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The Cheap List


Tiffin Wallah
127 E. 28th St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-685-7301
Pradeep Shinde has a dream, and it is to introduce the New York version of the tiffin wallah, an Indian delivery boy who totes stacks of compartmentalized silver lunch boxes to desk-bound office workers. Until that day arrives—not to mention the proper equipment—he’s serving intricately spiced, Indian vegetarian fare in-house. The menu at his spiffy new establishment is virtually identical to the one at Chennai Garden, its sister restaurant around the corner, with foot-long dosas, regional thalis or combination-plate dinners, and a variety of Gujarati and Punjabi curries that rotate themselves in and out of the $6 lunch buffet.

Willie’s Dawgs
351 Fifth Ave., nr. Fifth St., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-832-2941
You would expect to find pedigreed hot dogs made from grass-fed cattle in a place like San Francisco, where the sustainable-agriculture movement is practically organized religion. In Nathan Handwerker’s backyard, it’s a little less likely. But as it happens, Park Slope’s bright, cheerful Willie’s Dawgs is the sole local purveyor of Let’s Be Frank, the brand started by Chez Panisse’s own “meat forager.” It’s top dog on a menu of alterna-franks like the skinless “Pedigree,” the poultry dog, the tofu dog, and the carrot dog, a whole root marinated in hot-dog spices. The best of the bunch is the homegrown “Mutt,” a Karl Ehmer all-beef number that comes swaddled in a house-baked challah bun. Excellent onion rings, too.

Yun Nan Flavour Snack Shop
775A 49th St., nr. Eighth Ave., Sunset Park, Brooklyn; 718-633-3090
The friendly husband-and-wife owners hail from Yunnan, the southwestern Chinese province bordering Myanmar and Vietnam, and they specialize in nicely chewy, silky white rice noodles served in bountiful bowls of soup adorned with cilantro and hot sauce and slurped at the low counter that runs around the periphery of the tiny room. Broths are dark and murky, populated by your choice of stewed beef or pork, and might contain the odd snout or two. Heat waves call for off-the-menu cold noodles, doused with sweet-and-spicy sauces and way more sugar than you might expect. There are plump pork dumplings, too, elegantly crimped and immersed in a hot-and-sour broth.


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