Budget

New York City on a Budget

by Aaron Barker

THE FRUGAL FOODIE

The Dilemma
You're constantly on the lookout for your next slice of foie gras, but without an expense account, the city's temples of gastronomy are just a mouthwatering tease. Don't resign yourself to hot dog carts, though: In the Big Apple, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Nosh 'n' Roll
Dirty little secret: Publishing execs and investment bankers are just as often huddled around Midtown street carts inhaling falafel as power-lunching at the Four Seasons. A fistful of bills will buy you a soft pita stuffed with toothsome, tender hunks of lamb and tangy yogurt ($6) from Kwik Meal, at the southwest corner of 45th and 6th (Owner Mohammed Rahman came to his mobile kitchen by way of the legendary Russian Tea Room.) For a cart crawl, head next to Daisy May's BBQ truck on the southwest corner of 49th and 6th for Carolina pulled pork ($8) or meaty Texas-style chili ($6), then to the northwest corner of 54th and 5th for bratwurst ($5) and kielbasa ($6) with red-wine sauerkraut from Hallo Berlin. Downtown, Thiru Kamar's Dosa Cart in Washington Square Park attracts masses of New Yorkers hungry for rice crêpes with coconut chutney and sambar to the corner of W. 4th and Sullivan.

Diffusion Dining
In addition to hefty cookbook royalties and Food Network contracts, celeb chefs are also amassing culinary fiefdoms. Dining at one of the smaller realms in the empire can mean enjoying the master chef's recipes at a deep discount. Take Mario Batali: The food-and-wine tasting menu at his flagship Del Posto comes in at $300, but his downtown trattoria, Lupa, is cheaper and less obsequious but no less flavorful: Hearty standouts include the bucatini and guanciale simmered in a chile-spiked tomato sauce ($15), and the pork shoulder with a rhubarb-Campari-ginger sauce ($18). The staff at Upstairs at Bouley Bakery and Market serves up renditions of David Bouley's rarefied French-American cuisine, such as poached lobster in a red wine sauce, or prime sirloin drizzled with Cognac-raisin sauce—both $21, about half what you'd pay at his main place across the street. The only catch is the no-reservations policy.

Lupa
170 Thompson St.
Tel: 212 982 5089

Upstairs at Bouley
130 W. Broadway
Tel: 212 608 5829

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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