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The Cheap List


Kebab Garden  

The Farm on Adderley
1108 Cortelyou Rd., nr. Stratford Rd., Ditmas Park, Brooklyn; 718-287-3101
Some restaurants are instantly embraced by their famished neighborhoods, and so it was when this casually rustic spot opened last summer in Ditmas Park, a corner of Brooklyn where the Victorian fixer-uppers attract the sort of Manhattan expats who expect to find Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam on the cheese plate and crispy tofu with sweet corn on the kids’ menu. And so they do at the Farm, where seasonal ingredients are duly worshipped in preparations like housemade fettuccine with peas and pea shoots, and bluefish with corn and okra. To the place’s credit, there is also a serene little garden, a nice long bar where the “local and organic” motto extends to some of the beer and wine, and a respectable English-muffin burger that’s overshadowed by its world-class fries.

Fishers of Men
121 W. 125th St., nr. Lenox Ave.; 212-678-4268
This is the only place in town—and probably the planet—where you can get a Papaya King hot dog, a gaggle of fried whiting, and a piece of homemade coconut cake all under one roof and read some Scripture on the wall while you’re at it. It’s the brainchild of the churchgoing family behind the original Fishers of Men on 130th Street in Harlem (and also the tiny Famous Fish kiosk up on 145th), who, with what must have been divine inspiration, snapped up the franchise license of a failing hot-dog stand and, corporate fast food style, combined the two concepts (a fried-fish shack and a Papaya King) into one synergistic success. Unlike those Taco Bell–KFC dens of terror, though, the food (especially the whiting sandwich and the whiting with grits) is not only edible but absolutely delicious. And no rats.

Flatbush Farm
76–78 St. Marks Ave., nr. Sixth Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-622-3276
If the interior seems too stark and somber, head straight back to the spacious garden, shared jointly by the separate-entranced bar and dining-room components of this latter-day Brooklyn gastropub. The concept, hackneyed as it’s gotten to be, is “seasonal, sustainable, and local,” and that extends to the New York–centric beer list. The food is comforting and hearty—sometimes unseasonably so—and often adopts a southern accent, as in the eggs and grits at brunch. We can’t imagine a time of year, though, when the French dip wouldn’t hit the spot.

83-17 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights; no phone
Following in the multinational footsteps of the Guatemalan chicken chain Pollo Campero, Frisby is a Colombian fast-food franchise with its eye on the American market. Its first foothold lures the Jackson Heights populace with crunchy, salty fried chicken—thickly battered and moist-fleshed, $2.95 for a two-piece serving, with packets of Kraft honey to drizzle on top—plus sides like boiled potatoes, sweet corn, fried plantains and yucca, and tough little hockey pucks they call arepas. Cowboy-style beans are a better choice.

Go!Go! Curry
273 W. 38th St., nr. Eighth Ave.; 212-730-5555
Why they named this Japanese curry shack for the number on Hideki Matsui’s back, we don’t know. (Go, with or without the exclamation point, means “five” in Japanese.) But they take every opportunity to play it up: The telephone number’s last four digits are 5555, the business day starts at 10:55 and ends at 9:55, and there’s a smattering of sports memorabilia, like the jersey donated by some hockey player who is also a 55, on display. The specialty of the house, of course, is the thick, gloppy, slightly sweet brown sludge that fortunately tastes a lot better than it looks, served with sticky white rice and a choice of deep-fried toppings of which the pork katsu, or panko-battered pork cutlet, is the best. It’s doubtful that the slugging colossus himself comes here to celebrate after he hits a home run, but if you do, you are entitled to a free topping coupon.

333 Henry St., nr. Pacific St., Cobble Hill, Brooklyn; 718-260-8052
Hibino means “daily” in Japanese, and one of the ways this personable restaurant aspires to become a quotidian habit for its Cobble Hill neighborhood is by posting the day’s obanzai, or home-style small plates, on its blog. Another is by offering fare that can’t be found at neighboring sushi bars: so-called Japanese comfort food like fresh tofu, served in small glass jars; beef kakuni, chunks of tender short rib braised in sweet soy sauce and set afloat on rounds of daikon in a rich vegetable purée; and soft, succulent eggplant caramelized to an almost meaty richness. The various oshi, or pressed sushi, are another highlight, especially the one layered with shiso leaves, microgreens, and egg, topped with soy-marinated fish.

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