Been anywhere good lately?
That’s a question we get a lot—at work, at dinner parties, and, most unnerving, at the dentist’s office. It comes with the Underground Gourmet territory. It’s a question that binds New Yorkers together by common appetite and the eternal, budget-conscious hunt for utmost deliciousness.
Well, we’ve got an answer, and it’s a resounding yes. This year, in fact, for every upscale production that debuted to jammed reservation lines and stratospheric tabs, there was another, under-the-radar joint—a Japanese chicken-wing specialist in Chelsea, say, or an outré East Village tapas bar—that added something unique and delectable to the culinary landscape. In this issue, we’ve rounded up our favorites, from bargain-basement cheap to modestly mid-range, all of which have opened in the past year. And we even take a stab at answering Life’s Big Questions, like where to eat in the theater district, or on a date.
The more we eat, the more we’re reminded exactly how diverse the New York foodscape is; how easy it is to begin the week with home-style Indonesian in Elmhurst and end it with a full English breakfast at Sunday brunch. New York is the kind of place where regional American food—like barbecue, Philly cheesesteaks, and lobster rolls, three booming categories we sink our teeth into—is no more nor less exotic than anything else on the planet. And where fast food, Eric Schlosser and Morgan Spurlock notwithstanding, can be fresh, delicious, and even inspired—especially when it’s dreamed up by top chefs who confess to loving the stuff (“Four-Star Fast Food”). Everyone loves a deal, and Adam Platt shows you where to find one in “Get It for Less.” And you won’t need a compass to locate some of the city’s best cheap-eats streets—we’ve mapped them out for you. That, we hope, should answer your questions.