City Grazing: 8.09.06
1141 Brighton Beach Ave. (betw. 14th & 15th Sts.), B’klyn
This Uyghur restaurant serves up dishes derived from the Central Asian Turkic people. Translation? Noodles, kabobs, lamb, lamb and more lamb. Start with the lamb-filled samsa (think samosa, $2), which are flaky with a sweet onion aftertaste. How will you pick from among the eight kebab options? Well, surprise, the lamb ($3) is juicy and crispy and won’t disappoint. The mildly spicy geiro lagman ($6), made to order noodles with fennel, peppers, green beans, broccoli, parsely, and…choice of meat, which can be lamb should you so desire, rounds out the oleaginous goodness. (José Ralat Maldonado)
China 1 Restaurant & Lounge
50 Avenue B (at 4th St.)
Egg rolls and lo mein are not the type of fare you’d expect from a posh East Village restaurant/lounge, but this is exactly what China 1 dishes up. Start with the Shrimp Dim-Sum Three-some, a sexier version of shumai. Then try the Cashew Chicken ($14) in a sweet and sour sauce made sublime with tamarind and palm sugar. China 1 hosts all sorts of alternative parties and unusual performances so relax in their antique opium bed, sip a lychee martini ($9) and prepare to be wowed. (Stephanie Sellars)
(626 10th Ave. (betw. 44th & 45th Sts.)
This German restaurant and beer garden offers good food at prices low enough to lift the spirits of even the crankiest dictator. The best is the wurst, served in a crusty roll with red cabbage, winessauerkraut, onion and homemade mustard. Potato pancakes topped with applesauce and sour cream (two for $4) and mushroom soup (sm. $2) offer vegetarian alternatives. The huge assortment of draft beer will unite carnivores and herbivores, ranging from $3.50 for a mug to $12 for a pitcher, with a stein and a humpen in between. (Kari Milchman)
355 Greenwich St. (at Harrison St.)
The impressive food at this popular Mediterranean-inspired restaurant will make the celebrity most likely feasting next to you seem like chopped liver. Starter portions could be more generous, but appetizers like the ricotta cavatelli with braised rabbit ($12) will certainly leave you wanting more. Pair the duck breast with pan-fried crunchy spaetzle and stewed prunes ($28) with one of Harrison’s 220 wines, listed under headings like “crisp light floral” and “medium round spicy honey.” By the time you leave this loud, swanky, and (yes) packed dining room, you’ll feel like a celebrity yourself. (Gerry Visco)
17 W. 32nd St. (betw. Broadway & 5th Ave.)
Drinking on rooftops is as close to heaven as some will get so head over to Little Korea, where Me’Bar waits with open arms for those who don’t get in to more exclusive engagements. Step onto a wooden deck, spotted with verdant potted plants, and grab a seat on one of the pillow-strewn benches. Beverages range from $6 for wine and mixed drinks to $5 and under for bottled beers (add a dollar after 8 p.m.). Snack on bottomless buckets of fresh-popped popcorn or, even better, order from a local restaurant that’ll deliver your food sky-high. Me’Bar isn’t glamorous but it is dependable and affordable, which may as well be paradise in a place like NYC. (Joshua M. Bernstein)
461 37th St. (betw. 4th & 5th Aves.), B’klyn
Bowling should be a beer-drenched bargain like it is at Sunset Park’s Melody Lanes, one of the city’s last traditional alleys and a faithful re-creation of the suburban pastime. Step into this 1970s time machine where lights are dimmed to make-out levels and rump-shaking songs like “Sexual Healing” rise over drunken shouts of “steeeee-rike.” Munch on classic curly fries and drain pitchers of Bud ($8). It’s a return to simpler times when pleasures could be found in a two-buck beer and a 10-pound ball hurtling, again and again, toward its unavoidable destiny. (JB)
55 Gansevoort St. (betw. Greenwich & Washington Sts.)
Sascha, located in the mini-mall that is now the Meatpacking District, is not just another upscale dining option for loudmouthed bridge ‘n’ tunnel folk. Yes, the ambience is elegant but the food is the raison d’etre. The raw bar is a true celebration of the sea: uniting East and West Coast oysters, jumbo shrimp, scallop ceviche, and more. Unpretentious dinner options like the goat cheese ravioli with balsamic butter ($15) and humble brunch options like biscuits and gravy with sausage ($9) make Sascha unique amongst a plethora of high-end restaurants and clubs. (Lavinia Darcy)
Spicy and Tasty
39-07 Prince St. (at 39th St.), Queens
located in NYC’s second biggest Chinatown—Flushing—proffers dishes true to its name. If you like things really hot, try the dan dan noodles ($3.95), topped with a spicy ground peanut and sesame sauce. If you don’t like things so fiery, don’t eat at a place with the word spicy in its name. But somewhat more mild dishes are the cold sesame noodles or noodles with red chili sauce (both $3.95). Here, sustenance is cheap, bountiful, served lickety-split and, oh yeah, spicy. The place might as well be called Spicy and Tasty and Cheap. (JB)
318 E. 6th St. (betw. 1st & 2nd Sts.)
Contrary to urban legend, all the food on Curry Row is not cooked from one central kitchen. Of the dozen establishments, Taj Mahal is the standout for the fiscally challenged with dazzling spices and crippling portions. The $7.95 dinner special will gain you access to a wide variety of appetizers and entrees plus two different kinds of bread, mulligatawny soup, a dessert and a beverage. No combination will disappoint so don’t mistake this gem for the abbreviated Taj, the close-but-not-quite Raj Mahal or the Brooklyn eatery of the same name. (BL)
702 Union St. (at 5th Ave.), B’klyn
Not to be left out of the playing-with-balls craze—billiards, Skee-Ball, petanque—Park Slope offers up bocce at Union Hall. The courts are surrounded by booths where you can munch spicy Kentucky beercheese ($4) or milk and cookies ($5). Add an indie-rock soundtrack and you’ve got a scene refreshingly lacking Williamsburg cool. Well, almost. Highbrow hoppy Lagunitas IPA ($5) and local-fresh Sixpoint ($6) are served alongside lowbrow but overpriced Pabst and Schlitz ($3). (JB)
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