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when staggering drunk around the East Village


Five Places to Eat for under $5


by Isaac Rice



A restaurant critic named Eric Asimov has a pretty nifty "$25-and-under" column in the New York Times, in which he reviews some of New York's less expensive eateries. Though we have the utmost respect for Mr. Asimov's gastronomical skills, apparently his cushy job at the Times has shielded him from the harsh financial realities we underpaid wage-slaves have to deal with. To be honest, we can't afford to pay $25 for dinner. In our restaurant reviews, we're going to clue you in to dirt-cheap places to eat in various New York neighborhoods.

So, whether you're craving grease and salt after blowing the money you don't have on a bellyful of beer, or you just want to get a cheap lunch after getting pierced on St. Mark's, for our first column, we present to you some non-McChoices in the East Village:

1. Falafel House
32 St. Mark's Place, between 2nd and Astor Place (opposite Bull McCabe's)
(Formerly Caesar's Falafel)
Cinderella Falafel
129 2nd Avenue between St. Mark's and 7th

Falafel may well be the perfect food. It contains three of the four major food groups: grease, salt, and hot sauce. (That all-important fourth food group, booze, is not halal.) It's always served by a smiling Turkish guy. It's cheap, it's filling, it tastes good, and it costs about three bucks. We recommend the massive Super Falafel at Falafel House, washed down with one of their homemade iced teas (we think it's Lipton). At Cinderella, be sure to get one of their Turkish coffees ($1.50). It may look like mud, but it's about a million times stronger than the "espresso" they serve down the street at Whorebucks.

2. Burritoville
139½ 2nd Avenue between St. Mark's and 8th
(Other locations scattered throughout the city)

Sure, with its cheesy Mexican movie posters and extensive collection of exotic hot sauces, Burritoville may look expensive. While it's true the Route 66 burrito with its deliciously greasy vegetarian chorizo costs a heart-stopping $5.95, there are cheaper options. For instance, you can get one or two tacos $1.75 or $3.75, and load up on the free nacho chips and salsa. Plus, there's all the free water you can drink. The food is made fresh daily, and the quality shows-Burritoville kicks the ass of Taco Hell, Fresco Tortilla, and the other Mexican chains in the city (possibly because it employs actual Mexicans.) An extra little touch of authenticity is the taste of Montezuma's revenge you get when you're done.

3. Pommes Frites
123 2nd Avenue between 7th and St. Mark's

Things in Europe are just like here, but different, y'know? For instance, they eat their French fries with mayonnaise. Surprisingly, this recipe for a heart attack is friggin' delicious. A note of warning, however: Six pints of Stella Artois, a large frites, and a tub of war sauce may induce some disagreeable sensations. Also, a diet consisting only of tubers and grease may lead to severe nutritional deficiency. However, forewarned is forearmed, and four-armed is… that statue of the Indian diety they sell in the Tibetan store next door.

4. Soup Burger
36 Broadway at Astor Place

It is what it says: Soup. Burger. Cheap. Yum. To reports of hair in the food, we only say, "extra protein!"

5. The Kiev
Corner of 2nd Avenue and 7th

Goodbye, old girl. We'll miss you. Where will we ever eat breakfast after waking up and finding our penises missing now?

5. Kai Kai Kai
Avenue A between St. Mark's and 8th

"Kai Kai Kai" is apparently Thai for "curry is your friend." The food is best in this strong-smelling hole-in-the-wall early in the day. The pad thai is pretty good, but stay away from anything containing coconut milk. Some things don't improve with age...

About the writer: Eric Rice is CORPORATE MOFO's half-baked restaurant critic


What are your favorite dirt-cheap restaurants? Send suggestions and comments to

Posted January 1, 2002 1:32 AM






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