Cheap Eats

Beyond the beer nuts.

Small wonders: The delectable deviled eggs at Prune.
Bar food means different things to different people. The common denominator? It should go well with a drink, be it a pint of Brooklyn Lager or a dry martini. Burgers at bars are a dime a dozen, but few measure up to the juicy, five-napkin whopper at Donovan's, the Irish pub with branches in Woodside and Bayside, Queens. It's so devastatingly delicious, we'd even send teetotalers ($4.95 at lunch, $5.75 at dinner). When the legendary Pearson's Texas Barbecue shut its doors in Long Island City, fans of its wood-smoked brisket and ribs -- the best in town -- were bereft until it reopened, curiously, in the back of Legends, a sports bar in Jackson Heights, Queens, where clued-in 'cue connoisseurs pay much more attention to the pulled pork and tender brisket sandwiches on Portuguese rolls than to the score of the game ($5.95 to $12).

In "serious" restaurants, bar food gets short shrift. If you're Jean-Georges Vongerichten or Daniel Boulud, do you really want your customers filling up on Triscuits and sardines? Gabrielle Hamilton, chef-owner of Prune, doesn't seem to mind. Her bar menu (available at tables too) offers delectable finger food like radishes on the stem with sweet butter and coarse salt; unapologetically retro deviled eggs; an Iberian arrangement of figs, fried almonds, and serrano ham; and, yes, those aforementioned straight-out-of-the-cupboard (yet unexpectedly satisfying) sardines with Triscuits and Dijon mustard ($3 to $7).

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· DONOVAN'S, 57-24 Roosevelt Ave., Woodside, 718-429-9339 and 214-16 41st Ave.,Bayside, 718-423-5178
· PEARSON'S, 71-04 35th Ave., Jackson Heights, 718-779-7715 · PRUNE, 54 E. 1st St., 212-677-6221