn't disappoint.


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