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The Cheap Seats

High-end restaurants’ low-cost spaces.

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Anthos Upstairs  

One way to build business in a down year: Turn your dormant banquet space or underutilized bar into a separate restaurant, with a new identity, a cheaper menu, and fast and furious service. Tom Colicchio spearheaded the movement at Craft with Damon: Frugal Friday, which he recently (and tragically) discontinued. Into the breach steps eighty one’s Ed Brown, who plans to convert his private party space into Grill “81” any day now. In the meantime, here are three joints currently courting budget gourmets.

The Original Location
Craftsteak
Another Colicchio enterprise, this one a meatpacking-district mecca of impeccably sourced, aged- on-premises beefsteak, where a twelve-ounce Wagyu New York strip will run you $102, and a side of morels another $20. 85 Tenth Ave., at 15th St.; 212-400-6699.

The Innovation
Halfsteak
The restaurant’s commodious lounge gets its own cut-rate menu of whimsical bar-food riffs, from Wagyu nachos and smoked chicken wings to a six-ounce “halfsteak”-frites ($14.50). A good double cheeseburger, too.


The Original Location
Tabla
At this bastion of elegant Indian-American fusion, the six-course tasting costs $89 and combines Greenmarket produce and Indian spices. 11 Madison Ave., at 25th St.; 212-889-0667.

The Innovation
Tabla’s 10
Every dish on this small-plate menu, available Wednesday nights in an upstairs alcove, costs less than $10. By “dish,” the kitchen sometimes means “piece,” as in the $4 chickpea-battered and chipotle-spiked squash blossom. There is no stinting on flavor, though, especially in the “beef rolad,” a braciole-like cylinder of tender meat stuffed with bacon and braised in a subtly spiced curry ($9).


The Original Location
Anthos Private Dining Room
A second-story annex at the haute Greek jewel in chef-owner Michael Psilakis’s culinary crown, known for its $19 tasting of raw Greek meze. 36 W. 52nd St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-582-6900.

The Innovation
Anthos Upstairs
Now a snug destination for drinks like ouzo-spiked Santorini Spritzers and so-called Greek tapas ($9 to $15), the best of which are the delicately battered and skordalia-bolstered cod nuggets, the melting sheep’s-milk ricotta dumplings, and the toasted BFT, a gratifyingly greasy pork belly, feta, and tomato sandwich.


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