Chicken for Two
It’s not quite the same as a roasted peacock or a pig with an apple stuffed in its mouth. But there is something festive (and defiantly extravagant in the face of impending financial doom) about tucking into a whole juicy chicken. You can experience this Rabelaisian sensation as part of a three-course, $76-per-person prix fixe at the elegant new Corton . Or you can go to Pio Pio (1746 First Ave., nr. 90th St.; 212-426-5800), the Peruvian chicken specialist, where a whole rotisserie bird goes for $30, including rice, beans, tostones, avocado salad, and fries topped in the traditional manner with sliced hot dog.
Savings … … … … … …$122
Bowl of Pasta
It’s a testament to the mysterious greatness of Scott (Scarpetta) Conant’s spaghetti with tomato and basil that you don’t hear anyone who’s ever tried it complain about its $24 price tag. The $6.95 equivalent at the Soho hole in the wall Pepe Rosso to Go (149 Sullivan St., nr. Houston St.; 212-677-4555) isn’t quite up to Conant standards, which is not to say it doesn’t hit the spot.
Savings … … … … … . $17.05
The Fancy Lunch
Have you got $175 and all day? Then Per Se, with its leisurely five-course repast, is the place for you. If not, head across Columbus Circle to Jean Georges (1 Central Park W., at 60th St.; 212-299-3900) for a two-course lunch that some consider the best $28 you can spend on food today.
Savings … … … … … … $147
At Philippe , the seven-pound bird will run you $75, which covers not only the accompanying pancakes but the elaborate tableside service. At Corner 28 (4028 Main St., nr. 40th Rd.; 718-886-6628) out in Flushing, a steamed bun stuffed with roast duck “Peking style” goes for $1 a pop and is delivered with great alacrity through a takeout window.
Savings … … … … … … . $74
New York’s favorite slice now goes for the eyebrow-raising price of $4. But that slice, found at the Midwood pizza mecca Di Fara, is meticulously hand-formed, and distinguished by a contrapuntal cheese medley. A plain old slice at 99¢ Fresh Pizza (151 E. 43rd St., nr. Third Ave.; 212-922-0257) makes a quick and satisfying lunch, if not exactly a life-altering gastronomic experience. With tax, it’s $1.07.
Savings … … … … … . . $2.93
The chef’s $85 tasting menu at Dévi changes frequently but might include signature dishes like tart and tangy Manchurian cauliflower and lamb-stuffed tandoori chicken. At kosher vegetarian Chennai Garden in Curry Hill (129 E. 27th St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-689-1999), the $14.95 Gujarathi combination dinner arrives on a round tray containing kachori (dal fritter), batata vada (spicy potato fritters), kadi (chickpea flour and yogurt soup), a vegetable curry, rice pilaf, poori, date chutney, and the sweetened cheese dessert called rasmali. Savings … … … … … . .$70.05
The Brush With Three-Michelin-Star Greatness
Good news for cash-strapped Alain Ducasse fans: Until you can afford to return to Adour at the St. Regis and cough up $110 for a five-course seasonal feast, you can belly up to the bar at Benoit (60 W. 55th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 646-943-7373) and nibble on the chef’s $1 “egg mayo”—a fancy Frenchified take on a deviled egg if ever there was one, served with a toasted length of ficelle and a springy leaf of lettuce.
Savings … … … … … …$109
Steak for Two
For many red-meat aficionados, an $85 Peter Luger porterhouse for two can’t be beat. Call it apples to oranges, but we’ll take the General Greene ’s (229 Dekalb Ave., nr. Clermont Ave., Ft. Greene; 718-225-1510) remarkably beefy Niman Ranch flap steak (a seldom seen but up-and-coming cut) any day. In fact, at $12 apiece, we’ll take two.
Savings … … … … … … . $61
For true gelato fanatics, $4.75 isn’t too great a price to pay for a small superlative scoop at Grom. For everyone else, there’s the equally delightful vanilla-bean soft-serve at Dessert Club, Chikalicious (203 E. 10th St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-475-0929), which charges $2.90 for a nice-size swirl.
Savings … … … … … …$1.85
Annual Savings: $605
(And that’s assuming that you eat at each place only once.)